As a LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, intersexed)[i] young person, have you ever had such a hard day, or week, or year that you thought things couldnâ€™t possibly look up? Ever been in a hole and rather than wanting to climb out, you wanted someone to shovel the dirt in?
The â€˜It Gets Betterâ€™ Project was created to show young LGBTI people the levels of happiness, potential and positivity their lives will reach, if they can make it through their teenage years. The project is focused on reminding young people that things can and will get better. I really hope that after seeing some of the videos on the website, youâ€™ll feel less alone and more able to push through and keep going!
The Project began in 2010 in response to a number of young people taking their lives following bullying in schools. Did you know that LGBTI young people attempt suicide at rates between 3.5 and 14 times those of their heterosexual peers?[ii] This can result from feelings of isolation, rejection by family and friends, harassment and bullying, feelings of self-loathing and shame (due to bullying, marginalisation). A recent Aussie study shows that school remains the most common place of homophobic abuse, with 80% of young people who were abused naming school as the place where it happened.[iii] Want to take a stand against homophobic bullying in schools? Hopefully our Irish friends will inspire you to â€˜stand upâ€™:
For some young people, it doesnâ€™t just â€˜get betterâ€™ – but they should know that with the support of LGBTI friends they are not alone! Check out this cool video by the awesome peeps over at Twenty10[iv] in NSW:
People from all across the world can submit video messages to affirm that â€˜It Gets Betterâ€™, and millions of people can receive the love and support they need, or get more info about how to support a LGBTI friend. Yay! You can also check out the Freedom Centre website (a peer support service for LGBTIQ young peeps in W.A). For even more awesomeness, sign up for their online forum AND follow their tumblr: fcyeah.tumblr.com. All the support!
The â€˜It Gets Betterâ€™ Project hosts messages from people such as Barack Obama, Ke$ha, Sia and the cast of Glee. The messages are also really helpful to all young people, not just those that are LGBTI. As a young person who deals with lifeâ€™s swings and roundabouts, itâ€™s comforting to know that other people in the world have taken the time to share a message of hope for my future. You can find out more about the Project at It Gets Better or check out the freshly-launched Australian community at igba.org.au!
Also, while youâ€™re on a video-watching/website-visiting roll, check out This Is Oz at thisisoz.com.au. Itâ€™s an online photo gallery where people can help fight discrimination against Australiaâ€™s LGBTI community. Part art project, part human rights campaign, This Is Oz is all about making Australia a place where everyone belongs.
My favourite post that Iâ€™ve seen so far was created by presenters and musicians that feature on Triple J radio. Have a look here:
The It Gets Better Project encourages visitors to make a pledge. I did, and you can too!
â€œEveryone deserves to be respected for who they are. I pledge to spread this message to my friends, family and neighbors. I’ll speak up against hate and intolerance whenever I see it, at school and at work. I’ll provide hope for lesbian, gay, bi, trans and other bullied teens by letting them know that “It Gets Better.”
And of course right here on Tune In Not Out you can find more information about sexuality including factsheets and videos,
And my parting words to you today come in the form of music, so enjoy!
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[i] Check out what all the terms LGBTI mean here: http://www.freedom.org.au/Glossary/Glossary/menu-id-63.html