When news broke about several LGBT teens committing suicide over the past month, syndicated columnist Dan Savage decided enough was enough and created the It Gets Better Project.
Today, the UA community will put its voice forward, too.
At noon on the steps of the Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library, there will be a video shoot for an “It Gets Better” video to send a message of encouragement to bullied teens, especially those in the LGBT community.
“This is a message that anybody needs to hear. It’s not just for gay youth,” said Guy Fauchon, a recent UA grad with a Masters of Fine Arts in directing and one of the people who had the idea for the shoot.
Fauchon was inspired to do the shoot at UA when he started watching the videos on itgetsbetterproject.com.
“A lot of people have been bringing in their personal stories,” he said. “Something compelled me to put my own voice forward.”
Glenn Halcomb, a senior majoring in theatre, said Fauchon e-mailed him about making a video on campus.
“He asked me if I would be interested in helping him,” he said. “I immediately said yeah, and it just kind of went from there.”
Halcomb said he thinks it’s great how many people are interested in the project.
“It was originally just going to be me and him and a few other people,” he said. “Then he created a Facebook event and it’s grown into this event that all these people say they’re attending that we don’t even know. It’s great.”
Fauchon said he thinks the University is a great place to make this video because his experiences as a gay man here have been positive.
“UA is a great example of how life can be for homosexuals,” he said. “You can be gay at UA, and it’s okay.”
Halcomb said, however, that being homosexual is not always accepted.
“I think everyone in the gay community has been called names at some point in their college career here,” Halcomb said.
However, bullying is not limited to members of the LGBT community.
“I’m sure a lot of people can identify with being bullied, and I feel like that’s what’s so great about what’s happening,” said Kayla Terry, a senior majoring in public relations. “They’re not just inviting the gay community. They’re inviting everyone that’s ever felt like they’ve been mistreated or felt like they’ve been hurt by another person.”
Terry was one of many on campus who wore purple Wednesday in order to raise awareness about the recent string of LGBT teen suicides. The event was held nationwide, and more than 1.7 million people listed themselves as “Attending” on the Facebook event.
Terry said while she is not a member of the LGBT community, she can still understand some of what bullied LGBT teens go through.
“I’m a straight ally for the LGBT community, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t had experience personally with bullying and with being treated unfairly in school,” she said.
Fauchon also said he knows how it feels for these teens.
“I know personally the dark despair of a 13-year-old bullied guy’s heart,” he said. “I was there. So why don’t we make a personal effort to say we are proof positive that it gets better? We need to step up and challenge this.”
Anybody can come to the video shoot to participate in the group part, which should last about 30 minutes.
“I think it’s a pretty universal message,” Halcomb said. “I think that anybody can watch these videos and be touched by them. We’ve all experienced bullying in our lives and we all understand that feeling of not being wanted at some point. I think that participating in this is a step forward in the right direction.”
“It’s a message that needs to be heard,” Fauchon said. “Ultimately, the point is: ‘Don’t kill yourself, because it gets better.’”