In his October 7th edition of his Savage Love column, Dan Savage responded to the feedback from a mother concerned that her son is being bullied. Dan also introduced his readers to the Make it Better Project — created by LGBT activists, and inspired by It Gets Better.
I want to thank you for the It Gets Better Project. My son is 14 and a sophomore in high school in rural Kentucky. He isn’t athletic. He isn’t religious. He isn’t in ROTC. He is constantly being called “gay” or “faggot,” oftentimes by the people he thought were his friends. He tries to ignore them, but it doesn’t stop them. He tries to debate them, but it doesn’t stop them. So far, it hasn’t gone beyond name-calling, but I worry. I showed him your site the day it went live. He sat down and watched the video that you and Terry put up. Since then, I have seen him checking the site out on his own. I don’t know if he is gay, but I do know that your message has touched him. Although he does confide that four years is still a long time to wait for things to get better. I think that seeing so many other people say the same thing holds much more weight than having his mother tell him. So thank you again for sharing.
— A Concerned Mom
In the last two weeks, we’ve learned of five more teenagers who were being bullied and took their own lives: Cody Barker, age 17, of Shiocton, Wisconsin; Asher Brown, age 13, of Houston, Texas; Seth Walsh, age 13, of Tehachapi, California; Tyler Clementi, age 18, the Rutgers University student who jumped off the George Washington Bridge; and Raymond Chase, age 19, a student in Providence, Rhode Island. Their deaths come after the suicides of Justin Aaberg, age 15, of Anoka, Minnesota, and Billy Lucas, age 15, of Greensburg, Indiana.
Hundreds of LGBT people all over the world have uploaded videos to the It Gets Better Project’s YouTube channel in an effort to bring hope to kids who are being bullied because they are gay or perceived to be gay. People are sharing their stories and letting these kids know that it gets better. By the time you read this, the videos at the IGBP will have been viewed, collectively, more than a million times. Go to www.itgetsbetterproject.com to see the videos or to upload one of your own.
Four years is a long time to wait, ACM, and what about making things better right now? Gay, lesbian, bi, and trans activists, inspired by the IGBP, have launched the Make It Better Project. Events are planned for all over the country between now and October 11, which is National Coming Out Day, to raise awareness of the problem and to push for legislative action now, like the immediate passage of the Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Student Non-Discrimination Act. You can learn more about events in your community — and how you can help to make it better now — at www.makeitbetterproject.com.