All proceeds from A Summer’s Day: Shakespearean Anthology with a Twist will go to the It Gets Better Project so I asked the the people involved the following question:
If you could say something to the LGBT youth to make them believe that It Gets Better, what would it be?
These are their thoughts.
It’s already getting better, even if it doesn’t feel like it at the moment. Hang in there! These are exciting times. Sure, there’s still prejudice and ignorance we have a long way to go, but the QUILTBAG community is proud and strong and not going away. When I was a young adult, there was no way I could admit I was Bi without getting beat up every day and losing all my friends. And though this still takes place for some teens, the issue is now out in the open and being addressed through community support groups and GSA Clubs in the schools and legislation being passed to keep us safe. As I’ve grown older, I’ve gained a great support group of friends who accept and love me for who I am.
This gives me the confidence to step into the world and be true to myself. Now it’s time to reach out and make the world safe for everyone. It will happen. We’ll make it happen.
I’d say something like, no matter how hard it is, there are people out there, like me and my fellow authors and our friends, who advocate acceptance and equality. Every day the number grows bigger and there will always be someone out there to help you if you hold out your hand and ask. Times are always going to be hard no matter who you are, but nobody has to go through anything alone.
Everything changes. Good and bad; hard and easy; everything. To survive and be happy we need to roll with the flow – make the most of the happy moments to carry us through the sad and bad, and there will ALWAYS be happy moments if you look for them. Moments of joy and inspiration in the unlikeliest of places. Open your eyes and look with an artist’s eyes. See the colours and the tiny little details that give depth and beauty to the world. Then, maybe, you’ll see the beauty in yourself. Above all just hold on. Hold on tight and one day things will change. Keep aware, feel the energies shift, be alert for the opportunity and it WILL come.
The world is changing. That change is slow and long overdue, but it is happening, so be true to yourself and let’s all try to build a brighter future.
Rory Ni Coileain
I’m not sure I have the words for this… it gets better because as you grow in confidence in who you are, you can find your tribe. Your people, the ones who are like you, or who celebrate your differences instead of weaponizing them. Your tribe is out there, believe me. And you’ve already taken the first, biggest step — coming to understand yourself. I was 52 years old before I even heard of asexuality and had a chance to start making sense of all the things in my life that hadn’t made any sense before — I can only wish I’d understood when I was younger.
In recent years we’ve made great strives for equality. Marriage is being accepted in more countries than ever as not limited to being one man and one woman. There are people fighting archaic laws and we will win for everyone. There are people out there who will listen you have a problem and will try to help – reach out we will catch you.
For a start I’d say that when I was born (which was admittedly a while back!) homosexual activity was illegal. The changes which have happened in the 29 years (okay, okay, 58 years) I’ve been alive have been incredible. This couldn’t have happened just a few years ago and, while I appreciate that it’s still not a possibility for everyone, things have got better and will continue to do so as long as enough good people fight to make it work.
The following breakthroughs have been made just in my own lifetime (in the UK):
– Decriminalisation of male homosexuality
– Anti-discrimination laws
– Equalisation of the ages of consent
– Equal marriage
And I’m not dead yet. I can’t wait to see what more is to come!
I would say that I know it seems like it’ll never end, but I’ve BEEN where you are, I’ve been chased, picked on, the whole nine yards, but you kids today are incredibly brave; I didn’t have the Internet to contend with. Find something you love (art, writing, etc.) and make that your shelter. It might seem trite, but it really does get better, and if you shuffle off this mortal coil, you’ll never get the chance to find that out. Don’t let those bullies have power over you.
Phetra H. Novak
Prejudice, bigotry, and hate is everywhere, one will never be free from it completely. Live your life that makes you happy, live a life so that when you look yourself in the mirror you can meet your own gaze and be proud. Treat others like you would like to be treated even if you do not agree with them or even like them. You don’t fight hate with hate you fight hate with kindness, love and a kick ass attitude that push for change not wounds.
