The “It Gets Better” project started in September of 2010, when syndicated columnist and author Dan Savage created a YouTube video with his husband, Terry Miller, to inspire hope for young people facing harassment. The project is an online campaign that wants to show lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people the levels of potential and positivity their lives will reach if they can just get through their teen years. It intends to give the message to these teens that they are not alone, and it will get better.
The “It Gets Better” project was created in response to a number of reports of students who took their own lives after being bullied in school. Dan Savage said that the idea of this project came to him while thinking about Billy Lucas, a 15 year old from Indiana who committed suicide on September 9, 2010. There were reports that Billy Lucas had been bullied regularly.
The “It Gets Better” project encourages people to submit videos assuring gay teenagers that life can improve after being a victim of bullying in early life. In collaboration with various benefactors, the project also involves efforts to ensure safe schools for all students, a nationwide crisis intervention line, and advocacy and educational programs.
Dan Savage was recently honored with the 2011 Webby Special Achievement Award, an award presented annually by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences for excellence on the Internet. The prize was presented in recognition of Savage’s work with the “It Gets Better” project. As stated by the Webby Award’s organization, by fully embracing the Internet as the primary vehicle for the project, Savage’s message of social advocacy in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community expanded beyond anyone’s imagination and reached viewers in all corners of the world. The project has grown online into what is one of the largest, crowd-sourced video projects today.
“It Gets Better” is one of many national efforts to construct a society free from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender expression. President Obama recorded and showed his message of hope and support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth who are struggling with being bullied or harassed because of their actual or perceived orientation or gender identity. The message was released by the White House on October 22, 2010, and can be found on YouTube. Secretary of State Clinton and Vice President Biden also recorded video messages to support these efforts.
You can go to www.itgetsbetter.org if you are interested in learning more about this amazing project, a real platform for social change.
by Ana Posada, M.D.