Dan Savage, published author and dating advice columnist whose “Savage Love” has appeared in Metroland and is syndicated nationally, has launched a new campaign to help LGBT teens get through the toughest years of their lives.
It’s dubbed the “It Gets Better” Project, and the idea is for gay adults to upload messages to a YouTube channel to encourage teens having a hard time to tough it out. Because, after all, it gets better, and suicide should never be seen as a viable alternative.
The project was inspired by the suicide of a 15-year-old Indiana teen who last week hung himself in his family’s barn after enduring bullying and torment at the hands of others in his community.
Savage and his husband uploaded the first video yesterday morning. In it, they talk of the travails of growing up gay and how it led them to where they are today:
UPDATE 9/23 9:15am: new version has been uploaded by the group with better sound quality; thanks to Dasha
I knew someone – not a close friend but someone I knew for years in High School whom I liked very much – who committed suicide after we went away to college. I remember getting the phone call right before a Siena event, and the thought that stuck with me was the same that had been with the commenter on the internet that initially inspired Savage’s idea, even though my friend’s suicide had nothing to do with sexual orientation: if only I could go back in time, or if only I knew, there must have been something I could say or do to prevent this from happening.
Unfortunately, these are the thoughts that we default to, and they can overwhelm us and prevent us from moving on with our grief. It can drive us to near madness thinking of all the things we didn’t do or say. But sometimes something constructive can come from these desperate thoughts, as it did in this case. While we mourn the loss of those who were loved by someone – whether they knew it or not – we can also do something that may, perhaps, prevent it from happening again.
To say “never again” is meaningless, because that’s a guarantee that we simply can’t make. We can, however, say “it doesn’t need to happen again.”
So if you’re out there and you’re an adult LGBT, I urge you to consider turning on your webcam and contributing to the topic.
And even if you’re not, what would you say to your teenaged self? Share in the comments.
UPDATE @ 4:26pm – reader Katie directs us to a local project with the same intention called “The Trevor Project”:
Locally, The Trevor Project is a program which provides trainings and lectures about preventing teen suicide and I would suggest people who have interest in LGBT suicide prevention explore rainbowaccess.org (programs)which oversees the work locally or thetrevorproject.org for general info
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