Social Media: It Gets Better Project and Lady Gaga on DADT

I’m so inspired by recent social media projects that are raising awareness and mobilizing people to create their OWN media to change the world and save lives.

Through a youtube video Lady Gaga asked her fans to call their senators and urge them to repeal the US Military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) policy. Thousands responded by calling their senators, filming their phone conversations and uploading their videos to youtube.

Columnist Dan Savage started a youtube channel called “It Gets Better” in response to the recent tragic loss of 15 year old Billy Lucas of Indiana, who was bullied for being gay and committed suicide this September.  Later this month, this tragedy reoccurred with thirteen year olds in California and Texas who struggled with anti-gay bullying.

The “It Gets Better” project asks LGBTQ individuals to upload a testimonial of encouragement to young people who desperately need to hear that the isolation, harassment and pain will not last– that things will get better.

Hopefully this will inspire communities and stakeholders– including school administrators and parents– to take the bullying of LGBTQ youth more seriously and protect our children.

Dan writes:

“Billy Lucas was just 15 when he hanged himself in a barn on his grandmother’s property. He reportedly endured intense bullying at the hands of his classmates—classmates who called him a fag and told him to kill himself. His mother found his body…. 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.”

Read Dan’s entire column here .

You can watch testimonials from people across the country on the It Gets Better youtube page.

Young poets are speaking up about this too. Check out “Switch” a spoken word piece performed by NYC’s Urban Word in 2009 at Brave New Voices.

About Nuala Cabral

Nuala Cabral is an educator, activist, filmmaker and co-founder of FAAN Mail, a media literacy and activist project based in Philadelphia.
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