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It Gets Better

2010-10-15 17:58:11.233113+00 by Dan Lyke 5 comments

Following the suicide of yet another bullied young gay teen, Dan Savage wrote:

"My heart breaks for the pain and torment you went through, Billy Lucas," a reader wrote after I posted about Billy Lucas to my blog. "I wish I could have told you that things get better."

I had the same reaction: 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.

And they started the It Gets Better Project at YouTube, where people record videos telling teens that "it gets better".

Which is a message I sure wish I'd heard more in high school. But there are some alternate takes: It Gets Different; Leveling Up and Not it: you. You get better. are both messages directed more towards personal change.

The only problem I have with those two messages is that I remember feeling in high school, and even college, that my life was on rails, and I didn't have much leeway to change without completely going off those rails. Saying "you get better" isn't much help to someone who's also simultaneously trying to play the various societal success games as well.

[ related topics: Children and growing up Star Wars Games Sexual Culture Weblogs Pop Culture Education Seattle ]

comments in descending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2010-11-23 15:20:09.088132+00 by: Dan Lyke

MeFi comment on Pixar short: "It sounds like a lot of people working at Pixar have been on a personal journey where they felt lost for a long time, but were then rescued by a loveable group of ragtag misfits."

#Comment Re: made: 2010-11-23 15:13:06.68109+00 by: Dan Lyke

It goes on and on and on, but it's good to see that Pixar is still cool: Pixar: It Gets Better. If only for Kevin saying "Not everyone is 'Kurt' on Glee".

#Comment Re: made: 2010-10-22 00:51:48.87985+00 by: Shawn

I love the It Gets Better Project, and I'm glad they're doing it, but my experience was pretty much the opposite. I got the "it gets better" message loud and clear growing up - especially through high school - from parents, counselors, TV, pretty much everybody. But for most of my adult life I've honestly felt that was a horrible lie. I think it was Tom Brokaw who said during a commencement speech that the "real world" isn't like college, or even high school - it's like middle school. And that's been my experience.

Sure there've been ups as well as downs, but it hasn't been until the last few years (I just turned 40) that I've truly felt the context of my life (the social milieu around me) has improved.

#Comment Re: made: 2010-10-18 15:02:15.484965+00 by: ebradway

I couldn't post a comment over on Tim's site - rather, I didn't want to have to buy a DreamWidth account in order to post... so I'll put it here.

There was a heart-wrenching case of a young Hispanic trans woman, Angie Zapata, being murdered last year in Denver. For her, a strikingly attractive young woman who was born male, high school was miserable. I can only imagine what Greeley, Colorado, would be like growing up Hispanic or trans, much less both...

After she finished high school, she started hanging out in the queer scene in Denver. Unlike high school, that community accepted her as a spunky, sexy young woman. Based on the story in Westword, she reveled in her newfound acceptance. For Angie, "it got better". Unfortunately, it seemed like it got too good too fast. Ultimately, someone who seemed to accept her, didn't...

#Comment An alternative response made: 2010-10-17 13:44:21.328939+00 by: spl

What came before can come again by Tim Chevalier.