Today is National Coming Out Day, an event founded in 1988 to bring attention to LGBT issues and to foster a sense of community among gay people by celebrating the act of coming out. In the years since then, we’ve made incredible progress. While the pace may sometimes seem unbearably slow, the world is a much better place to be gay than it was in 1988, the year Coming Out Day was founded, and the year I realized that I was gay.
But despite the progress, growing up gay is still an incredibly difficult thing to do. The feelings of isolation and persecution attached to being a gay kid are pretty terrible, and no one delivers the abuse better than one’s peers. Even in this more progressive new century, gay kids are being bullied to the point of taking their own lives, in heartbreaking numbers. And so Dan Savage did something about it: he started the It Gets Better Project, a place for gay people to share their stories and to say what we wish we could have said to the gay kids who have ended their lives: that it does get better. Every person, gay or straight, holds the potential for a happy life.
We are the kids who have been bullied for being gay, lesbian, bi or trans. We pledge to stay open and strong. We are also the friends, family members, teachers, mentors, and allies of anyone who’s ever felt like they didn’t fit in, gay or straight. We pledge to talk to the kids in our lives to put an end to the hate, violence, and tragedy — and to offer advice on coping, strategies to make it better, and to remind kids that It Gets Better.
I’m an extremely private person, and so while I hate talking about personal life, and really hate talking on camera, I’ve added my voice to the site. My life is living proof that no matter how terrifying growing up gay can be, it does get better; that life is so much more than the adversity you might face growing up. So, here are my thoughts on the matter.