Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The "It Gets Better" project

My heart breaks telling stories like this one. But tell I must. How many of these reports must we read before we take action? This is from back in the good ol’ US of A. (There is a positive response in the end.)

I post this to encourage my friends (Brazilian or otherwise) to TALK with your family and friends and FORWARD a link to your young LGBT family members so this does not happen to other young people.


15-year-old Billy Lucas' suicide appears to have been inspired by anti-gay bullying at school.

"The 15-year-old never told anyone he was gay but students at Greensburg High School thought he was and so they picked on him.

'People would call him 'fag' and stuff like that, just make fun of him because he's different basically,' said student Dillen Swango.

Students said it was common knowledge that children bullied Billy and from what they said, it was getting worse. Last Thursday, Billy's mother found him dead inside their barn. He had hung himself.

Students said on that same day, some students told Billy to kill himself. 'They said stuff like 'you're like a piece of crap' and 'you don't deserve to live.' Different things like that. Talked about how he was gay or whatever,' said Swango."

"Friends of Lucas say that he had been tormented for years. 'Some people at school called him names,' Hughes said, saying most of those names questioned Lucas' sexual orientation, and that Lucas, for the most part, did little to defend himself. 'He would try to but people would just try to break him down with words and stuff and just pick on him,' Hughes said."

The creator of this project said:

"Billy Lucas was just 15 when he hanged himself in a barn on his grandmother's property. He reportedly endured intense bullying at the hands of his classmates—classmates who called him a fag and told him to kill himself. His mother found his body.... 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.

"But gay adults aren't allowed to talk to these kids. Schools and churches don't bring us in to talk to teenagers who are being bullied. Many of these kids have homophobic parents who believe that they can prevent their gay children from growing up to be gay—or from ever coming out—by depriving them of information, resources, and positive role models.

"Why are we waiting for permission to talk to these kids? We have the ability to talk directly to them right now. We don't have to wait for permission to let them know that it gets better. We can reach these kids."

OK – so to respond there is an amazing YouTube effort started by Dan Savage, the long-time sex advice columnist in Seattle, WA.

“It Gets Better”

Savage has encouraged everyone with an interest in intervening in the ongoing travesty that is bullying of LGBT kids in schools to post a brief video on YouTube reminding these kids that It Gets Better.

Take a look --- and pass this posts on to others in your network!

Link your young LGBT family and friends to the It Gets Better Project for words of hope and reassurance. It may save their life.


Anonymous said...

This brought tears to my eyes. I always thought Savage Love was snarky but funny--nice to see him doing something so positive.

Rachel said...

Man, what the hell is wrong with the youth of America. Seriously. What are we teaching, or not teaching, our children!

Great to see someone doing something so positive about it. Thankfully internet can reach into even the smallest of towns!

Lu said...

Jim, I thought of you when I saw this onine today. A sad coincidence . . .

Jim said...

TLC - Dan has come a long way from his early "Hey Faggot" days.

Rachel - I hope we can teach our children to at least disagree without causing pain!

Lu - yeah... I saw that. Horrible. I could have a blog just for the travesties against LGBT folks -- but I cannot. The drain on my spirit is too intense.

Thanks for the link.

Fiona said...

Finally got around to watching these. Really nice. I bet they will have an impact on young people-- there is nothing better than hearing people's stories of survival through tough times and happiness that waits on the other side of high school. I hope with all my heart that each new generation will get closer to understanding, that diversity is for our survival as a human race, that each person with all of their gorgeous differences, can add their essentialness to life on this planet.