Wednesday, October 6, 2010

It Gets Better

Tyler Clementi

Last week, at least five gay teenagers took their own lives
  • Sept 19: Seth Walsh, 13 - California - hung himself in his backyard
  • Sept 22: Tyler Clementi, 18 - New Jersey - jumped off a bridge
  • Sept 23: Asher Brown, 13 - Texas - shot himself in the head
  • Sept 29 - Raymond Chase, 19 - Rhode Island - hung himself in his dorm room
  • Sept 30: Billy Lucas, 15 - Indiana - hung himself in his family's barn.
This news breaks my heart. It is near and dear to my own life experience. Every day when I change clothes I am reminded of the dark night of my own soul when I came near death myself: my chest and arms still bear the scars of the two years I cut on myself with razors, steak knives, and meat scissors. I am so glad to have survived that wretched time of my life, but this news reminds me that many are enduring worse times... and some are not surviving.

I've often wished I could go back in time and talk to myself 10 or 15 years ago. I've wanted to tell myself what I would eventually learn and how much better life would become after I finished high school and Baptist college, exited reorientation therapy, and left my childhood faith that I found to be false.

Dan Savage and his husband decided to do something along just those lines. In response to the recent spate of gay suicides, they have created the It Gets Better Project, basically a YouTube channel where LGBT people young and old can provide encouragement to those in our community who are suffering and who may be contemplating suicide.

Check out the YouTube channel for yourself--it's fantastic. Many of the videos are so touching I came close to tears watching them.

Hundreds of videos have already been posted; here are a few of my favorites:

Dan and his husband of 16 years, Terry. (a bit on the long side at ~8minutes, but really sweet. I love their stories of how they met, their marriage, and their son DJ)

Members of the cast of touring broadway show Wicked (~2 minutes)

Gay cop and a gay marine (Kinda awkward at first, but really sweet at the end. ~1 minute)