The It Gets Better Project—the hugely popular series of videos kicked off by advice columnist Dan Savage a few weeks ago in response to a series of high-profile suicides by gay teens—got a contribution this week from a group of queer Canadian celebrities. The slickly edited video above gathers the stories of more than 30 boldface names talking about their experience of growing up different and the confusion, self-doubt, and bullying that went along with it.
It’s easy to conclude from the video that, more accurately, It Mostly Seems To Get Better For White People Who Work In The Arts, and I’d hardly be the first to criticize the project for its blithe elision of wide swathes of the queer experience. The project has taken some flak—I would say deservedly—for being lily-white, for being classist, for being ableist,, for being just plain factually incorrect, or for being downright smug. But it’s Friday! Let’s look on the bright side. A bunch of Canadian celebrities are telling queer kids to hang in there, and that’s just swell.
But if you’re looking for videos and stories that better reflect the actual diversity of the population, I’d suggest taking a look at the We Got Your Back Project from the U.S., which explicitly aims to solicit and highlight It Gets Better stories from people of colour, people with disabilities, working-class people, and others who seemed underrepresented in the original version. There’s something sanctimonious about Rick Mercer or George Smitherman telling you how nifty their lives are now that they’re all grown up, financially secure, and working in positions of power: like, duh—of course it got better for them. Hooray.
Anyway, Canadian queer celebrities! Passive-Aggressive High Five!