By Abby Godard, ’13
In September 2010, five homosexual teens committed suicide within just three weeks, according to an Oct. 3, 2010 New York Times article by Jessie McKinley. Among these deaths included Tyler Clementi, a former freshman at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey who jumped off the George Washington Bridge on Sept. 22, 2010. His suicide was in response to a viral upload of a video of him having sex with another man in his dorm room.
It is devastating stories like Clementi’s that brought the problem of harrassment at school to the forefront of American culture. Suicide prevention has been further promoted by featuring stories on the nightly news, inviting speakers to come in and speak at schools, and even creating national campaigns.
One campaign in particular is the “It Gets Better Project,” which was created by Dan Savage. Savage said he first started his campaign because he was saddened by the frequent stories of gay teens committing suicide after being taunted in school and helplessly wishing he could have told these kids that he, a successful gay man, was living proof that it does get better, according to an interview with MTV News on Sept. 30, 2010. Savage and his partner, Terry Miller later posted a video on Youtube, informing young LGBT teens who struggled with harrassment and coming to terms with their sexuality their own story of hope.
This was the first video of many, which later caught the eyes of celebrities and was popularized by contributors ranging from Perez Hilton to President Obama. This inspired both gay and straight teens as well as adults to share their own stories of how “It Gets Better,” and creating a place where thousands of people in the LGBT community could post their videos of hope to help struggling teens.
Along with a published book of many LGBT’s inspiring stories, Savage created a benefactor site called “The Trevor Project” which is a 24/7 hotline to help struggling members of the LGBT community. According to their website, “The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and questioning youth.”
For immediate assistance in dealing with bullying and questioning sexuality, call the toll-free Trevor hotline: 866-4-U-TREVOR (866-488-7386).
To share inspiring stories with other LGBT members, please visit the It Gets Better Website: http://www.itgetsbetter.org/