The It Gets Better Journey

Com­pany mem­bers will con­duct a mul­ti­me­dia jour­ney through the brief but pow­er­ful his­tory of the It Gets Bet­ter move­ment, includ­ing a detailed dis­cus­sion of the devel­op­ment of the new live stage work, it gets bet­ter, and a curated selec­tion of videos form the project.

The first part of the pre­sen­ta­tion fol­lows the time­line of events that inspired Dan Sav­age and his part­ner Terry Miller to record the first video in Sep­tem­ber 2010. The cou­ple was inspired to take action after being moved by one too many news sto­ries about young lives cut short as a result of bul­ly­ing and iso­la­tion. Sev­eral of these teens and chil­dren iden­ti­fied as gay or les­bian (or were per­ceived as such by their peers), while oth­ers were merely tar­geted because of their “differentness.”

Their video went live on Sep­tem­ber 21. One month later, Pres­i­dent Obama uploaded his video for the now‐global project, and the site reached 10 mil­lion views and 100,000 reg­is­tered sup­port­ers.
Those who wanted to add their own videos to the site were asked to take this pledge:

Every­one deserves to be respected for who they are. I pledge to spread this mes­sage to my friends, fam­ily and neigh­bors. I’ll speak up against hate and intol­er­ance when­ever I see it, at school and at work. I’ll pro­vide hope for les­bian, gay, bi, trans­gen­der and other bul­lied teens by let­ting them know that “It Gets Better.”

The Gay Men’s Cho­rus of Los Ange­les (GMCLA) was one of the first orga­ni­za­tions to pro­duce its own It Gets Bet­ter video in Octo­ber 2010: Cyndi Lauper’s “True Col­ors,” arranged by Matthew Brown, which has become emblem­atic of the anti‐bullying move­ment. The video has now been viewed more than 900,000 times around the world.

GMCLA has per­formed since 1979 to bring an end to homo­pho­bia and dis­crim­i­na­tion of all kinds through the enter­tain­ment and edu­ca­tion of its community.

The Chorus’s expe­ri­ence work­ing with high school stu­dents blos­somed in 2008 with the Alive Music Project, which brings live per­for­mance, music edu­ca­tion, his­tory, anti‐bullying and the shar­ing of per­sonal tri­umphs to Los Ange­les area class­rooms. Com­bin­ing those ele­ments with the It Gets Bet­ter mes­sage was a nat­ural next step.

It Gets Bet­ter Jour­ney par­tic­i­pants will be taken behind the scenes to wit­ness the devel­op­ment of the live stage work from ini­tial incep­tion, selec­tion of music, col­lab­o­ra­tive script devel­op­ment, early work­shop expe­ri­ences, and work with an inter­na­tion­ally renowned group of artists and edu­ca­tors. Com­pany mem­bers will share their per­sonal sto­ries and offer reflec­tions about the mis­sion of it gets bet­ter ‐ includ­ing expe­ri­ences on the road with the pro­duc­tion. This pre­sen­ta­tion also addresses some of the con­tro­versy about the It Gets Bet­ter Project, specif­i­cally the need for more imme­di­ate com­mu­nity action to make life bet­ter imme­di­ately for LGBT youth in all com­mu­ni­ties. (50 min­utes, includ­ing Q&A; max­i­mum par­tic­i­pants: 40. Audio/video pro­jec­tion capa­bil­ity required.)

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