I love the work that they have been doing over at ItGetsBetter.org. The idea was truly inspired, and I am sure has made a difference in the lives of countless GLBTQ young people. It’s been a concern of mine for some time though why more of us are not doing partner projects along the same lines. I mean when you think about it, it’s one thing to tell a teen, “Hang on. It gets better.” But it’s something else, the next important step maybe to say, “Hey, let’s make it better starting right now. There is a safe place for you to come to, someone you can talk with, someone who will help you find the resources and safety and help that you need right now.”
Don’t misunderstand me. I am not in any way meaning to slight the It Get’s Better organization. They have gone the next step themselves with their pledge and their Action Center, some practical resources to help people now. What I’m concerned about is why this hasn’t spawned a ton of copy cat sites and projects. Or if it has, why have I missed out on it? And why the hell haven’t I been involved? I made a video two years ago on YouTube called “Why I Did Wear Purple.” It was in response to a well meaning, but misguided Christian teen’s video called “Why I Didn’t Wear Purple.” I wasn’t expecting the many thousands of hits or the long conversations in the comments, both supportive and oppositional, so I suppose that was something. I’ve since taken it down at the boy’s request. He contacted me recently and said that he’s done some growing up, that his views have evolved and that he’d like to leave that chapter behind him. So we both took down our videos. I think I will post parts of it again, but without links to the original. It gives one hope that people can grow and change, especially if you meet them early.
This is why I was so excited by the project my friend Ann Keeler Evans started recently. She’s the minister at our local Unitarian Universalist congregation where my partner and I have occaisionally attended. You may remember that I recently gave a poetry reading for them at the historic Priestly Chapel. And he just loves playing their piano! Now, I know I have a lot of agnostic and atheist readers. I myself have been quite dodgy about letting myself be pinned down, but let’s just say that there are few mainstream churches that would have me. I was studying for the ministry a hundred years ago, but these days have evolved into something of an Existentialist who is concerned that most religion has a way of removing a great deal of personal responsibility from the human equation. What I like about Ann’s church is that they are not too concerned about the fact that my main belief is in the importance of human kindness and peace. In fact as long as you believe that, it doesn’t matter if you are an atheist, pantheist or a cubist! You are welcome there.
So back to Ann’s project. I cried. I did. Had this video been around in my teen years? Well, had there been an internet then! For me though I probably still would not have been ready until my twenties. I was so deeply in, not the closet so much as denial. I think I had to experience what I did, and I’m so glad I had my children, and now have their mother as a dear friend. But there are so many GLBTQ teens that are so bullied and depressed that they never make it that far. And others that do, lacking a supportive family and network of friends go through years of silent suffering, just waiting for it to “get better.” Why let them wait?
Whatever you believe, why not think of doing something like this in your community? Or if you live near us in Central Pennsylvania, why not join in the effort here, to give kids, young people of all sorts a safe place? Please watch the video, go to Ann’s Sacred Village page, or join her on Facebook/Sacred Village. In her words, “You are so welcome here.” Let’s spread that word, not only that it does get better, but that we want to help make it better, starting now: You are so welcome here.
- River of Grass Unitarian Universalist Congregation welcomes LGBT people to its new home in Davie (miamiherald.typepad.com)
- Universalist Unitarian Leader on Protesting The 2012 RNC (5min.com)
- Making your own YouTube channel (teachinghighschoolpsychology.blogspot.com)
- YouTube Updates Platform For Social Good (podiumventures.com)
- Next Generation’s Struggle (erikhare.wordpress.com)