Viral video gains support for gay and lesbian community
by Kian Sumalpong
With one simple YouTube video, numerous lives are being changed around the world. The “It Gets Better” video has now gone viral and it’s part of a worldwide movement as numerous people — including celebrities and politicians — have made video responses.
The video focuses on the struggles of the lesbian gay bisexual transsexual community and it’s now reaching Calgarians who are struggling with harassment due to their sexual orientation.
Calgarian Nicholas Seeley recently joined the project. Unlike others, Seeley said he didn’t become an activist because he had a horrible high school life or was teased for being gay. In fact, he’s surrounded by friends and family who support his sexual orientation.
He may not have been mistreated due to his sexuality, but Seeley said he can’t ignore the teens hurting themselves because of a lack of acceptance. Not seeing enough helping hands in town, Seeley became an activist.
“The more voices (of support) you have, the louder you’re going to be heard,” Seeley said, citing the reasons for creating his Facebook group, which has attracted around 90 local members.
Due to the high rates of suicide and bullying in LGBT teens, Dan Savage, a columnist and author, along with his partner Terry, started the “It Gets Better” project, giving hope of a brighter future to teens in the LGBT community. In the video, Terry briefly recalled his horrifying time in high school.
“People were really cruel to me,” he said. “I was bullied a lot, beat up, thrown against walls, lockers and windows.”
He then discussed when his mother talked to the school administrator about the torments. “If you look that way, talk that way, walk that way, act that way, then there’s nothing we can do to help your son,” he remembered hearing.
Terry then explained how his life got better after getting out of his unsupportive high school and its administration. Despite their struggles in the past, both Savage and Terry are spreading the message that there’s hope for a better tomorrow.
Seeley said he went to a very welcoming fine arts high school and he wants everyone else to feel the same support he’s experiencing.
With the creation of his Facebook group, Seeley identified what needs to be changed in some people’s perspective of the LGBT community, bullying, and the help that’s needed from others. No matter how much Seeley and other activists may push awareness onto others, he said he realizes that people will only help if they want to.
Charlie Ly, a first-year communications student at Mount Royal, is a member of Seeley’s group. Ly plans to create a video and share a friend’s struggles with bullying and having to hide their true identity due to fear of not being welcomed. Inspired by the community and the freedom they strive for, Ly really wants to get her message out to the viewers.
“The openness at MRU is refreshing, especially during Pride Week when they have all those awareness and positive events for lesbians, gays, transsexuals and us bisexuals,” Ly said.
Seeley said he finds the support from everyone to be a benefit, but he strongly believes in the importance of activism from people within the LGBT community.
“It doesn’t mean that straight people can’t help,” he said. “It would be an asset to this movement.
“It just means that we have to represent ourselves or else we can’t expect a change.”