It Gets Better

Image Map

Many people, many videos, one story

Wow a year went by fast… This post on Moby’s blog reminded me about National Coming Out Day.  The Trevor Project focuses on teenagers who are struggling with their sexual orientation. Dan Savage, a Seattle newspaper columnist, launched a campaign called “It Gets Better” were adults could contribute a video to YouTube explaining their journey as a teenager through to adulthood. The It Gets Better project was started after a rash of teenage suicides happened in 2010. Many teenagers don’t feel they have the resources to come out and many suffer in silence. The it gets better project allows teenagers to see people from all over share their story.

It Gets Better wasn’t just for teenagers though. As I was walking through my journey in my 30s, this project was invaluable for me understanding the diversity of the gay community. After many years at Exodus International, I really wanted to understand who and what the gay community was. I never thought I would receive so much from corporate America. Many companies both in the Silicon Valley and across the world had groups of employees contribute videos sharing their stories with the world. Of course you’d see the Apples,  the Facebooks,  and other progressive companies. But I also found videos from places I didn’t expect: Cummins  who made big diesel engines,  The Salt Lake City Public Library,  Georgia Tech,  The University of Alabama,  and others.  Adobe, a company close to my past, had a video where I recognize the number of people.

But the project goes beyond companies. Thousands of individuals have shared their story with the world it’s impressive to see so many share their lives, their hearts, and their wisdom in a collective fashion out on the web. The image above has links to the few of videos I found particularly inspirational in my journey.

I came out later in life and couldn’t imagine taking that step as a teenager.  For those who come out as teenagers, you have my respect.  The thing is, we can all make it easier for those behind us. We’re the world our kids grow up in. We’re the ones who will be listening to the younger generation as they share themselves with us. It’s our ear, our counsel, and our direction that will have lasting impacts in that kid’s life.

I don’t think will ever understand the impact we have on the world around us. I’d encourage you to do two things after reading this blog. If there’s someone who has had a critical impact in your life, take the time to tell them.  Let them know how much they mean to you. Secondly, if you find yourself in a place where someone reaches out to you remember that your next step will likely have lasting impact in that person’s life.

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