Working to Prevent Suicide Among LGBT Youth
If you’ve been paying any attention to issues concerning the LGBT community over the past few years, you probably are already aware that sexual and gender minority youth are at a higher risk of suicide than their straight and cisgendered* counterparts. In fact, LGB youth are nearly one and a half to three times more likely to report thinking about suicide, and up to seven times more likely than non-LGB youth to have reported attempting suicide. The statistics are even more dire for transgender individuals. Nearly 41% of trans people in the US report that they have attempted suicide at least once.
Activist, writer, and sex educator Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” project has been one of the most public and viral efforts to address the feelings of hopelessness and isolation that push many young queer people to consider suicide. What started as a simple message of hope from Dan and his partner Terry has blossomed into a global movement. Queer individuals and allies across the world have recorded personal and inspiring videos in support of LGBT youth, reminding them that they are not alone.
The Video that Started it All
Three years after the first video, thousands of people have posted YouTube videos of their own “It Gets Better” messages. People from all walks of life, including actors, politicians, sports teams, businesses, parents, and college students have participated. In honor of National Suicide Prevention Week, I want to invite you watch some of the best “It Gets Better” videos today. If you’re struggling and looking for inspiration, I am willing to bet there’s someone among the diverse array of voices that you can relate to. If you’re an LGBT individual who is in a place to lend some support, I’d encourage you to consider adding your own voice to the project. And if you’re an ally, use this as an opportunity to continue learning about the queer community and consider adding your message as well.
*For those who do not know the term, cisgendered individuals are people “who have a match between the gender they were assigned at birth, their bodies, and their personal identity.”