In light of the recent media coverage of suicides by gay teenagers, Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” project has made the headlines and become very popular. Through the project, many LGBT people have stepped up and created videos, talking to LGBT youth about how their lives improved after bullying as youth. But the “It Gets Better” project isn’t the only campaign created to help prevent LGBT youth suicides.
The Love is Louder campaign, created to send the message that love is louder than hate, was launched by MTV, Brittany Snow, and the Jed Foundation. Celebrity videos — by celebrities including Pink, Snooki and J-Woww, Colton Haynes, and Kellan Lutz — attempt to give encouragement and hope to young people who are contemplating suicide.
Snow hopes that the campaign will offer people a way to show support and gather to help prevent suicide.
According to Snow: “Love Is Louder is a movement that is hopefully going to bring some awareness and make some noise when it comes to teens who are feeling suicidal or even just sad, outcasts, and being bullied, and really feel like they have nowhere to turn to. It’s a place where people who have been through it can support them and share their stories, [so they will know] that they’re not alone, and that there’s a place for people to put their experiences and hope.”
Snow’s message may be a more useful way to reach out to LGBT youth than the “It Gets Better” project. The “It Gets Better” project has recently received some strong criticism, including this piece on The Bilerico Project that questioned the campaign’s meta-narrative that things get better for all gay people after high school. Life does not always get better for LGBT people — many are still harassed and bullied as adults. People can still be denied housing or employment because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. While life does get better for many LGBT people, it’s certainly no guarantee.
In contrast, Snow’s message can apply to everyone. Despite all the anti-gay sentiments in the world, there is a lot of gay-supportive stuff going on, too. Suicidal youth shouldn’t just hear the message from a homophobic classmate bullying them. They should also hear a message from all of the people who don’t care about their sexual orientation or gender identity and support them and believe in them.
Another alternative is the Make It Better Project, a project dedicated to helping give LGBT youth the tools necessary to make their schools safer and improve their lives.
Hopefully, the recent outpouring of support for LGBT teenagers will prevent future suicides. While each campaign has its own separate focus, they all have the same end goal — to prevent tragedies and keep LGBT youth alive. And that should be an issue that all of us can find common ground on, regardless of our religious or political beliefs.
Photo credit: Love is Louder