It Gets Better because… look around and count the things LGBT community was not able to do 20 years ago, even two years ago. There’s still hostility and prejudice but I see around me more people opening their minds and accepting that everyone should have equal rights. We’ve come this far because we never stopped dreaming and fighting for the right to love. Ultimately love is the only thing worth fighting for so don’t give up. Be proud, walk with your head up high and never give up!
M LeAnne Phoenix
How do I know it gets better? It’s hard to explain and yet, it’s not. It’s definitely not what you’re expecting. People have always told me it can only get better if you keep breathing. For their part, it’s the truth. It’s easy to say, not so easy to keep doing. Sure, if you’re breathing, you have options. You get to experience life in all its ugliness and beauty… but you have to keep fighting to do it. Now, I’m not going to lie: some of the time, it’s the hardest damn thing to do. I mean, it’s going to make you feel like you’re broken some days, while others are going to seem like a day at the park, and as LGBTQ+ people, we’re considered “at risk,” which means we have a higher chance at losing the fight.
So I’m going to state for the record that losing is not an option… because in fighting for our lives, there IS beauty. There IS art. There IS life… and when I think I’ve lost, when I think there’s no reason, when I think there’s nothing left and all my demons are standing over me laughing at the weak little girl crying her eyes out, I remember there’s more left.
I fashioned my own weapons to fight in this war, and each day I bring them out onto a new battle ground, into a new skirmish in the fight for me. Each day, I must CHOOSE to win. Each day, I ask myself if I’m still going to fight or if I’m too tired to keep up the fight. When I draw my weapons, and I feel a burn that tells me life’s still out there waiting, I remember again.
How do I know it gets better? I remember I’m not alone. We are NEVER alone. We have a family, one of our own making, and they are waiting for us in so many places, waiting to give us help. All you have to do is put on your armor, find what makes you fight and weapon up! While we’re fighting, and while it feels like we’re solo, we’re not. Look around you at the army behind you–that’s made up of your friends, your family, the ones like you. The reason they fight is for you… and for us. Our story… it ain’t over yet.
We’re still here.
It gets better… because we’re still here.
I promise. You’re the hero of your story, and you’re my hero. I’ll keep fighting you for you, and me for you, too, but you gotta promise me that you’ll always keep fighting, too.
It is such an easy thing to say, ‘it gets better’, but we say it so freely that it has (almost) become meaningless. So, let’s try to give some meaning back to it.
When I say ‘it gets better’ to anyone, I really mean that things (whatever they may be) will improve over time. The loss of a loved one, the lack of support from family, being bullied at school; with the passing of time it will all change.
First of all, you grow older. That means you will leave school eventually and go to college or university or even work. There, everything changes. But, it also means that you as a person evolve and the things that once bothered you don’t seem so important anymore.
Secondly, you have no say in regards to the family you are born into. You have, however, complete control over the people you surround yourself with. Choose your friends carefully; they will be able to pull you through the worst of times and remind you of the best of times.
Thirdly, losing a loved one can feel like the whole world has come to a grinding halt. Losing my father when I was fourteen, I didn’t cry for the first six months. And then, suddenly, I did; for days on end. That is now twenty-five years ago.
Not having the support of your family can feel similar to losing a loved one. And the pain is much the same. I am not going to tell you that ‘time heals all wounds’. It doesn’t, but you learn to live with the loss. And there will come a day when you realise that it doesn’t hurt as much as it used to do.
If your family doesn’t support you, or even tries to tell you that you are ‘wrong’, please know that there are people out here who care on their behalf. People who might never have met you, but who care about you and who root for you against all odds. Reach out to them, if you can, and let them encompass you. You matter, regardless of what anyone else might say.
By getting a copy or just spreading the word, you’re giving hope to the LGBT youth for a better future. One in which everywhere around the world, during all seasons, everyone will be able to go hand in hand with the person they love.