Joe Mirabella

Take Action with the "Make it Better Project"

Filed By Joe Mirabella | October 05, 2010 12:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Action Alerts
Tags: gay straight alliance, gay students, homophobic behavior, Make it Better Project, teen suicide

In response to the epidemic of teen suicides as a result of anti-gay bullying Sean Chapin was inspired to act. Out of that inspiration the Make it Better Project was born in collaboration with dozens of individuals and organizations.

Now, the Gay Straight Alliance is leading the project. They released the following statement:

miblogo.pngIn response to many recent suicides by LGBT youth, Gay-Straight Alliance Network is launching the Make It Better Project to give youth the tools they need to fight back against anti-LGBT bullying and make schools safer for LGBT youth.

The Make It Better Project includes a website and YouTube channel where students and adults can upload video messages to share what they are doing to prevent suicide and make it better for LGBT youth in schools now. You can also follow the project on Twitter and Facebook.

Read the rest of the release after the jump.

LGBT youth suicides made headlines in September as anti-gay bullying drove a number of young teens to take their lives - including Seth Walsh, 13, in California; Asher Brown, 13, in Texas; and Billy Lucas, 15, in Indiana.

In response, columnist Dan Savage launched "It Gets Better," a video message to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth that life gets better after high school. The Make It Better Project takes this one step further, giving youth the tools they need to make their lives better now.

"School doesn't have to be horrible just because you're LGBT! Schools should be safe for everyone," said Carolyn Laub, Executive Director of Gay-Straight Alliance Network, who launched the project. "Through the Make It Better Project, youth and adults can work together to prevent suicide and make schools safer for LGBT youth right now. Go to to learn how."

A Week of Action in support of the Make It Better Project will begin on October 5th, culminating in National Coming Out Day on October 11th. Make It Better events will take place around the country to remember the youth who have died, support LGBT students, and call on lawmakers to pass the federal Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Student Non-Discrimination Act. See a list of events for the Week of Action.

"LGBTQQ teenagers are dying at the hands of homophobia, and as National Coming Out Day approaches, it is time for all of us in the LGBTQQ and straight ally community to not just come out for ourselves but also come out for each other and especially for the youth who need us now more than ever," said Sean Chapin, one of the grassroots organizers of the Week of Action.

Several youth involved with the Make It Better Project will be on the Dr. Phil Show this Wednesday. They will discuss how they are working to prevent suicide and make their schools safer for LGBT students through Gay-Straight Alliance clubs.

"Starting a Gay-Straight Alliance is one of the best ways to let LGBT students at your school know that they are not alone," said Jeffree Merteuil-Clark, 17, a junior at Frontier High School. "Youth and adults can work together in your GSA to let bullies know that harassment and discrimination will not be tolerated at your school." Jeffree is President of his GSA in Bakersfield, just miles down the road from Tehachapi where Seth Walsh died on Tuesday.

The Make It Better Project is endorsed by: COLAGE, GroundSpark, Our Family Coalition, Safe Schools Coalition, San Francisco LGBT Center, TransActive, Transgender Law Center, and Youth Pride, Inc. (partial list).

I truly believe that if we can cure homophobia and transphobia we will save thousands of lives, and will one day discover our full equality. Please share the Make it Better Project widely on your social networks. You never know who you might touch, and whose heart might change.

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you know, this is a great way to develop some common cause with groups who might today be non-aligned:

according to the cdc, about 8% of all high school students have made at least one suicide attempt.

we can assume the lbgt population in high schools is similar to the general population, somewhere around 10%...and that means either every single lbgt student is attempting suicide, or there's a large group of students outside the community that are also at risk.

i would even venture to suggest that many are also victims of bullying, and that there's a good chance some of the same bullies are involved.

depending on where you live, it could be "spaz" parents, or geek parents, or goth parents, all of whom who might all be allies but aren't today.

there's also a community to parents who simply want safe schools, and the might also be organized in a bigger way to advance this effort.

Good. It's the logical next step.