“It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying and Creating a Life Worth Living”
“It Gets Better” edited by Dan Savage and Terry Miller (Dutton Publishing 2011)
As explained in the book’s Introduction by editor Dan Savage, “I didn’t need permission from parents or an invitation from a school. I could look into a camera, share my story, and let LGBT kids know it got better for me and it would get better for them too. I could give ’em hope.” This was in response to several suicides in 2010, namely Justin Aaberg and Billy Lucas, both 15 years old. As you know, there have been other bullycides here in the U.S. and other countries.
Dan and his partner, Terry, made a video of their coming out story and history of bullying in school. They posted it on YouTube and encouraged others to do the same. The response was so great that YouTube created the It Gets Better Channel. There are thousands of personal videos by people of all ages from every walk of life. Their mission is to spread a message of hope to all those suffering from bullying and cyberbullying. You may recall the suicide of Jamey Rodemeyer in New York this past September. A few months earlier, Jamie posted his own video on It Gets Better encouraging others to stick around and be strong.
The contributors to this book include people of all ages, straight and gay. They relate their experiences getting through middle school and high school with the ultimate message that life does get better – you just have to believe this and not give up. We think it best to let the book speak for itself. What follows are direct quotes from some of the stories in “It Gets Better.” It is a worthwhile read for not only LGBTQ individuals but everyone else as well. Judge Tom learned a lot from reading these personal accounts – some with a bit of humor, many with wisdom and all with compassion.
“. . . it’s a beautiful thing, the fact that I am one of the people in this world that shows off God’s diversity. God loves diversity. So it is an honor for me. From that moment, I started on a journey to fall in love with myself and try to see the person that God sees when I look in the mirror. Life has gotten better and better the older I get.” (page 206)
“The LGBT community needs you and all your unique gifts and talents to help us build a better future.” (page 136)
“Even though things were pretty bad growing up, the great thing about high school is it doesn’t last forever.” (page 264)
“If I had ended my life, I would not have been able to meet so many wonderful people. I would not have experienced the togetherness and belonging that comes from truly deep friendships. I would not have been able to fall in love. I would not have known what it feels like to be embraced by a community.” (page 136)