By Morgan Cohn
My name is Morgan (they/them) and I am the Strategic Partnerships Manager for the It Gets Better Project.
I have always been an advocate for things I believe in. It started in elementary school, when I had the opportunity to learn about and advocate for people being affected by the humanitarian crisis in Kosovo. Many years and causes later in 2008, Prop 8 was on the ballot in my home state of California. Though I identified as an ally at that point in my life, I was raised by progressive parents, and I firmly believed in marriage for all, something the majority of my conservative community did not. I spent much of my time arguing with my classmates and talking about the importance of voting.
I grew up dancing both competitively and as a form of self expression. From three years old until I turned 21, I practiced, performed, and trained six days a week. In that environment, I was exposed to many gay men, and the normalization of men being gay allowed me to expand my understanding that not all humans are cis or straight. But I was never exposed to any queer women or nonbinary people. I chalked myself up as an ally throughout my life, but I also experienced severe internalized homophobia when it came to any folks who were not the gay men I was comfortable around. I pushed my queerness down into the depths of my being.
I understood my sexuality and gender far later than many. I didn’t make the connection until I was 25 and in grad school. I went on to gain fantastic friends, chosen family, and the acceptance and love of my parents.
In fall of 2020, I married my then partner in front of our closest friends. Three weeks later, she suffered a massive stroke. I didn’t know how to go on, and felt like I never would. At times, I thought my life would end due to severe mental health issues, newly acquired addiction issues, and a general isolation from the world.
The family I was given and that I had chosen rallied around us. I was in a job that had an LGBTQ work group, and those members held me up in my time of need. Being involved in advocacy, nonprofits, and having the massive support of my peers and family allowed me the opportunity to keep moving forward. I was able to heal, to grow, and to truly thrive.
The It Gets Better Project came along at the perfect time for me. I was working on myself consistently and felt ready to move into a role that helped me give back to the community that has given so much to me. If I’d had resources like It Gets Better when I was younger, my life would certainly be different, but I’m grateful for all that I have endured. It made me a more whole person.
Thank you for reading my story. Thank you for understanding the importance of organizations like the It Gets Better Project and our end of year Better Everyday campaign. Better Everyday means that, no matter how bad life gets, it will get better. Nothing is ever perfect, but if you keep moving forward, stay true to yourself, and show yourself grace and love, anything is possible.