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“It Gets Better Project”

June 24, 2011

It Gets Better Project

Photo courtesy of David Sutherland

Remember what it was like coming out to your friends and family, or people at work, to tell them you are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Everyone has a different experience; some good, some great, some bad and some just downright horrendous. Not so long ago it was extremely difficult to find a positive LGBT role model, with most only having their sexual identity revealed posthumously, which was never as reassuring as seeing someone living a happy fullfilling live as a LGBT person.

Although it could be better, there are now more visible ‘out’ people who identify themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual or transgender.  On television there’s, Paul O Grady and Mary Portas, aka Mary Queen of shops, while the music scene has always been has always been a better bedfellow for the LGBTQ community, with Duncan James, (Blue), Dan Gillespie Sells, (The Feeling) and K D. Lang being out positive role models. It is also great to see people from institutionally homo/transphobic organisations, like sport also making a stand and coming out, including, Gareth Thomas, (rugby), Steven Davies (cricketer) and competitive mountain-bike racer Michelle Dumaresq. There is now a smattering of ‘out’ politicians in Westminster across all parties, including Chris Bryant (Labour), Nick Herbert (Conservative), Steve Gilbert (Liberal Democrats).

With this in mind it is perhaps all too easy to believe that the young gay men and women in the Twenty-First Century have never had it so good; particularly for those  who live in the big cities. Places like Brighton, London and Manchester have dedicated ‘gay villages’ filled with pubs clubs and shops. The internet is also filled with LGBTQ chat rooms, magazines and blogs yelling out how fab it is to be young, gay and proud; but equally there are still many voices condemning a homosexual lifestyle.                  

For many young gay men and women coming to terms with your sexuality it can be a midfield of confusing emotions as they decide how best to come to terms with their sexuality as they take a tentative peek into a world that looks fantastic but can also feel extremely overwhelming. There is then the added factor of people who don’t believe being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender is the best thing since sliced bread. Let’s face it, the last thing they need is to be made feel inadequate or worse that what they are feeling is wrong and then bullied into thinking differently or ostracised from people they thought cared.  

Being bullied can have a devastating effect on the individual coming to terms with their sexuality; be it from a stranger, but how much worse when the bully is someone who was a friend or a family member. Those being bullied can end up feeling isolated and afraid to speak out, believing that others will think the same as the bully.  It is this fear that has lead to countless young gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans teenage men and women believing that the only way out is through suicide; an issue that was highlighted by American writer, Dan Savage and his husband Terry Miller.

Wanting to do something, Dan & Terry uploaded a video on You Tube, http://youtu.be/7IcVyvg2Qlo with the simple message for those who are feeling afraid and alone, “Whatever you’re experiencing now, be it family rejection, bullying and harassment in schools or even thoughts of suicide, it gets better.”

Since its launch on September 2010, there has been an amazing response from the LGBT community uploading viral videos with the main purpose of saying “It gets better.” As the interest in the project has grown, more and more influential people from the world of television, film and politics have uploaded their own message of support, including Gareth Thomas,  http://youtu.be/d_2jR2qNIoY Jake Shears from Scissor Sister http://youtu.be/FjFxosDnzOo and even the president of the united states, Barack Obama http://youtu.be/geyAFbSDPVk joining the “It Gets Better” campaign.

Out there, right now, is someone who is feeling that they can’t face another day, believing that the only way out is through taking their own live. Hopefully they will find one of the many messages from the It Gets Better Project and realise that they are not alone, and that it does get better.

Now here’s an idea, next time you’re on your chosen media sharing site, download a message from one of the many people who have joined the “It gets better project” and post it on your wall. Who knows it might just reach someone who really needs to hear it.

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3 Comments
  1. Alexi Cawson permalink

    Also – what about: Peter Mandelson, Chris Smith, Elton John, Graham Norton, John Browne (of BP), Louis Walsh, John Barrowman, etc. Some scandal has attached to some of these people (and they’re not universally popular) – but I reckon that just makes them all the more “normal” and therefore just as much of a role model. And they’ve all become very well-known in their fields.

    • Thanks Aexi,
      Your right, the people on your list (some nice, some not) are all ‘out’ which is a very powerful message to those waiting in the closet. Thank you for your post.

  2. Alexi Cawson permalink

    and there’s the lovely Nigel Slater of course 🙂

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