The “It Gets Better” project got two very big, and very different, endorsements on Tuesday when former first lady and current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington released videos aimed at sending strong, positive messages to LGBT youth in light of recent gay teen suicides.
In her YouTube clip, Clinton says she was terribly saddened to learn about the recent spate of suicides by teens who were bullied or harassed for being gay or because people thought they were gay. “Children are particularly vulnerable to the hurt caused by discrimination and prejudice,” she explains in the two-and-a-half-minute video. “And we’ve lost many young people over the years to suicide. These most recent deaths are a reminder that all Americans have to work harder to overcome bigotry and hatred.”
Clinton then sends a message to all young Americans who are feeling bullied or alone or are finding it hard to imagine things getting better in the future. “First of all, hang in there,” she says. “And ask for help. Your life is so important … to your family, your friends and your country. And there’s so much waiting for you, both personally and professionally. There’s so many opportunities for you to develop your talents and make your contributions.”
She promises that those opportunities will multiply over the years because the story of America is one of people coming together to tear down barriers, stand up for rights and insist on equality for themselves and for everyone else. Clinton also notes that she’s proud of the work done every day at the State Department by LGBT staffers.
“It wasn’t long ago that these men and women would not have been able to serve openly, but today they can. Because it has gotten better,” she says near the end of the clip. “And it will get better for you. So take heart and have hope and please remember that your life is valuable and you are not alone.”
Ke$ha, Nicki Minaj, Adam Lambert and Aubrey O’Day also have posted clips or spoken out against bullying over the past few weeks, and Linkin Park’s Bennington joined the array of stars making videos in support of “It Gets Better.”
“To all the kids out there who feel like they’ve been pushed down, picked on, looked at funny, feel strange because you’re different,” Bennington says in his clip. “You know what? That makes you cool. Don’t let anybody make you feel bad for being who you are. Trust me, it gets better.”