It Gets Better*

*Only if WE make it better

Like so many of you, I’ve been devastated by the stories in the news the last several weeks of gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans-gender and questioning young people committing suicide. While the suicides, of course, are not new (how many suicides have happened over the years without it being known that they were a product of bullying and harassment around sexuality?), I’m heartened by the opportunity all of this media attention has provided, and particularly touched by Dan Savage’s “It gets better project.” Here’s a particularly terrific spot from Tim Gunn that illustrates some of what the project is trying to do: Give LGBT young people hope.

As touching as it is, I’d like to respectfully add my asterisk to the project’s title: “It gets better.” It get’s better if WE make it better.

Who’s WE?

You and me, buddy.

Bullies need to stop being bullies, victims need to stop being victims, AND everybody else needs to stand up and scream as loud as can be, “WE’RE NOT GOING TO TOLERATE OUR CHILDREN/ FRIENDS/ SIBLINGS/ CLASSMATES BEING TREATED LIKE SCUM ANYMORE!” And we have to keep screaming until there’s nowhere left where these screams can’t be heard. Bullies bully because they can; victims are left to suffer because we leave them alone in their suffering.

I love Dan Savage and the hundreds of other public figures who are standing out. WE have to get to work, too.

Things don’t just get better for LGBT young people. We have to make them better.