It does get better. It’s true, it does and I know. I remember being bullied at school for not having the Somerset accent that everyone else had and for being ‘different’. I didn’t know for sure then but when I look back I guess I did know I was gay at a fairly young age and clearly this made me a target with the lads at school. It was horrible, I hated it but luckily for me I did think it would get better… and it did. I’m now happily living with my partner in Spain and have the support of family, friends and even here at H&K who encourage a diverse workforce and a implement a robust policy on harassment based on your sexual orientation.
So it has been heart-warming to see so many amazing videos being posted as part of the It Gets Better campaign on social media networks such as Facebook and YouTube from people in authority trying to instil a air of calm and refection during a time of deep soul searching in the USA with regard to how it views its youth as they grow and find out about themselves and where they fit in society. From the moment the news broke of Tyler Clementi terrible suicide in the United States following his horrific ‘outing’ by fellow students the issues facing young people, not only in the US but all over the globe has been highlighted in quite startling clarity.
Raymond Chase (19yrs old), Asher Brown (13yrs old), Billy Lucas (15yrs old) and Seth Walsh (13yrs old) all took their own lives due to not being able to cope with the pressures of growing up in a society that does not appear to protect and support their own. They ALL should still be alive today growing and contributing to society and with the love and protection of their friends and family.
I was lucky I guess, I knew it would get better. It was tough, but it did. My advice to all of those who might see this who are feeling terrible, exposed and frightened is that you should watch these videos. Take strength from them and ask for support. I wish this campaign huge success and would love to see it becoming more global as these issues are not exclusive to the USA. For those of you worried or seeking help and support in the UK I would suggest you call the London Lesbian & Gay Switchboard on 020 7837 7324. Below are a few of the videos I found powerful, moving and worthy of being mentioned. Oh and mine!
Joel Burns – Fort Worth City Councilman reaches out to GLBT teens with a personal story and a message of hope. For more information, or to stand with Joel today, go to http://www.joelburns.com It’s a bit long but well worth watching to the end!
A fantastic video by Google employees in California telling their stories
President Barack Obama shares his message of hope and support for LGBT youth who are struggling with being bullied.
… and me, doing my small bit to let kids out there know that however tough it seems right now. It does get better!