I find the movement, in general, to be very powerful. It feels like a really honest and genuine attempt to create permanent documentation of hope, happiness and perspective; three things that I believe we need to pay more attention to at all stages in our life.
Recently, I’ve heard criticism of the project, namely because it suggests that once you’re no longer a teenager, your life will magically be great and, as well all know, it’s fucking not. I’ve also encountered criticism suggesting that while the project claims to embrace trans kids as one of the targeted groups, they will never be as whole as their cis gendered gay counterparts upon adulthood. This may be true, I do get it, but I refuse to dwell on it. Perhaps this is shitty of me, I don’t know.
I think that the whole “it gets better” idea is a bit of a stretch for everyone; it’s not magic. Time won’t heal all wounds or make your life automatically awesome. I think that growing out of teenage-hood, regardless of your experience in highschool, though, goes a long way to it getting better.
I think the point of the campaign is right – reminding kids that it won’t suck THIS BAD forever. Yes, it will still suck at times. But as adults, we are frequently able to handle it better because we’re not such a hot mess of hormones, newness and inexperience combined with a proscriptive and stifling environment and complete financial dependency on others.
Anyway, so enamoured am I of this Thing, I want to ask all of you, my friends, family and acquaintances to make your own contribution. I don’t think it matters if you’re gay, straight, bi, cis or transgendered, (which seems to – kind of sadly, to me) to be a prerequisite for the official campaign. All that’s required from me is that you felt, at some point, in your youth, that despair was overpowering you and that you might not make it. You HAVE made it. And that’s incredible. Go You.
I know it’s not perfect but I really do like the idea of “it gets better” for all teens, regardless of their trans (or not) experience or sexuality. Being a teenager is especially rough because you have no perspective. It seems like it’s all or nothing. I think it’s great that grown ups want to reach out to them in a really honest way and show examples of how it CAN work.
So what would you write to a kid (any kid, anywhere) who feels that way now? What do you wish they could understand (or if not understand, at least potentially take on faith to get them through that wretched time)?
Dear The Kids:
You think it’s awful right now and it will never get better. Guess what? It doesn’t, but You will.
You will learn that the things that devastate you now are normal. Everyone has something similar. You are not as unique as you believe; because everyone has aspects of themselves that are terrifying and beautiful and bizarre. This will comfort you later and allow you to dance in clubs without being self conscious.
You will learn that people are generally good and want to be loved, even while they’re spewing hate and that the very best offense is to channel Sailor Moon and harness the power of your love and the connections between you and your friends and family.
You will learn that it is okay to be single, fat, transsexual and queer. You will stop asking peoples’ permission for being who you are and you will find them accepting you more often because you’re giving them no excuse not to.
It will not be perfect, it will never be perfect but it will be really, really nice sometimes and you will, overall, believe that this exercise (life) is worth doing.