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It gets better

In response to the recent suicides related to anti-gay bullying, Dan Savage set up the It Gets Better project on Youtube a few weeks back.  The idea is for those who have gone through bullying and homophobia themselves to reach out to LGBTQ youth by submitting their own videos.  I heard about IGB early on, both through Savage’s podcast and various social media outlets.

The response has been generally supportive, though there have also been dissenting, questioning voices as well.  And then counter-responses to those.

There probably isn’t much that I could say that hasn’t already been said by hundreds of others.  Word of the project has spread virally.  It has sparked waves of conversation and lots of news bytes, has both inspired and angered thousands of people.  It’s moved viewers to donate to suicide hotlines and to reach out to others, while making others realize how much more needs to be done.

To that end, I already see IGB creating change and opening discourse on the topics of suicide and bullying.  On a personal level, it’s incredible for me to see these videos of people talking so openly and intimately about suicide attempts and sharing explicit stories of bullying.  As with so much else in our culture, suicide is so taboo and stigmatized a subject that it’s often difficult to talk this openly about it.

And without the language and shame-free environment to discuss these issues, it makes it that much harder to get help, open up to another, and recognize that you’re not alone.

It’s also true, what the dissenting voices say: it’s not enough, this standalone project, it doesn’t get to the root of the issue, and everyone will be affected differently from watching the videos.  But to have the conversation at all, to insist on having this conversation, is what I think makes this a truly worthwhile cause.

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Categories: hope, links, video
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