PRESIDENT OBAMA: ‘IT GETS BETTER’…. With several recent youth suicides stemming from anti-gay bullying, an initiative like the It Gets Better Project has an opportunity to make an enormous difference. As part of the effort, created last month by Dan Savage, people from a variety of backgrounds submit videos reminding LGBT young people that in time, life really does get better, even if it’s hard to imagine a better future now.
Last night, the initiative received a major boost from the White House, with President Obama recording a video for the project. “You are not alone,” the president explained. “You didn’t do anything wrong. You didn’t do anything to deserve being bullied. And there is a whole world waiting for you, filled with possibilities. There are people out there who love you and care about you just the way you are. And so, if you ever feel like because of bullying, because of what people are saying, that you’re getting down on yourself, you’ve got to make sure to reach out to people you trust. Whether it’s your parents, teachers, folks that you know care about you just the way you are. You’ve got to reach out to them, don’t feel like you’re in this by yourself.
“The other thing you need to know is, things will get better. And more than that, with time you’re going to see that your differences are a source of pride and a source of strength. You’ll look back on the struggles you’ve faced with compassion and wisdom.”
What’s more, the White House posted an item from Brian Bond, the deputy director of the Office of Public Engagement, who not only shared his own story about being taunted as a young person, but who who also acknowledged that he considered suicide. His piece on the White House blog also includes links and information on anti-bullying resources.
All of this comes the same week as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who also recorded a video message for the It Gets Better project.
I don’t know what the response will be from the LGBT community about these efforts, and I suppose it’s possible that some of the frustrations surrounding DADT and other issues will lead some to look askance at all of this.
But if we put politics and motivations aside, if even just one young person who’s feeling isolated and who’s struggling right now sees President Obama’s video and feels a little more hopeful about his or her future, then this will have been well worth it.