Friday, December 10, 2010

Does it Get Better?

I spoke about my own experience being bullied in school -- with OUTview online's MK Scott.  He even features clips from my film A Four Letter Word, and asks my message for bullied youth of today.  I'm oddly ambivalent about whether It Gets Better - but what I wish I could say to them anyone being abused in school is: the world is much bigger than where you are now! 

When I was in Junior High, I got a pen-pal in Australia, and was able to read about her life down under on a sheep farm and imagine a place far, far away.  And make plans to get there- my introduction to a life of foreign travel.  It's strange that sometimes truly awful things have to happen for IT to get better. 

The Scottsboro Boys suffered so Rosa Parks could ignite civil rights in the USA.  If Penn Station was not demolished, would Grand Central Station (and so much more) be here today?  A vicious Dirty War in Argentina taught its people the terror of unfairness, paving way for their embrace of gay marriage today. The same could be said for Apartheid in South Africa.  Maybe the worst years of my life were necessary improvements in ways I've yet to fully understand.  

It's one thing to be talking about these issues, but one of my favorite things about the blogosphere (and one I don't utilize enough) is that it is able to make a difference and provide the public with ways to do something about a paralyzing situation.  I urge you to help make a difference by donating, or getting involved with one or several of the organizations below.   


A lot of attention from Dan Savage's It Gets Better campaign (make your own video here) -which was begun after the most recent spate of gay or perceived gay bullied teen suicide - has focused on the lifesaving work of the Trevor Project, the nation's only 24-hour suicide hotline (1-866-488-7386) for GLTBQ and questioning youth in crisis.  They provide anonymous, nonjudgmental support, and I'm a huge fan.

PFLAG - Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays - promotes the health and well being of LGBT youth - and also informing an ill-informed society, and often providing the supportive family some kids do not have.  I here are chapters in most US cities.

There is also GLSEN, or the Gay/Lesbian/Straight Education Network, which works with educators, community leaders, and students to make schools safe for everyone.  Find out how you can help out your local chapter in the link above.  I've donated to send a "safe kit" to my old Junior High School, and you can do the same.

Another important organization is Live Out Loud - a non-profit dedicated to empowering and inspiring LGBTQ youth by offering scholarships, and also by connecting them with successful LGBTQ people in their communities.  In this video, Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black* returned and spoke at his high school as part of Live Out Loud's Homecoming Project:

*You do not need to be an Oscar winner to participate in the Homecoming Project.  Live Out Loud is looking for dedicated, enthusiastic role-models!  Contact them here to get involved.

No comments: