On the heels of all our talk about prevention, another LGBT teen is lost to suicide. Billy Lucas was 15 years old when he hanged himself after reportedly enduring intense bullying and anti-gay harassment by his classmates—classmates who called him a fag and told him to kill himself.
I will say it again: lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adolescents attempt suicide at a rate three to six times that of comparably aged heterosexual youth. All because the important people, institutions and media all around them continue to give them the message that being queer is something horrible.
It is time to change the message. It is time to tell LGBT youth that no matter how alone, judged or stuck they feel now it gets better! There are people out there who will accept and understand you. There are other LGBT adults who made it through a childhood just like yours, who live rich and fulfilling lives. You can too, I promise you.
Make a video. Tell them it gets better.
I’ve launched a channel on YouTube—www .youtube.com/itgetsbetterproject—to host these videos. My normally camera-shy husband and I already posted one. We both went to Christian schools and we were both bullied—he had it a lot worse than I did—and we are living proof that it gets better. We don’t dwell too much on the past. Instead, we talk mostly about all the meaningful things in our lives now—our families, our friends (gay and straight), the places we’ve gone and things we’ve experienced—that we would’ve missed out on if we’d killed ourselves then.
Here’s how it works:
Go to www.youtube.com/itgetsbetterproject to find instructions for submitting your video.) If you’re gay or lesbian or bi or trans and you’ve ever read about a kid like Billy Lucas and thought, “Fuck, I wish I could’ve told him that it gets better,” this is your chance. We can’t help Billy, but there are lots of other Billys out there—other despairing LGBT kids who are being bullied and harassed, kids who don’t think they have a future—and we can help them. They need to know that it gets better. Submit a video. Give them hope.
Or listen to Dan and his husband tell you in their own words: