"It Gets Better" at PSR

November 16, 2010

On October 19, Pacific School of Religion trustees, faculty, staff, and students gathered in the Chapel of the Great Commission on the PSR campus to add their voices to the chorus around the country proclaiming to gay youth that “It Gets Better.”

The “It Gets Better” project was originated in September by Seattle columnist Dan Savage in response to the news of suicides of gay teens who had experienced bullying and harassment. Savage and his partner produced a video with words of reassurance that “it gets better.” To date, more than 5,000 similarly supportive videos have been posted on the project Web site at www.itgetsbetterproject.com.

In October, PSR released a statement lamenting the suicides and calling for religious leaders to recognize the sacred responsibility to protect the dignity and self-worth of all God’s children. “Let us now redouble our efforts to ensure that all LGBT teenagers in the United States and around the world know how deeply they are loved for exactly who they are,” said Riess Potterveld, president of PSR.

In the PSR video now online, clergy, seminarians, and laity are led off by Roland Stringfellow, director of ministerial outreach at the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry (CLGS), which was founded at PSR in 2000 as the first LGBT center at an American seminary. Individual PSR and Graduate Theological Union community members also speak out, including Sharon MacArthur, chair of the PSR Board of Trustees; Trustee Linda Jaramillo, speaking in both English and Spanish; and Admissions and Recruitment Director Nicole Naffaa, who provided the initiative for the video project.

At the Transgender Religious Leaders Summit 2010 held at PSR on November 5-6, participants gathered to create their own “It Gets Better” video, led by Rabbi Reuben Zelman.

The Trevor Project (thetrevorproject.org) provides a free, confidential, 24-hour hotline within the U.S. at 1-866-4-U-Trevor or 866-488-7386.