It Gets BetterOctober 06, 2010
Imagine being in a state of mind where you believe that you don't deserve to be on this planet. Imagine waking up every day to a life of hatred. Imagine being bullied and forced to think that you're a sick form of the human kind. Imagine all of this happening to you because you're...well...you.
The 'It Gets Better' project has been started to help and give loving advice to all gay teenagers with an overall message that life DOES get better. There has been story after story recently about teenagers committing suicide because of all the nasty vicious bullying they endure every day for just being who they are. The main story is of Tyler Clementi who jumped to his death from a New York bridge after his 'friend' filmed him having gay sex and broadcasted it live for everyone to see. This devastatingly sickening story was the kick start for a number of gay adults, including celebrities, uploading videos to give advice. "Hearing about these kids that have committed suicide, the reaction as a gay adult is always, 'God,I wish I could have talked to them for fifteen minutes or five minutes and told them it gets better.'" said Dan Savage, campaigner for the 'It Gets Better' project.
But why is this happening? Just because some are different from others people think it's acceptable to hurl abuse at them? Call them names and make their lives a misery because they're brave enough to stand up and say "Yeah. I am gay. And what?"? People are KILLING THEMSELVES because they honestly think that they're life is not worth living. And these people need to realise that deleting yourself from your family, your friends and your future is NOT going to make things better.
I'm well known on twitter for my shit 'gaydar'. If I had a pound for every time someone said "OH LOUISE!" to me I'd be rich. But do you know what? I'm GLAD that I have a shit gaydar. Because I can't tell the difference between gay and straight people. Because there IS no difference! There's as much difference with me liking Storm from X Factor and others hating him as there is with gay's liking the same sex. It's a preference. Nothing else. Last week I found out that Simon Amstell was gay. I love Simon Amstell! Has it made me think any less of him? Course it bloody hasn't.
My friend Tom is gay and he, like many others, had a really bad time dealing with the aftermath of coming out. This is his story...
"I'd always known I was gay. Most people say to me 'How can you know you're gay when you're a child?' but you just know. I was attracted to boys not girls. It was quite easy dealing with it until about the age of 11/12, but then I started to 'grow'. Then it got hard. I couldn't just mask over the fact I was gay, I had no choice but to act, you know, camp! It was natural. And I kept trying to convince myself that it was okay to be myself. I told my best friend Jenny when I was 13, in Year 9. At first I kept joking about it, saying 'Hey I'm gay...kidding!' but then after a while I plucked up to courage to say 'I'm really not kidding, I am.' and whilst preparing myself to maybe lose my best friend out of embarrassment, I learned that she was totally fine with it. So after a while I gradually started telling more people and it got quite easy to come out. When I told my family a year later they understood and were fine too, which was such a weight off my shoulders as I seriously thought they would disown me. But my mum even told me that she already knew years ago! My dad didn't take it that well at first. He was upset that I wouldn't have kids but after some explaining that I do actually want kids of my own somehow, he started to accept it.
Being gay makes life a whole lot worse. But after you've been taking the hate for a few years, you learn to live with all the shit and build a barrier against it. People say all the pink hair, brightly coloured nails and make up is just for attention, but it just feels right and I feel so much more confident with it. I just wish people would realise that being gay isn't a choice. Because if it was, why would I choose a life of horrible remarks and violence for myself?
I tried to commit suicide more than once. I have slash marks on my arms and there didn't use to be a day go by where I didn't think of other ways to just stop the hate. If people hated me that much, then surely it would make everyone's lives better if I just went? But that's just not the case AT ALL. Everyone was put on this Earth for a purpose, you never know what's around the corner for you, and how are you ever going to find out what was meant for you if you end it? At the age of 16 my depression receded and I finally started to fully accept myself for who I am, and others did too. I realised that there would always be some people who would hate it but it started to dawn on people that it was fine for people to be gay.
The best advice I could give anyone going through shit for being gay is to just be yourself. Don't worry about it. People will always shout and call you names but you inside you just know that it feels right. I have so much fun and happiness in my life now that you can't see being gay as a curse, but as a gift. Don't listen to all the crap. Rise above it and always remember that you are YOU. Not them. And if they don't like it then they can do one. Don't hide the fact that you're gay. Find a friend to talk with about it, or even a gay friend that you can really share your feelings with. It's always nice to chat and open up, it makes you feel so much better. Because it does get better."
Tom is the one of bravest people I know. I've seen the shit he's gone through with my own eyes, but seeing him accepted with tons of friends is amazing. Seeing him laughing and gossiping makes me feel like there's hope for everyone. It got better for him. So it will get better for you.
How will you ever know what's round the corner? X