Earlier this year, Brazil became the 15th country in the world (the 3rd in Latin America) to legalise gay marriage. Which is wonderful news. At the same time, though, it is not as good as it sounds. The Brazilian society, in general, is not very gay friendly. There are not a lot of public places, for instance, where you see gay couples holding hands or kissing without attracting judgemental looks or even violence. The fact that we are the most Catholic country in the world, with significant and fast growth of evangelical Christians, does not help at all.
A 2010 Unicef study on violence against the youth pointed that the risk of a young gay being murdered in Brazil is 785% higher than in the USA. And it’s not unusual to hear about brutal crimes against LGBT people on the news. All this affects the lives of LGBT people and the way they see themselves and their future, especially children and adolescents. As a consequence, depression and suicide rates amongst young gay people keep raising every year.
The It Gets Better Project has been changing this reality worldwide, since its first video in September 2010. The Project aims to bring a message of hope and belongingness to young gay people all over the world. It is a message of support, which shows the levels of happiness, potential and positivity their lives will reach in the future, if they just stay strong. It is also a call for action for both straight and gay people: we can make the world a better place and we want to inspire that change.
With that in mind, the American Consulate in Recife joined Instituto Papai to bring the It Gets Better Project to Brazil. Instituto Papai is a feminist NGO that has been fighting for equality of rights for men and women since 1997, regardless of their race, gender, age, sexual orientation or gender identity. The idea is to create the project “Tudo vai dar certo”, adapting the message to the context in Brazil, inspiring hope and change. And that’s where TIE comes in.
We will be placing a communications professional to create a campaign that will raise awareness of the project, and stimulate people to submit their videos and their stories. The website will give both gay and straight people the opportunity to show their support and send messages of love and happiness. We, at TIE, are very excited about this project. The possibilities of change coming from this project are endless and that is what drives us.