But really, all this is just lead in to the truly remarkable… and worth starting the count over…
It Get’s Better is 1) no marginal effort to save kids lives–as if that wouldn’t be enough. Nope, 2) Dan Savage quite simply unleashed the most powerful action/movement to ever impact the lot of LGBT people in the United States, and 3) likely the world. Sure, timing and trends in society were great tailwinds, though that takes nothing away from it’s impact. So, besides offering potentially lifesaving information and hope to young innocent, bullied children, 4) these videos provided a perfect way to engage our allies. Heck 5) the president did one, 6) congress too. 7)tons of sports teams joined the roster led by Gay Mens choruses across the country. 8) Frickin Google, Microsoft, Yahoo’s then CEO, Disney, Lucasfilm, and various branches of the military. When corrected for power points, it’s 9) just about the most powerful viral campaign ever, of any sort, putting Call Me Maybe and Harlem Shake to shame, and just catching up with pop Korean sensation Psy.
That’s just getting started. How about the impact of the 10) millions and millions of views by folks who are not teens at risk, but certainly can recall seeing or being bullies when younger, and how about the 11) tens of thousands of of discussions that had to happen for thousands to get planned, finished, and uploaded? And in most cases i’d guess these were serious discussions that were explicit– about rights and discrimination — and as such offered a 12) teaching moment in homes, clubs, workplaces that clarified positions for allies who might not have focused on the issue before…and hardly a surprise until It Gets Better made discussing the gays not so uncomfortable, something that felts a bunch inappropriate, perhaps, for the workplace, and 13) happily seems to have uncovered the fact that most people care about equality and individual freedom and were for the most part worried that the others couldn’t handle it. They can.
But ultimately, perhaps the biggest impact of It Gets Better is the healing it’s offered all of us. It’s created a venue for us to tell our, at times harrowing stories, an incredible space in which many are able to give voice for the first time to the obstacles and violence they faced usually alone, and in many cases it turns out with such despair that even the huge unbelievable estimates for considering and attempting suicide by LGBT folks seem low, and most importantly it’s allowed us to tell these stories in a context of saving the kids, somewhat protected from having to add the scarlet letter of “victimhood” on top of the actual trauma of having been one.
And the latest science on healing victims of all kinds of trauma seems to be coming together around how how essential it is to not just tell our stories as witnesses, but to make some sense of our stories in telling them again with some processing, order and narrative, replacing the serious, and unformed trauma that is not unlike PTSD seen in returning soldiers that experts say account for the higher levels of alcohol, sex, drug addiction, not to mention the repression, self loathing and suicide.
So, anyone to join a nomination of Dan for Nobel Peace Prize?