The “It Gets Better Project”

On September 21, 2010, the “It Gets Better Project” was launched by gay activist and journalist Dan Savage in response to the suicide of gay teenager Billy Lucas, and other queer teens who took their lives because of bullying revolving around their sexual orientation. Savage posted a video with husband Terry Miller sharing their stories of life as LGBT teens, stating “I wish I could have talked to this kid for five minutes. I wish I could have told Billy that it gets better. I wish I could have told him that, however bad things were, however isolated and alone he was, it gets better.”  The intention of the video was to prevent suicide among LGBT youth by providing a sense of hope for the future. By hearing about the lives of gay adults who lived through these difficult times, the youth could see that it really does get better.

The “It Gets Better Project” is an excellent representation of the empowerment that LGBT supporters can have in the community. By promoting change through personal accounts of success, it shows that we are all human and that if we band together, we can make it to tomorrow. No one truly knows if things will get better in the future, but the one thing that keeps them going is the hope that it will. “If every day is terrible, and worse than the day that came before it, the only thing to do is to hold out for the “better” one.” (Doyle, 2010) This project exemplifies the strength that queer people have; they have made it and they are flourishing.

Although the “It Gets Better Project” was acclaimed strongly for bringing forth a strong message of hope for the day, some queer activists criticized the campaign stating that it diminished the struggles that some have. One argument states that although we are promoting change, we are not providing an avenue for those who are under privileged to get help. Youth with depression are not going to “get better” if they do not have access to proper mental health care. Another criticism posits that “It Gets Better Project” caters to the privileged white gay man. Diana Cage states that although the concept o the movement is beautiful and inspirational, it does not help you if you are a gay member of color, or transgendered. The argument continued on stating that life doesn’t necessarily get better, but you become stronger. You learn to block out negativity, you learn to love yourself, you learn to survive.

it-gets-better1This project fits well in to the context of the history unit because this archive is timeless. As time will pass, the message started by Savage will continue on. A message of hope and a better tomorrow. Although critics have had arguments against the project, I like to that the project does more good than harm. When I look at this page, I feel a sense of joy. It gives me inspiration and meaning, and I think that this is what each piece in the history unit was intended to do. Each provided us with a sense of hope. My favorite piece from the unit was “One Today” by Richard Blanco. It parallels the “It Gets Better Project” by forming a sense of unity; a sense of belonging.

“…of one country
— all of us —
facing the stars
hope —
a new constellation
waiting for us to map it,
waiting for us to name it—together…”
Savage’s message exemplifies where we are currently at with LGBT issues. There were movements concerning free sex practices, feminism, and of course the AIDS epidemic. One of the goals of today is to cease the bullying brought against the LGBT community. Campaign’s such as the one brought forth by Savage exemplify just that, sending a message of hope that tomorrow will be better.
Dan Savage and Terry Miller


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