The Simmons College community has come together to create a video to add to the “It Gets Better Project,” joining thousands of others (individuals, celebrities, politicians, athletic teams, music groups, schools and universities, businesses and communities) in this dramatic movement of hope, inspiration and change.
“It Gets Better” was initially a response by the columnist and author Dan Savage and his partner Terry Miller to a rash of LGBT suicides, the result of bullying and harassment at schools and on campuses across the country. The project aims to turn the tide of self-destruction by reaching vulnerable youth with the voices of survival and accomplishment. Simmons will contribute to this important effort, by adding our voices of hope, encouragement, and achievement.
What you can do now to make it better
As an ally to the LGBTQ community, here are some ways you can help make it better now.
- What you can do when you witness someone being bullied:
The best thing you can do is interrupt it when it happens. If you feel safe telling the bully to stop, do so. If you or anyone else is in immediate physical danger on campus call public safety at 617-521-1111 or the police if you are off campus. After the incident, give support to the person being bullied. Let them know that you are there to help, that the way they are being treated is not acceptable. On campus the Student Life Office (C-211) is a resource for anyone who would like to talk about incidents of bullying. For more information on the Simmons College policies and procedures, please read the non-discrimination policy in the student handbook.
- What you can do as an ally:
Don't attempt to convince people that you "are on their side," just be there. Get to know LGBTQ history and help community members take pride in that history. Assume that LGBTQ people are experts in their own experience and that you have much to learn from them. Also assume that making mistakes is a part of the learning process of being an effective ally. Acknowledge and apologize for mistakes; learn from them, but don't retreat.
- What you can do when a friend or co-worker comes out to you:
This person is apt to have spent many hours in thoughtful preparation and shares the information with awareness of the possible risk. It is important to understand that the person has not changed. Don't make light of their disclosure ("So what? I always assumed"), but also don't assume they are going to you for help. They want to share this information with you, because it is an important part of who they are. Thank them for sharing with you.
- Take the Pledge:
When taking a photo to support the Simmons It Gets Better project we ask that you agree to the following pledge and help spread our message of hope to LGBT youth.
Everyone deserves to be respected for who they are. I pledge to spread this message to my friends, family and neighbors. I'll speak up against hate and intolerance whenever I see it, at school and at work. I'll provide hope for lesbian, gay, bi, trans and other bullied teens by letting them know that "It Gets Better."
You can further support the movement by going online and signing the pledge on the It Gets Better website.
If you have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.