I’m reading the It Gets Better book and it has turned me into a rapid-cycling bipolar. One minute I’m happy and thankful that Dan Savage and Terry Miller had the vision and dedication to make their It Gets Better Project an amazing reality. The next minute I’m terribly sad and depressed because it shouldn’t have to get better. It should already be better. It shouldn’t have to get so bad that kids need to be reminded that it gets better. I never want my son to feel hopeless. I never want to be a mother who finds her son dead from a bullying-induced suicide.
If you are reading this and you don’t know what the It Gets Better project is, you should. Check it out at ItGetsBetter.org.
RaisingMyRainbow reader and It Gets Better contributor Patrick Murphy is a total superstar and sent me a copy of the It Gets Better book to give away to one of my readers. To enter the giveaway, simply comment on this post. C.J. will pick a winner next week (which should be interesting), so check back next Thursday to see if you won.
If you know of an LGBT teen or have a sneaking suspicion about a certain someone, they need this book. Their family needs this book. The local schools and libraries need this book.
Buy it from Penguin.com or Amazon.com.
You can donate a copy to your local school or library by clicking here.
Can’t read? Get the audiobook here.
Can’t read OR hear? That really sucks. I’m sorry.
Here’s a link to an It Gets Better video blog for your followers who can’t read or here 🙂
Love this blog, and would love to get a copy. I help manage a Pride library at my University and if I get a copy, would love to donate it for the library to use 🙂
I totally agree with you that it shouldn’t have to get better but should already be better. I don’t understand why and how people can be so mean to another human being.
Dan Savage is awesome. He spoke at my school earlier this month and I’m so glad I went. There was laughing and crying and all kinds of emotions, but it was just what I needed at that time.
To C.J. – You are all kinds of awesome. You have every right to be who you are and no one should be able to take that away from you. Keep standing up for yourself and always thank your mom for being the world’s best mom, cuz she totally is. 😀
CJ’s mom – First off, I love the blog and everything you’re about. You’re an incredible writer, and the love and respect you have for both of your sons is admirable.
I’m sure you’ve seen these (you’re a pretty connected, ‘with it’ Mom, I think), but just in case, I wanted to be absolutely sure you were aware of a couple of things out there you might find helpful:
“Product Description: Dyson loves pink, sparkly things. Sometimes he wears dresses. Sometimes he wears jeans. He likes to wear his princess tiara, even when climbing trees. He’s a Princess Boy.
Inspired by the author’s son, and by her own initial struggles to understand, this is a heart-warming book about unconditional love and one remarkable family. It is also a call for tolerance and an end to bullying and judgments. The world is a brighter place when we accept everyone for who they are. “
Sound familiar? In addition, though this one is more specifically for a trans-identified child (and I don’t think CJ knows or needs to know his gender identity right now – ‘fabulous’ seems like a perfectly good gender to me!), it still looks like something CJ (or any child who loves beautiful dresses and wild imaginations) might like:
“Product description: Every night, Bailey dreams about magical dresses: dresses made of crystals and rainbows, dresses made of flowers, dresses made of windows…Unfortunately, when Bailey’s awake, no one wants to hear about these beautiful dreams. Quite the contrary: “You’re a BOY!” Mother and Father tell Bailey. “You shouldn’t be thinking about dresses at all.” Then Bailey meets Laurel, an older girl who is touched and inspired by Bailey’s imagination and courage. In friendship, the two of them begin making dresses together. And Bailey becomes the girl she always dreamed she’d be!”
Anyway, thought you might enjoy it.
Best of luck, and keep doing what you’re doing!
CJ, you are fantastic just the way you are. You are truly fortunate that your fabulous mother has already made it better for you even though you may not realize it right now 🙂
If I get picked I will donate the book to the high school Library where I am a teacher. we had an incident this week where a closeted student was harassing another student about being gay. I think this book will help both of them.
Is there an e-book or online version available? I want to purchase a copy but can’t risk being seen with one.
You can get an e-book version or download the audio book.
I tried to put links in, but I messed up the coding. You’ll have to copy and paste into a browser. I hope this helps.
Kindle Edition – http://www.amazon.com/Gets-Better-Overcoming-Bullying-ebook/dp/B004LRPGPM/ref=sr_1_1_title_1_ke?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1306348855&sr=1-1
E-pub Edition – http://us.penguingroup.com/nf/Book/BookDisplay/0,,9781101513408,00.html?It_Gets_Better_Dan_Savage
Adobe Reader Edition – http://us.penguingroup.com/nf/Book/BookDisplay/0,,9781101504000,00.html
Downloadable Audio Edition – http://www.amazon.com/Gets-Better-Overcoming-Bullying-Creating/dp/B004XWEB0G/ref=tmm_aud_title_0?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&qid=1306348855&sr=1-1
I cannot express how much joy you have brought into my life the last few months. I seldom comment on anything, but I must let you know how much you are giving to the world.
