This week a group of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people who work for Apple appeared in a video relating how each of them weathered difficult times as teenagers to ultimately lead happy and successful lives. This is a message of hope intended for LGBT young people who may be experiencing bullying and harassment as they grow through what is an already tumultuous time for any teen. In making a video for the It Gets Better Project, Apple employees join people from Google, Facebook, The White House and many other workplaces, college communities, and individuals who have all come together to let LGBT teens know that they are not alone, that there is a long life ahead of them, and that these hard times will not last.
Back in December, I posted about It Gets Better and several other worthy (and funny) initiatives promoting gay rights. But It Gets Better is a particularly poignant effort, because it isn’t a political action group but a community outreach effort to support teens and prevent suicides.
In September 2010, syndicated columnist and author Dan Savage created a YouTube video with his partner Terry to inspire hope for young people facing harassment. In response to a number of students taking their own lives after being bullied in school, they wanted to create a personal way for supporters everywhere to tell LGBT youth that, yes, it does indeed get better.
One of the reasons that these testimonials and commentaries from gay and transgender adults are so moving, both for them and those watching, is that they are in a way talking to their younger selves. In these videos we briefly meet a diverse group of people who are variously nerdy, stylish, boisterous, shy, older, younger, but who all appear to be successful and sure of their identity. Yet their stories tell us that it wasn’t always as we see it today; they each felt awkward and horrible and that that would never change. But it has changed for them and it will again for so many others.
If you are considering suicide or need help, call the Trevor Project now: 866-4-U-TREVOR (866-488-7386).
Recently the It Gets Better book came out featuring David Sedaris, Tim Gunn, Suze Orman, and many others expanding on what they’ve said in their videos for the project. The book also lists resources for kids and parents to help through difficult times. Proceeds support LGBT youth. The book made the New York Times Best Seller List. Here’s more:
There are thousands of videos on the It Gets Better Project site from individuals and groups of people with stories to tell.
UPDATE 1: YouTube took down the original video posting this message saying it was due to “depiction of harmful activities”. It’s not clear what harmful activities they are referring to.
UPDATE 2: The original video is back up.