Public Relations of the “It Gets Better” Campaign and the Gay and Lesbian Platform in America

High school sucks for everyone!

You, as well as every other American kid, know that high school is time of complete and utter confusion, confusion in deciding what to wear, deciding what to do after graduation, and more significantly who to hang out with.

The American high school is no longer the bland canvas where jocks hang out with jocks and being a cheerleader is entrée into the more popular, esoteric social groups. The American high school is made up of an amalgam of different cliques.

Even so, countless American students are left out of the high school experience, which can be very good.

As the nerds of earlier high school lore transitioned into the goths of our generation, these marginalized groups found their way into a high school social hierarchy that previously relegated them to a place in a celebrated youth culture that often ridiculed and scorned their presence.

A few generations ago….

Bullying was almost seen as a rite of passage. Today, however, our increasingly sophisticated society is still contending with traditional values that accept this social behavior, some seeing it as a rite all American teenagers must go through—whether you are a victim or a perpetrator.

But for gay, lesbian and transgendered youth….

For teenagers who identify outside the traditional heterosexual grouping, high school is more than brutal. It can be hell. For many gay, lesbian and transgendered youth, high school can be a nightmarish experience where upon graduation they are freed from an invisible bondage that shapes their identity, hopefully for the better because it is supposed to get better. Isn’t it?

In an already homophobic society that still pretty much values the nuclear family, bullying the gay, lesbian and transgendered is not taken as seriously as it should.

For most people involved with transitioning youth into adulthood, the question of bullying becomes….

When does bullying become assault?

Bullying becomes assault when the victim is injured, emotionally or physically. Whether the taunts of classmates or cruel practical jokes send the student into full blown depression, a depression that often turns in on the individual, these activities are no longer a rite of passage.

Apparently, others felt the same way as well….

In response to a rash of cases in which youth were injured, some taking their own lives, Dan Savage, along with his partner, created the It Gets Better Campaign in 2010. While the campaign’s conversation focused on encouraging gay, lesbian, and transgendered youth to have hope, the campaign has evolved into one that addresses sexual and/or gender identities across the spectrum.

But how did they do it, and successfully?

In the last almost thirty years, gay and lesbian activism has created a positive space where these types of conversations can take place. Conversely, in the past, voices from this community have not been heard until tragedy takes place, as in the cases of Matthew Shepard, Teena Brandon, and Barry Winchell.

After biopics about their life experiences have been shown, everyone goes back to their separate corners until the next news story. However, the It Gets Better Campaign used the grassroots efforts of a global community to reach marginalized gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and transgendered youth.

How was public relations used here?

The LGBQT community used individual voices to convey a collective thought about an issue that does affect society as a whole. The movement did this by:

  • Allowing individuals to upload their personal stories and messages. Anyone with access to the internet could tell their story or convey a message to the public.
  • While created for a particular population, the message from people in all walks of life used a variety of formats to convey this whole idea of encouraging youth to not harm themselves because it does get better.

Whether a high profile celebrity or someone who has actually been a victim, the speakers conveyed personal stories, stories of encouragement, and if you look online, you might find a number of songs encouraging these marginalized youth to have hope.

  • As more videos were uploaded, a community of silent supporters for LGBQT youth and cause became an anchor teenagers could hold onto.

Basically, society pulled these teenagers into a positive discussion without even addressing their victimizers, for the most part.

…And how was this movement more important than any others?

The movement was not more important than others, as small steps over the years have created opportunities in the LGBQT community since the sixties. The movement’s significance, however, lies in that it was able to target youth, regardless of their orientation, and was able to promote positive messages to teenagers searching for their own sexual identities, again regardless of their orientation.

The significance for our culture….

As the nerds and gothsof carved out a world for themselves in the gaming and technology industries, LGBQT will contribute in the same way to some part of culture, and no it does not necessarily mean contributing to fashion.

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