The Center for Building a Culture of Empathy

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It Gets Better Video Transcript

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Video for the ďIt Gets BetterĒ Project
Washington, DC

Like all of you, I was shocked and saddened by the deaths of several young people who were bullied and taunted for being gay, and who ultimately took their own lives. As a parent of two daughters, it breaks my heart. Itís something that just shouldnít happen in this country.

Weíve got to dispel the myth that bullying is just a normal rite of passage Ė that itís some inevitable part of growing up. Itís not. We have an obligation to ensure that our schools are safe forall of our kids. And to every young person out there you need to know that if youíre in trouble, there are caring adults who can help.

I donít know what itís like to be picked on for being gay. But I do know what itís like to grow up feeling that sometimes you donít belong. Itís tough. And for a lot of kids, the sense of being alone or apart Ė I know can just wear on you. And when youíre teased or bullied, it can seem like somehow you brought it on yourself Ė for being different, or for not fitting in with everybody else.

But what I want to say is this. You are not alone. You didnít do anything wrong. You didnít do anything to deserve being bullied. And there is a whole world waiting for you, filled with possibilities. There are people out there who love you and care about you just the way you are. And so, if you ever feel like because of bullying, because of what people are saying, that youíre getting down on yourself, youíve got to make sure to reach out to people you trust. Whether itís your parents, teachers, folks that you know care about you just the way you are. Youíve got to reach out to them, donít feel like youíre in this by yourself.

The other thing you need to know is, things will get better. And more than that, with time youíre going to see that your differences are a source of pride and a source of strength. Youíll look back on the struggles youíve faced with compassion and wisdom. And thatís not just going to serve you, but it will help you get involved and make this country a better place.

It will mean that youíll be more likely to help fight discrimination Ė not just against LGBT Americans, but discrimination in all its forms. It means youíll be more likely to understand personally and deeply why itís so important that as adults we set an example in our own lives and that we treat everybody with respect. That we are able to see the world through other peopleís eyes and stand in their shoes Ė that we never lose sight of what binds us together.

As a nation weíre founded on the belief that all of us are equal and each of us deserves the freedom to pursue our own version of happiness; to make the most of our talents; to speak our minds; to not fit in; most of all, to be true to ourselves. Thatís the freedom that enriches all of us. Thatís what America is all about. And every day, it gets better.