I’ve been actively gay for over 60 years (early start), seen generations of kids, families, and heartache. Telling teens “it gets better” is great and all, it’s about time we start acting responsibly, but your outreach a dozen years earlier can have much greater results, and I wish it could muster the same momentum.
I have a few copies of this book (as of today) to pass out to anyone who I meet IRL that needs to borrow, take, or share “the word”.
Just know there are thousands who never comment, never offer feedback, but who depend on you for hope in this crazy world. Bless you and your family.
Don’t pick me, I already know it gets better. Give it to someone who deserves it. I wanted to say that I hope you’re backing up all of your posts in an easily printable method, because your clever jeerings and witty anecdotes are phenomenal and should be made more available to the public.
Seriously, consider publishing what you write. The way it is. No hold barred.
CJ: Don’t worry about picking me, because things did get better, it just took too many years. Your parents are the greatest gift to you, and you will come to realize that in so many different ways the rest of your long, long life. One day you will spread the joy and happiness you feel when you are being your true pink and sparkly self to many other boys and girls who need to be free.
CJ CJ CJ CJ!!!! please pick me, I am in brasil and in this a small town there is no place to where i can purchase this book. I also have been wanting it really badly, I have been reading your blog since you guys first started and I enjoy every moment of it, if you pick me all I like to say is thank you so much =)
Am I a terrible person for immediately thinking of buying a copy for all the gay men I know that I know are gay, but have gone off and done something foolish like get married to a woman?
Unfortunately, I work with them all, so I guess that wouldn’t fly. I want to tell them… it’s okay. You’ll be okay. It will get better. You can be gay. It’s alright.
But, then I’d get fired, so I guess I will keep these thoughts to myself.
I heard about your blog on the Feast of Fun podcast and just finally was able to catch up on all of your entries. I just wanted to say that I admire you for your willingness to support your son in ways that society deems questionable or inappropriate. As a 25 year old gay man, I find it refreshing to know that you and other moms are so encouraging.
I was the little boy that played Barbies with my sister. Or when we’d pretend we were other people, my “driver’s license” was a baseball card of the cutest ball player I could find. However, instead of keeping the card in the Spiderman wallet that I had, I kept it in my sister’s Little Mermaid purse.
I see so much of CJ in myself when I was his age, except a much more open and free version. My parents didn’t really discourage my playtime with my sister, but they didn’t support it like you do. I think you are an inspiration and there are so many parent’s that could learn so much from you and your husband.
I have to agree with you C.J. Mom
Completely agree with you on what you said it should not have to get better it should be there. I hope that by the time my son is grown up he will be able to completely be accepted for who he is and be loved for who he is be it Gay, Straight, Bisexual or Transgender.
Been from Ireland we have only really started to get our act together in Gay Rights but as I now call them HUMAN RIGHTS. My son is been challenged in preschool to conform but I have told him to never be what others want you to be. So on Thursday it was fancy dress and he asked to go as Ariel from the little mermaid so he went in in her HUMAN form with a red haired wig. Well the looks some parents gave me bringing him in well they of shock and I know how you feel with it. But some parents and a new woman said I was right to let him go as who ever he wants.
So with parents like us lets help and educate kids on been accepting and make sure it does not need to get better it will be better
It really does get better. I just recently got engaged with my boyfriend of 4 years. As if that’s not exciting enough, the reception from my family was overwhelmingly positive!! And when I say family, I mean blood relatives from all generations!! I came home from work last Wednesday at 12:30am and found a ‘congratulations on your engagement’ card from my mother’s mom. I hadn’t conversed with her about me being gay because she’s always been very religions, but we’ve been close and gone to plays together (so I assumed she had a feeling). But, I came out to her a few months ago and she just wanted to make sure I was happy. So my mom emailed the family about the engagement, because that’s how they communicate, and my grandmother, “Nan,” immediately sent out a card. I sat on my bed after a long day at work and cried. I’ve never been so touched in my life. My Nan has always inspired me to be myself, so I wasn’t surprised. I’m naming my first daughter after her, Joan. That also happens to be the name of my favorite character on Mad Men, and the only Mad Men Barbie doll I own. I’ve wanted those dolls for a long time, and I bought one because Nan always tells me that she buys the silly things that she wants.
It absolutely does get better!!!!! Also, I am going to Disneyworld next week with my family and I will most definitely be thinking of CJ!!!
