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It Gets Better

IT DEFINITELY GOT BETTER – 5 Years on …

Acceptance-Quotes dot netFive years ago, the “It Gets Better” campaign began.

It was the hope that the many voices around the world, would bring hope and strength to young people who were, at that time, suffering from bullies and negative attitudes.

The other night, a friend of mine, put up a video on the fifth year anniversary of his original video talking about just where he is right now, five years later. His message:

IT DEFINITELY GOT BETTER !!!

This blog has been the center of my life, for many years, and where we are today as a community is a result of all the work I have done for the past five years and more.

So much has changed in the last five years, that it would take me hours of going through past posts to give you an idea of just what happened.

I was 42 when It Gets Better began. I was beginning to figure out that wisdom was beginning to come and that has only deepened over the years. I am 47 today. I would not have changed anything about the journey.

In the gay world, the youngsters tend to think us old fogies are now, “Over the hill” and could not “possibly still be relevant.”

I assure you that I am not over the hill, nor irrelevant.

I have a history and a story that needs to be remembered and shared, because young people of today’s generation have no idea what it was like just twenty years ago. Because that is when the story really starts.

As Dickens writes: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

Things were pretty bad and they really needed to get better.

And in the end it took twenty years for that to come to fruition.

The dawn of social media bright all kinds of trouble with it. Insulated kids who were alone and at home after school, now had the tools to reach out to their peers and the rest of the world. That was not necessarily a good thing. Because we all know what happened.

Social Media brought the instantaneous attack to the fore.

You didn’t have to wait to have conversation locally, thoughts and feelings went global, like wildfire, overnight. And young people, like their adult counterparts were fair game.

Then we saw the ugly side of humanity enter the picture and teens began to kill themselves because of haters and internet trolls. For them it was not good, and it needed to get better.

I am here to tell my young readers that It Does Get Better.

You just have to hang on and walk forwards. Believe in us. Some of us have seen life get very ugly, we have seen human beings get very ugly (without the aid of social media) to begin with.

Suicide is Never an option. Your Life Matters. Every one of you matter. Even if you can’t imagine what that means on a greater scale, but you do.

All you need to do is page back and read. The history of what it was like, what happened and what it is like is here for you to study and learn from.

In just the last calendar year, life has changed so much.

Having all that we need, and being satisfied with that is no small accomplishment.

All you need to have is someone in your corner rooting for you. Someone who speaks kindness to you and supports you. If you can’t find that at home, find it here with all of us. Amid all the ugly internet assholes, there are genuine people who care about you and all we want is for your happiness and survival.

You’ve come so far and you have your whole life ahead of you.

Life is about the Journey, not the destination.

Just keep walking. Believing. Trusting.

We are out here.

You are never alone.

It Does Get Better.


It Gets Better …

Found on: Inch at a Time – Susan Russell – I can’t post the video but if you click on the hotlink – you can go watch the message.

It’s called the “It Gets Better” project and it’s a YouTube based campaign in support of youth facing homophobic bullying, harassment and thoughts of suicide. Saturday I got this email:

Faith voices – clergy in particular – are strongly encouraged to get involved in this campaign to illustrate the love that is available to the LGBTQ teens from the affirming religious community.

And so on Sunday I recorded this message — which is still finding its way to YouTube: (stay tuned for “film at eleven” — and do consider adding your voice to this important “cloud of witnesses!”))

I’m the Reverend Susan Russell, a priest and pastor from Pasadena, California and I’m here to tell you that “It gets better.“

There are lots of voices out there right now bringing that same message and if you are a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning teen I hope you are hearing them and I hope you know that no matter how alone you might feel, you are NOT alone and there is a community that wants to support you in the tough times and celebrate with you in the good times.

And as a priest and pastor I want you to know that anybody who tells you that God condemns you is wrong.

And if anybody says to you “But the Bible says …” I want you to remember this: God gave us the Bible as a tool for us to live our lives — not as a weapon to beat up other people – and history is full of people who were wrong about what the Bible says … using it to support slavery, to oppress women and to condemn Galileo for discovering that the earth revolved around the sun instead other way around.

And it turns out that the same people who were wrong about what the Bible said about slavery, about women’s equality and about astronomy are wrong about what the Bible says about homosexuality.

Jesus said love your neighbor – not love you neighbor unless your neighbor is gay.

Homosexuality doesn’t grieve the heart of God – homophobia does. Bullying does. Violence against any beloved child of God does.

And you are a beloved child of God. Created in God’s image exactly as God intended you to be.
God who doesn’t just want your life to get better – God wants your life to get fabulous. And I didn’t always know that.

Growing up trying to figure out who I was supposed to be and what I was supposed to do wasn’t easy and I didn’t always get it right. But it got better. And now I’m married to a wonderful woman who is the love of my life, I am a priest and pastor in an amazing church and my life didn’t just get better — it got fabulous. And so can yours.

If you need help believing that, reach out. To the Trevor Project. To a Believe Out Loud church. To my church — All Saints Church in Pasadena. And remember that God loves you beyond your wildest imaginings and wants you to be exactly who God created you to be.

Believe that promise. Know that God loves you and we are here for you – and grow up to be the best “you” you can be. It DOES get better! God bless!