Suicide rates among queer kids growing up in America today are unfortunately high. The people in this video have seen decades of the gay rights movement go by. So when they tell you "it gets better," I'm inclined to believe they know what they're talking about.
There's so much you can learn from your elders. Please stick around to hear them out.
Trigger warning: discussions of suicide.
If you are in crisis or in need of immediate support, please call:
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
The Trevor Project
The GLBT National Help Center
Hotline: 1-888-THE-GLNH (888-843-4564)
Youth Talkline: 1-800-246-PRIDE (800-246-7743)
Hi. My name is Bob Linscott with Ethos and the LGBT Aging Project. I would like to share with you some voices. Voices that are so rarely heard, but contain so much wisdom and a lifetime of experience. You know, one of the things that was really challenging for me when I came out was a certain myth that I kept hearing, that all gay people grow old alone, lonely and depressed. So, naturally, if you've heard that same myth your future is going to seem bleak or hopeless. But, I would like to introduce to you a group of wonderful people who would like nothing better to do than to bust that myth.
Life does get better, and I know you may be looking at me with this gray hair and saying, "What can he say to me, and what does he know about all of my struggles and problems?" Well the truth of the matter is been there, done that and here I am.
Listen to me. I am old enough to be your grandmother. And look at me, I'm sitting here telling you don't do it, don't do it. It gets better. It does get better. You know what helps, a sense of humor. Have a sense of humor, laugh about things.
So, I just love being gay. It's not an issue for me. It's just who I am. That is my whole core.
Look at me, 80 years old. It gets better with age. It gets more respect. It gets... it's funnier that I can laugh at some of the things that I've done. And my era was very difficult to be out, and yet I always found a laugh. I always found some humor.
Life is beautiful and we're beautiful, and we are family. So, don't give up. We're all here for you.
What you feel at 13, or 17, or 15 can be very different than what is going to ultimately happen to you. You're not going to be depressed. You're not going to grow up and be old and depressed and alone. That's not the way it is. That's the image that some people would like to project.
When I was 15 years old I wanted to commit suicide, and I even tried it. And, as I had the belt around my throat I said, "Wait a minute. This is crazy, because I'm going to get out of here. Things are going to get better. I'm going to make it. Things are going to be alright." And besides, I couldn't hurt my family. I couldn't hurt my grandmother. When I was 18, I left home. I joined the army and traveled all over. In 1964, I met my partner. We've been together 46 years. I could only tell you that, look what I would've missed if I had taken my own life. Not only would I have hurt my parents and my grandmother, I would have missed out on all of my life, living with Lois for 46 years, all of the wonderful things that we've done, and I'm glad. I'm glad I didn't commit suicide.
I'm 66 years old and I lived most of my life in the closet. And now in my older age I've come out, I hung out, hung in there and life gets better. Actually, it's been even getting better for me now.
I know, when I was a teenager 100 years ago, I thought about suicide. And I did more than just think about it, I attempted it. But, I guess, luckily, I'm here because after I got out of high school all of a sudden I saw a whole new world. When I got into college, I found that there were people who accepted me and me alone, and that was quite amazing.
I'm just happy to be this gay man that I am.
I'm a very happy woman at 79.
I have more activities, emotionally, being out than I think ever before. So, I have a very healthy libido.
Just put one foot in front of the other.
Watch "Glee" on television. They're all having a good time watching "Glee".
It will get better. Take it from me, it will get better, it's guaranteed. I've been through hell and back a number of times, but I held onto who I am and my gay identity and I love my sexuality. So, whatever you do, please be kind to yourself and hold on. Just hold on no matter what. It will definitely get better.
Listen to me. It gets so much better. [Screaming] THAT'S IT, BABY!
It gets better. Hang in there.
And it gets better.
It gets better with age. Believe me.
It is better.
[singing] It gets better.
It gets better.