Yale drama community assures bullied youths: It gets better

Students, faculty, staff and guest artists at the Yale School of Drama (YSD) and Yale Repertory Theatre (YRT) have added their voices to the It Gets Better Project, which benefits the Trevor Project, a suicide hotline, and GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network.

The It Gets Better Project was founded in September by writer Dan Savage in response to the alarming number of recent reported cases of LGBTQ youths taking their own lives after being bullied at school. Savage initially encouraged the LGBTQ community to share their own stories of surviving bullying on the It Gets Better YouTube channel as a way of letting young people know they are not alone and to give them hope that it will get better for them, too.

The project took off immediately and just as quickly began to expand to include messages from people of all ages, from all walks of life, across America and around the world: more than 5,000 videos have been posted so far. Contributors have included private citizens, celebrities, politicians, the young and the old, and representatives of every race and sexual orientation.

Coordinated by the Yale Rep’s artistic staff, the taping of the YSD/YRT video took place primarily on Nov. 1; the final version was posted on YouTube three days later.

The YSD/YRT community is comprised of over 200 students — some of whom are not far out from their own experiences in high school and college — as well as over 150 faculty, staff and guest artists. More than half of the community participated: some shared personal stories, others gathered together as a group at Yale Rep to tape the message that concludes the video.

The YSD/YRT video is a reflection of the diversity the drama community celebrates, say the organizers of the video project, noting that “each participant brought his or her own unique perspective and experiences to the project, yet all were united by a shared sense of compassion and tolerance.”

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