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Friday, June 10, 2011

SPOTLIGHT: The It Gets Better Project

In September 2010, syndicated columnist and author Dan Savage created a YouTube video with his partner Terry to inspire hope for young people facing harassment. In response to a number of students taking their own lives after being bullied in school, they wanted to create a personal way for supporters everywhere to tell LGBT youth that, yes, it does indeed get better.

Listen below as Dan and Terry share their stories and how the project came about. 

Two months later, the It Gets Better Project (TM) has turned into a worldwide movement, inspiring over 10,000 user-created videos viewed over 35 million times. To date, the project has received submissions from celebrities, organizations, activists, politicians and media personalities, including President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Adam Lambert, Anne Hathaway, Colin Farrell, Matthew Morrison of "Glee", Joe Jonas, Joel Madden, Ke$ha, Sarah Silverman, Tim Gunn, Ellen DeGeneres, Suze Orman, the staffs of The Gap, Google, Facebook, Pixar, the Broadway community, and many more.

THE PLEDGE: Everyone deserves to be respected for who they are. I pledge to spread this message to my friends, family and neighbors. I'll speak up against hate and intolerance whenever I see it, at school and at work. I'll provide hope for lesbian, gay, bi, trans and other bullied teens by letting them know that "It Gets Better."
The website, is a place where young people who are lesbian, gay, bi, or trans can see how love and happiness can be a reality in their future.

Confession: As an adult who has realized it gets better, I often brainstorm ways to tell struggling teens it gets better. I do not know what it feels like to be teased for being a LGBT youth but I was teased in elementary & middle school for the way I looked and the way I dressed. As a skinny tomboy with big lips, I did not fit the conventional standards of beauty. It never got so bad that I considered harming myself but it did have an impact on my self-esteem for quite some time. It was a journey for me to learn to love myself and I realized the people who teased me were insecure about themselves [look at me now]. It is a trip every person should go on. At one point, high school consumed my life. I thought my friends and I would never part and I believed they were the greatest people in the world. I hung out with the homecoming queens, popular athletes and pretty girls. Still, I look back on my grade school experiences and I am grateful for all of them. 

In the video below, President Obama shares his message of hope and support for LGBT youth who are struggling with being bullied.

No matter how bad you think it is, it gets BETTER! 

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