These are the promises of participants in the It Gets Better Project, founded by advice columnist Dan Savage. In September 2010, following a rash of suicides by gay teens bullied by their peers, Savage created a YouTube channel to offer hope to those in similar situations.
The goal was to showcase the positive and fulfilling lives led by Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender/Queer adults, and to give LGBTQ young people something to hold on to when they saw only misery in their futures. Savage encouraged adult members of the queer community to upload their own videos describing how life “got better” for them after high school.
The response was enormous. Savage received 3,000 emails about the project in its first 24 hours. Over 200 videos were uploaded in the first week, and the limit of 650 videos for a single YouTube channel was reached a week after that. Savage set up a website to help direct users to the many new videos being uploaded every day to other channels.
Though the star power helped bring visibility to the campaign, Savage emphasized a focus on average, everyday LGBTQ adults. He wanted to show kids that you don’t have to be rich and famous to be happy and find love, whatever form of love that may be.
"It Gets Better" is a good message for all bullied teenagers, no matter the reason for being bullied.
Online buzz spiked when news of American Idol contestant Adam Lambert’s contribution to the project hit Twitter. A GLAAD campaign to “wear purple”on October 20 to raise awareness of anti-gay bullying gained traction on Facebook and Twitter.
Some participants even reported wearing purple despite not knowing the reason why – they simply saw it in their feeds and wanted to fit in with their friends (who quickly told them about the campaign).
The power of social media over behavior can be staggering.