It Gets Better. My $500 Pledge Has Now Grown to $775!
Today I will not have my usual WTFckery Sunday post, but instead I feel the need to bring to light a very sad and heartbreaking epidemic that has swept the nation this week. This is in regards to bullying and the consequences that the victim of a bully will do to themselves, as a final last resort because they can no longer take the pain and suffering due to the heartless and cruel acts people have done to them in return.
The last straw for most of these victims is suicide. This is with the recent suicide deaths of young gay teens who feel they have no other choice but to take their lives because those who have bullied them have driven them to it.
The cases reported this week are tragic:
15-year-old Billy Lucas hanged at his grandmother’s house himself because of being tormented for years due to his possible sexual orientation.
13-year-old Asher Brown shot himself in the head with his stepfather’s 9mm Beretta after constant harassment during an 18 month period from students at his middle school because Asher was gay.
13-year-old gay teen Seth Walsh hung himself because he could no longer deal with the bullying.
Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old Rutgers University student jumped off the George Washington Bridge to his death after he found out that his roommate allegedly filmed him twice during a gay sexual encounter and transmitted it online.
My heart breaks for these young men, who because of the selfish and petty actions of others, ended their lives because they thought it couldn’t get better, and that they believed they will always be the victims of small minded people, who lash out because of their own self-esteem issues and fears over someone being different.
I’m here to tell you that it does get better. I’m living proof of this. I’m a survivor of bullying. My bullying started when I was 6 years-old. I wasn’t bullied because of my sexual orientation, but because others thought I was awkward looking and found a reason not to like me period, I was spit on, told I was stupid, ugly, fat and no one wanted to be my friend. At 9-years-old I was forced into a school bathroom and almost raped by an older boy who bullied me every day. It escalated to the point that by the time I was 12, I was told by more than one person that it would be better if I kill myself because no one cared if I was alive.
I took those words to heart and almost killed myself twice. The first time was almost walking into traffic and hoping a car will hit me and kill me. The second time, which I have never mentioned until now, was when I took a knife from my kitchen drawer, went up to my bedroom while my parents were downstairs, sat on my bed and placed the knife against my wrist. I sat there with tears rolling down my cheeks, ready to slit my wrists because the bullying grew so bad. I sat there with a million thoughts running through my head. How much will it hurt? How long will it take me to die? Will my mother ever forgive me after I’m gone because of the bloodstains on the sheets? I kept thinking, I’m only 12, it has to get better… it has to get better… it must get better.
I then lay back on my bed and thought of all the things I wanted to do that I wouldn’t be able to do it I killed myself. I thought about my parents and my sister who did love me and wouldn’t want me to do this. If I killed myself, I wouldn’t be able to learn to drive a car, go to college, see the world, write a book and go back to Disney World a second time. And that one phrase, “it will get better” repeated my head. With that in mind, I put down the knife and decided I wanted to live. I refused to be a victim to those small minded people. My revenge against my abusers would be to live a full life. If it pained and disgusted them for me to be alive and for them to see me, so be it. I had won against my abusers simply by living and them having to see me every day. It took me a very long time to be comfortable in my own skin and to be proud of the person I am. But this is who I am, and no one ever again will make me think less of myself.
The first two decades of our lives should be the most amazing ones we will ever live. A child, who then becomes a teen should not have to go through such abuse. Those years are supposed to be the happiest of our lives.
Suicide is not the answer. Those who bully will feel no remorse over their victims taking their own lives. Suicide isn’t a cure. Ending your life isn’t the answer. Living your life on your own terms and loving who you want and in your own way is the answer. There will always be small-minded people, as well as bullies in this world, but the way to combat them is to not feel worthless. Even though you feel you are all alone and no one will understand, I’m here to tell you that there are people who do care will stand beside you regardless of who you are, what you look like, and who you love.
“I wish I could have talked to this kid for five minutes. I wish I could have told Billy that it gets better. I wish I could have told him that, however bad things were, however isolated and alone he was, it gets better.
But gay adults aren’t allowed to talk to these kids. Schools and churches don’t bring us in to talk to teenagers who are being bullied. Many of these kids have homophobic parents who believe that they can prevent their gay children from growing up to be gay—or from ever coming out—by depriving them of information, resources, and positive role models.
Why are we waiting for permission to talk to these kids? We have the ability to talk directly to them right now. We don’t have to wait for permission to let them know that it gets better. We can reach these kids.
So here’s what you can do, GBVWS: Make a video. Tell them it gets better.
I’ve launched a channel on YouTube—www .youtube.com/itgetsbetterproject—to host these videos. My normally camera-shy husband and I already posted one. We both went to Christian schools and we were both bullied—he had it a lot worse than I did—and we are living proof that it gets better. We don’t dwell too much on the past. Instead, we talk mostly about all the meaningful things in our lives now—our families, our friends (gay and straight), the places we’ve gone and things we’ve experienced—that we would’ve missed out on if we’d killed ourselves then.
“You gotta give ’em hope,” Harvey Milk said.
Today we have the power to give these kids hope. We have the tools to reach out to them and tell our stories and let them know that it does get better. Online support groups are great, GLSEN does amazing work, The Trevor Project is invaluable. But many LGBT youth can’t picture what their lives might be like as openly gay adults. They can’t imagine a future for themselves. So let’s show them what our lives are like, let’s show them what the future may hold in store for them.
~Give ‘Em Hope, Dan Savage”
I want to do my part not only for the “It’s Get Better” initiative, but to bring to light that bullying in any form is despicable and sickening, especially against those teens who are trying to come to terms with their sexual orientation in some places where being gay, unique and wonderfully eccentric is frowned upon and thought evil.
For every comment left here, I will donate a dollar a comment up to $500.
**Author Carrie Lofty will donate $50 on top of my donation to The Trevor Project**
**M/M author Alex Beecroft will donate $100 on top of my donation**
**Author Leah Braemel will denote $25 on top of my donation**
500 comments = $775
$250 will go to The Trevor Project, “the leading national organization focused on crisis and suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.”
$250 will go to the Matthew Shepard Foundation was founded by Dennis and Judy Shepard in memory of their 21-year old son, Matthew, who was murdered in an anti-gay hate crime in Wyoming in October 1998. Their mission is to “educate and enlighten others on the importance of diversity, understanding, compassion, acceptance and respect.”
Please help me reach my goal. I would love to be able to send out these checks by the end of the month.You can simply comment with a greeting, or tell your own story as a survivor of bullying, or knowing others who have bee bullied.
And by putting down that knife and not cutting my wrists I was able to learn to drive a car, go to college, see the world, went onto to not only write a book, but to publish five in total so far.
And not only did I go back to Disney World twice, but a third time, almost ten years to the day I decided to live and where IT DID GET BETTER!
Dan Savage and his husband’s video on how it got better for them:
Mandi from Smexybooks has decided to donated $50 on her own to The Trevor Project.
J.P Barnaby, author of the GLBT YA book Enlightened (Little Boy Lost series #1) , will donate half of her royalities for the month October to The Trevor Project.
Fiction Vixen has decided to donate $50 on her own to The Trevor Project.
AuthorLila DiPasqua has decided to donate $40 on her own to The Trevor Project.