Love Love Love that I have found your blog!! I am also raising a fabulous boy…he is six and loves all things pink and sparkly!! He saw your post with CJ dressed up in a princess costume and was so excited to see that there are other little boys out there that are just like him! We do not live in an area where our parenting of our son (acceptance) is validated…so it is nice to be able to read your blog and know that we are not alone!!!
We had the very same discussion at work a few weeks ago. I live in Minnesota where we’ve had far too many kids taking their lives over bullying. It does get better, honestly, it does. And we get better at dealing with the intolerance of others. But we need to work harder to make it much, much sooner than later. Politicians need to stop using the lives of LGBT+ people as a way to enflame ignorance and hatred just to grab some votes and dollars.
Rock on, you Fab Mama, you!
Kindness instead of cruelty, praise instead of criticism, peace instead of war, working together instead of competing against one another, loving instead of hating, forgiveness instead of endless grudges, finding ways to smile instead of making each other frown or worse giving us a reason to cry. We CAN make the world a better place, we can change!!
Great post – I live in Seattle, and with Dan Savage being from my ‘hood and all, I’ve been following this campaign for quite some time. I do believe the heart of the message (and the national/international support) is done with great intention. However, to provide some more hope, check out the youth-initiated campaign called http://www.makeitbetterproject.org/. And while, in an ideal world, we wouldn’t have be concerned for ourselves or our children, there is a great organization – Safe Schools Coalition (http://www.safeschoolscoalition.org/) – who is doing great work not only helping protect students and youth, but holding schools accountable to keep kids safe!
I Stumbled on this site the other day, and now that I’ve caught up with everything I want to say two things:
1) I wish my parents could have understood my cousins the way you understand and love CJ. When I was growing up, my younger (boy) cousins liked to wear dresses and my Aunt’s high heels, and the rest of my family–my dad especially–did not handle it well. He called them “gay” and told them to “take off the dresses and act like boys.” Having seen those experiences makes me sooooo happy that you treat your son like you would any other child and let him do the things he likes.
2) I’m very jealous of CJ’s impressive princess toy collection and Disney birthday. I’ve never been to any Disney anything and especially no princess birthday stuff. Sooooo jealous!!!
I am so proud of you for creating this blog. I wish there were more mothers out there who could escape the shelter that some mothers place themselves in. My mother in some ways placed herself there, even though some of the things we were allowed to watch as children would have killed those other mothers. The whole subject of gays and lesbians was never really spoken in our home. It was known that it existed, but that was good enough for my parents. You can imagine the look on my mother’s face when I told her I was gay. “OMG! Really….I never knew.” Coming from someone that was more sister to me than mother, it kinda hurt, but I got over that and tried to ease her into the understanding of my life. FAIL! It never happened. Much love and keep up the great work.
I can empathize with your fears about suicide. It is truly terrifying. The good news is that you and your husband have created a safety net called home for your fabulous son. As long as you remember that as he gets older, the need for an open dialogue with him will be even more important (if not a bit difficult to initiate.) I wish I had you as parents when I was a child trying to find my inner-fabulousness. My alcoholic father chose instead of acceptance, to use verbal abuse and physical intimidation to make me more “butch.” Keep letting your son be his own fabulous self and he will continue to enrich your life with beauty, truth, and love.
I agree with you. I am happy that we have this great campaign and greatly saddened that we have to. I don’t think we should have to tell kids to wait for it to get better. As a youth worker, I hope this campaign will help to make things better sooner. I love your blog. 🙂
Thank you for creating such a great blog. I am not a mom, yet, but I appreciate hearing such a positive and inspiring viewpoint that I hope I can have when I have my children. I agree that it should have to get better, but it just should be. However, I am grateful for you and other like you who help remind people of that fact.
Sunday is my 42 birthday and I plan to wear my brand new bright green tutu and tiara all day long! You and CJ are invited for cake.
To CJ: I am not commenting to try to get the book, honestly. I would like to read and will loko for it in my library. I just wanted to say to your mom what a wonderful idea this is and that things to *be* better is certainly something to work towards. Also, CJ, although I’ve never met her, your mom is an amazing person. I hope you give her a big hug for everything she does for you. Good luck picking a winner!
True, its very difficult to read/hear [ I can do both 🙂 ] about the suicides of teens around the world, but the “Better” campaign has caused so many other media outlets to cover similar stories. While I can’t help but wonder if the reason is more because they’re jumping on the suicidal teen bandwagon; meaning its a hot topic and they want to sell more issues; at the same I think, who cares what the reason is, at least the topic is spreading like wildfire and many who would never have bothered to read a story like that will take a few seconds to scan an article, or simply notice the title and realize how commonly its occurring.
