“Justin Aeberg. Billy Lucas. Cody Barker. Asher Brown. Seth Walsh. Raymond Chase. Tyler Clementi. All the names of American teenagers who in recent months have taken their own lives after being bullied in school.”
It Gets Better Project isn’t pulling any punches.
“For too long, LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] youth have been forced to struggle through their formative years suffering from bullies in their schools, churches and homes — and with no support system to provide them any help.
Noted writer and media pundit Dan Savage founded the It Gets Better Project in September 2010 as a unique way for supporters everywhere to tell LGBT Youth that — it gets better.
Closed-minded school administrators and parents may not let LGBT adults talk directly to their children about their futures, but we don’t have to get permission to tell kids that life gets better. That’s why we’re compiling a video archive to share the stories of people overcoming bullying and finding happiness.”
The It Gets Better Project started an online campaign to send teens a simple message. Since its launch at the end of September the project has received over 850 videos from supporters, gained over 1.6 million YouTube channel views, and become the most subscribed YouTube channel this month. The truly inspiring aspect of the project is how it is building a decentralized movement: Their YouTube channel only has 2 uploads. The rest of the videos, added as favorites to their channel, have been created by average people who want to send a message of support. Search YouTube for videos uploaded in the last month taged “The It Gets Better Project” and you’ll get back over 2,000 results.
Among these videos are messages from Dan Savage (the projects founder), Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, employees at Google, Tim Gunn, and a star studded appeal for the Trevor Project (an organization focused on crisis and suicide prevention among LGBT youth). But the best part is, anyone with a webcam can send a message that can lend hope and maybe even save a life. The barriers to participate are so low, and the impact is so powerful. Some stories are deeply personal, some talk about their own attempts at suicide. But they are willing to share with the world to help a teen that they will probably never meet, or even know their name.
Today, thousands are also showing their support to teens, and defiance to bullying, by wearing purple in honor of GLAAD’s Spirit Day. The idea that a child could be bullied into taking their own life is sickening. Help send a message any way that you can. Help a teen understand that it gets better.