By now you’ve probably heard of the It Gets Better Project, the new YouTube channel created by advice columnist Dan Savage. Savage launched the project to reach out to teenagers who are bullied at school for being perceived as gay (many people assume, sometimes correctly, that gender-nonconforming kids are gay). The site is a collection of videos by LGBT adults who survived school bullying and grew up to be happy, healthy adults.
I can’t watch any of the videos without crying, getting goosebumps, or wanting to jump up and change the world right this second. Individually and collectively, these snapshots of people moving from suffering to thriving are, simply, beautiful.
It’s painful that such beauty had to come in response to such suffering, that LGBT people have to pass through the ring of fire we call high school—and that some don’t make it to tell their stories. But if bullying and brutality and suicidal thoughts are the reality at this moment, if we can’t end bullying today, then the best thing we can do for kids suffering in school right now is to connect them with adults who can help. Adults who can say, because they have lived through it: it does get better.
So, subscribe to the It Gets Better Project. Check out the Make it Better project, and participate in their Week of Action, October 5-11, culminating on National Coming Out Day. Spread the word about the Trevor Project, a GLBT suicide prevention service. Ask your school to show films from Groundspark and The Youth and Gender Media Project. Check out First Comes Love, a documentary in production honoring same-sex couples. Donate to these projects, if you can. I just did.
In these ways—and there are so many more; please share your ideas by posting a comment below—we can help kids who are suffering right now. And then we can get to work changing the world for the kids who come next.