Thanks for the continued posts! I love your sense of humor! CJ may be fabulous, but I see where he gets it. 😀 No, I’m not kissing up to win the drawing. *whisper* Pst, CJ…. pick me…
You are right in saying that why should we need it to get better. In a perfect world there would be no bullying and everyone would accept you for who you are. No one would put you into neat little boxes where you must fit in. Unfortunately, that is not the case. But the good thing is that we are working towards that point and hopefully we will see it in our lifetime and CJ will not have to worry when he has kids. I love your blog! It is a pleasure to read and so insightful and clever. So important to have for others to learn from!!
What a great idea to donate the book! Whether I win it from you or not, I think I shall have to check in with the libraries in my town, and the surrounding towns. If they don’t have a copy or two, I will buy it for them.
Although, I do struggle with the It Gets Better campaign concept…I don’t want to just tell kids it will get better if they just tough it out right now. I want to empower them to MAKE IT BETTER!
Still, it is helping, and we need all the help we can get on this issue.
Thank you, as always, for being a beacon of hope. CJ is lucky to have you. And we definitely need more moms like you in the world!!
What person, let alone a gay boy doesnt like free stuff? Especially stuff like the It Gets Better book which I am sure will provide me with lots of stories for me to cry to. *I love a good cry.
CJ’s Mom, you are doing amazing things with your son. As you have probably heard many times by now, I sure wish my Mom have been as accepting as you. Your blog means a lot to a lot of different people. Kudos.
CJ, you are one lucky little guy.
Would love a copy of the book – absolutely love Dan Savage!
Thanks for sharing your journey with us – you are truly doing an amazing job.
I would love a copy of the book!
I, too, wish we wouldn’t have to rely on the hope it would get better . . . because it would be so much better if it already were that way now.
ooh ooh, pick me. show cj my picture and hint broadly that i MIGHT BE santa!
slight image correction. that was my half beard, i am at full beard now.
You consistently break my heart and make me smile every time I read your blog. I’m so thankful that I saw this on Queerty. As a member of the LGBT community that as an adult still does not have the loving acceptance of my mother I personally would like to thank you for how lovingly you are raising your children.
The It Get’s Better campaign is so touching and one day there will no longer be a need because I honestly believe it WILL be better.
Also, I love the CJ has red hair. Little boys with red hair always remind me of my little brother, as we both have red hair as well.
“People don’t like what they don’t understand.”
Love is love no matter what color, race, religion, gender, sex, age, or orientation. I thought our society put away their ignorant thoughts when we elected a black man as president. But clearly we’re still stuck in a time of judgement and hatred. People need to be educated on love and acceptance. And until that time comes, all of our children, whether fat, ugly, poor or homosexual, will be ridiculed by those who simply don’t understand.
I was a little girl who preferred playing sports and racing cars while my little brother loved getting his toenails painted and playing with my neglected Barbies. I’m thankful my parents didn’t have any pretense about gender stereotypes (my brother and I would always switch the McDonald’s toys!). CJ – you sound like a fantastic kid, and your mom clearly cares a lot about you. All the best! Love your blog 🙂
It Gets Better is simply amazing! Its helping so many kids learn to love themselves and have hope for the future. I would have loved to have seen those sorts of videos and messages when I was younger, but thankfully I had a family that was much like you are with your wonderful son, CJ. They loved me no matter what I said or did or happened to like (at three I wanted to grow up to be Strawberry Shortcake so I could marry He-Man) Your doing a great job! Dont let anything or anyone get you down! Much Love!!! ❤
CJ pick me! Mom-You will LOVE it if CJ becomes an actor, there is nothing like seeing your kid on stage. There was a children’s ballet class in Dana Point which I signed my son up for 18 years ago. At the performance of Aladdin (a boy had to star natch) I turned to my husband and said – Who is that child, is he ours? It has been a fabulous and fun ride ever since.
To CJ: Glitter and Monkeys!
To Mom: Kudos for being an advocate.
LOL Glitter and monkeys?! I think I might love you oh unknown internet person!!
I totally agree! There should be NO reason for a campaign designated to tell people that “It Gets Better” because this type of thing should never be taking place period.. http://www.thetrevorproject.org/ Should be a resource in ALL schools, just as there’s support for “normal” students who contemplate suicide.. But some of those resources don’t necessarily have experience in specific LGBTQ issues..
And you, CJ’s mom, keep up your great work and openness with your child and HOPEFULLY he will always know that he can come to you with any issues that may arise.. Pro-activeness is key when raising a child, perhaps if my mother had been more proactive in my orientation then those thoughts never would have crossed my mind.. Lucky for me though, I’m still here.. 🙂