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It Gets Better Blog

A Letter to Any Teen Who’s Thinking About Suicide

Dear friend, Let me start by telling you that I love you. No, I don't know you at all. I might have passed you at the mall or caught a glimpse of you driving down the road, but chances are you live far away from me, in another state or even in another country. I love you just the same. Even though we are distant, we are not so different, you and I. This is a picture of me when I was a teen. You can tell by looking at me that I felt different, unhappy. You see, like you, I have felt intense pain. I've even had fleeting moments when I wanted to commit suicide myself. I suspect that's something that everyone thinks about at one time or another, if they're honest with themselves. I know that sometimes, pain can become so heavy to carry around that you might just think killing yourself is the only respite from how bad you feel. But don't do it. This is why.  

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Bullying: It Never Gets Better, But We Do

I'm glad I was bullied. There, I've said it. I've broken the politically correct cardinal rule; yes, Lady Gaga is gagging right now. Now, I didn't enjoy it at the time. I was terrified, of course. I cried at night. I spent days in actual terror. I was young, blond, white, and wearing green Dolphins shorts, leg warmers, and a lovely chiffon dance top with a leotard to an predominately minority inner-city school. ...So why am I happy about it? Because I'm me. You see, I like being me. It's been a blessed life. 

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The Outspoken Generation

Almost six years ago, I witnessed one of the more touching moments between a father and daughter. It just happened to be between Ella Robinson and her gay father, who also happened to be Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church. After presenting her father with an award at our Family Equality Council dinner, the bishop, with tears streaming down his face, said the one thing that is singularly true for every parent I know: "Being Ella's father has been the best and most important job I have ever had." 

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Dear 15-Year-Old Me: I’m Writing to Tell You It Got Better

Just remember: you are unique. There's only one of you. If you ever worry that you are different, just think how boring it would be if we were all the same! You will take pride in expressing your individuality. You'll march in parades. You will fly the flag of pride. You'll witness states and countries around the world embrace change and embrace equality. You'll do your bit. You'll be part of it. You may even marry and start a family someday. They are your choices. You lost nothing.https://secure.itgetsbetter.org//cms/index.php?S=414eb0afa11a4cf8b8c0a0c11c237b5555689f0b&C=publish&M=entry_form&weblog_id=4 

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John Carroll: Dancing Saved Me From Humiliation of Bullies

Broadway performer John Carroll (Women on the Verger of a Nervous Breakdown, Follies) recalls being relentlessly tormented by bullies as a kid and how he escaped and gained confidence by studying dance. 

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Why I Stood Up to My School District

Ebonie Richardson is a 16-year-old lesbian student who challenged the Anoka-Hennepin School District with a lawsuit that just ended with new protections designed to protect students like her from bullying. 

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The Anoka-Hennepin School District Settlement: A Sea Change for School Safety Nationwide

This week marks a historic paradigm shift in the way the federal government interacts with communities. The slow behemoth of federal justice moved at the breakneck pace of 16 months to create a blueprint for school safety that can be implemented nationwide, all in the interest of keeping children and youth safe, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression. The consent decree among Minnesota's Anoka-Hennepin School District, the Departments of Justice and Education, and students represents history in civil rights for youth and for LGBT people. It is also a huge win in the fight to promote health and psychological well-being of youth at school, as it emphasizes ongoing availability of counseling for students and evaluation of anti-bullying measures from a mental health perspective.  

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Taking off the Mask for Purim

This year's Purim marks three years since I started my incredible journey of coming out. Until three years ago I struggled in isolation with my identity as a gay man and an Orthodox Jew. I had spent the previous two years surrounded only by people who rejected themselves as gay and was part of the "ex gay" movement." 

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