The It Gets Better Project has packed it’s bags and hit the road. As a proud cast member of The It Gets Better musical, I have taken to the streets of this country in hopes of bringing about positive changes for our nation’s LGBT youth. In addition to performing our show in each city, we visit college classrooms, High School GSA’s and other community groups to discuss ways to make things better for their LGBT youth. I must say that although I am the one who is supposed to be teaching the students, giving information, and facilitating change, I am pretty sure that I am the one getting schooled. I can definitely say that I am smarter than I was when I left home.
The tour’s first stop was Pennsylvania State University. While we were there, we were invited to visit an undergraduate sociology lecture about sexual diversity. As soon as the class started, one of the very first things the professor shouted to his class of over 800 people was, “SO WHO LIKES FELLATIO?!” Had I been drinking water at that moment it would have been a spit take for sure. This was definitely NOT the sociology class I took at my little Christian college in Azusa.
Throughout the lecture, the It Gets Better cast sang songs from our show, shared our personal stories of being bullied/coming out of the closet as well what our lives are like now. We interacted with the students, participated in exercises and answered any questions the students asked, regardless of how personal. Now the professor asked a number “instant data collection” questions to his class. The students answered these questions by using clickers (Apparently the pencil and paper have gone the way of the dinosaur) and their responses showed up anonymously on the screen in front.
After a thoroughly educational and entertaining lecture, the class concluded with one final and rather disturbing question. The inquiry: “If you knew for 100% sure that your child would grow up to be gay, would you electively terminate that pregnancy?” I was shocked by the question. I was even more shocked by the answer. 17% of the class answered with a resounding “yes”.
After spending 2 hours listening to our stories, asking us questions and getting to know us as individuals, 136 of those students still said they would rather have an abortion than raise a gay child. Talk about a gut punch. Now part of me REALLY wanted to ask if those “yes” people only answered that way because they were afraid of their child being bullied or having social difficulties. I decided not to ask. I think I was a little too afraid of what the answer would be.
We’ve got a couple more stops left on this tour. We’re going to Lawrence Kansas and then Seattle Washington. I can only imagine what I will learn in these cities. But in the mean time, like I mentioned, I can definitely say that I am smarter than I was before I left home. By about 17%.