The It Gets Better Project was created by syndicated columnist, author, and LGBT activist Dan Savage and his partner Terry Miller in September 2010 as an inspirational response to anti-gay bullying and the hike in (publicized) LGBT teen suicides. Since then, more than 30,000 touching and motivational videos have been created by countless celebrities, public figures, and regular people like you and me with one resounding message to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender teens who are being bullied and facing discrimination, intolerance, and hate today: It Gets Better.
This project has achieved amazing success; by just the end of 2010, it raised over $100,000 from $2,500+ grassroots contributors that has gone to increase support and resources available to teenagers in the LGBT community through the project’s affiliation with the Trevor Project suicide hotline, GLSEN (The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network), and the ACLU LGBT Project. By the end of this month, the It Gets Better Project will reach an even wider audience with the premiere of the It Gets Better special that will air on both MTV and Logo on Tuesday, February 21st at 11:00 p.m. ET.
The 60-minute special will be anchored by Dan Savage and will follow the lives of three young people at pivotal and emotional moments in their lives: a young man struggling to tell his family and friends that he is gay; a lesbian fighting for parental acceptance; and a transgender man preparing to get married. In additional to these stories, the special will also include video messages full of hope and support from very well-known people, including Adam Levine, Zachary Quinto, Margaret Cho, Chaz Bono, Tim Mcllarth and Brandon Barnes of Rise Against, Vinny Guadagnino, Dave Holmes, Sia and Jake Shears.
Check out the following clip from the It Gets Better special featuring Vanessa who is talking to her mother about her personal fight for acceptance:
This project came at a very crucial moment in time and this special is also very much needed in our society. Simply put, kids are dying. Every day, LGBT youth are being bullied by their peers as well as by adults and authority figures in their communities. They are paying attention to the 2012 political race to the White House and hearing from politicians that everything they are is what is wrong with society. They are being discriminated against, told that they are less-than, rejected and ostracized by their own families, and being cast out for no other reason than being who they are. The statistics are tragic: 9 out of 10 LGBT students have experienced harassment at school; LGBT teens are bullied 2 to 3 times as much as straight teens; LGBT youth with “highly rejecting” families are 8 times more likely to attempt suicide than those whose families accept them; more than 1/3 of LGBT youth have attempted suicide.
Kids are dying and the most important thing that we can do, that anyone can do, is accept everyone for who they are because that is enough.
When speaking about the It Gets Better special, Dan Savage said:
“The lives of these three young people will resonate with millions of teens–gay and straight–who are being bullied for simply being themselves. It’s so important they know that things get better and that living openly and honestly and being who you are makes it better. They have so many great moments ahead of them and they will do things they never thought possible–so long as they keep fighting, stay positive, and stay with us.”
The It Gets Better special is the second Dan Savage-centric announcement to come from MTV as of late; he will also be seen this spring in Savage U with Lauren Hutchinson, a show that will follow the duo as they travel to college campuses across the country offering a crash course to students on relationships, responsibility, sex, love, and life.