Kate Bornstein: “It Gets Better”

Kate Bornstein: “It Gets Better”

October 12, 2010

From Josh Fernandez of Temple University’s Temple News, writing about Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” YouTube project in response to the recent number of bullying-related suicides among LGBT teens:

No one can deny the project’s uplifting message: “Hold on. Despite all of the unnecessary pain you’re dealing with as a teenager, it does get better. Live to see that day.”

The message is important, and every tormented teenager, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, ought to hear it from one of nearly 1,000 videos in the project. However, “It Gets Better” cannot account for an unfortunate fact that a few critics of the project have — it can take a while for things to get better, especially if the GLBT individual is really young, and things can often take a turn for the worse.

When I came out, I lost so many friends and fought back and forth with my family until I fell into a depression. I was ripe for the bullying because I appeared vulnerable. It took me years to find and create a support system.

It took five years to eventually see that it does get better. And for many youth in different geographic and social situations, it can take even longer.

[Kate] Bornstein acknowledged this possibility in her own “It Gets Better” video.

“I waited this long to post here because I don’t always think it is going to get better,” Bornstein says in her video for the project. “Sometimes it gets worse, a whole lot worse than I thought it would get worse.”

But those who hang in there and eventually see the light at the end of life’s dark tunnel see that it does get better. I saw it, and so did Bornstein.

“I had to wait until I thought it would [get better]. This is a day I think it’s going to get better. It only took me a week to get to this day, so what do you know?” she says. “It got better!”

The author of Hello Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks and Other Outlaws, Bornstein adds that there were six times she could remember planning out her suicide because of the pain she endured.

“Each time, I managed to find something else to do instead … I found lots of reasons to go on living, lots of ways to make life more worth living, and that’s all I’m asking you do to,” Bornstein adds.

Depressed and suicidal teens – straight, queer, trans, et cetera – are able to see and hear Bornstein and her message, along with the hundreds of other “It Gets Better” contributors who stress one thing: hope.

Even if it takes several years for things to get better, anyone who cannot recognize the hope this project brings is clueless to the fact that we as a society need it more now than ever.

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