I Give Thanks that It Gets Better

One of the elements of Thanksgiving that I hold dear is that it is celebrated, year in and year out, no matter what the circumstances surrounding the day may be. In the times of deepest distress in our country — I think of the Civil War or the Great Depression — Thanksgiving was celebrated. In times of progress and prosperity, like the rise of the middle class in the 1950’s and 1960’s, Thanksgiving was celebrated.

It can be argued persuasively, I think, that this has not been the most joyful or prosperous season for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) faithful community in the United States or across the world. We saw the spotlight turned to the rampant bullying of gay youth in our culture as we learned of the egregious death of Tyler Clementi and so many others. And the Ugandan parliament still has a bill before it, nurtured by American evangelicals, in which being gay is punishable by life imprisonment or death. Christian collusion in all of this compromises the Gospel of God’s love in Jesus Christ, crippling any Christian word to the world.

Still, in this setting, there is much for which we can give thanks.

In particular, in this season, I give thanks for The Trevor Project and the It Gets Better Project – which lifts up to LGBT youth that it will indeed get better. I am grateful to the inspiration that has caused so many to speak up in short videos about their experience that life got better and for their solidarity with LGBT people, not just youth. And I am grateful for all the people who have watched these videos.

I am grateful that there is no going back on this road to loving acceptance of God’s LGBT children. I am grateful that how to go has been clear since the Stonewall Uprising and more and more LGBT people have embraced Harvey Milk’s wisdom commending coming out as the best action we ourselves can take to end this prejudice.

I am grateful that the church is coming around to this understanding, however slowly. I am grateful for the Christians who no longer feel that silence is enough and are speaking up for Jesus’ promise that He draws all to Himself. And I am grateful that those who hold a different understanding of Scripture’s message or of God’s will are willing to listen to the faithful, heartfelt understanding of other Christians like me.

I give thanks that experience has taught me it gets better. For what do you give thanks?


Reverend Janet

3 Responses
  • Donna on November 26, 2010

    Dear Janet,

    Last night I watched videos from 1995-1997 – Ellen DeGenerous’ original sitcom “Ellen” – where she came out. I remembered the inspiration and laughter brought to me (and my friends who gathered with me to watch the original shows) back then: hope and laughter from a gifted woman doing what she felt was right. We knew the work she was doing was special – from being “ahead of her time” to saving young GLBT people’s lives by giving them a message of hope.

    Thirteen – fifteen years later and many strides have been made in this world for GLBT people, which all basically rest on an individual’s courage to be out along with straight allies who know the truth of goodness in their GLBT friends.

    My prayers and gratitude for you and all who have the courage to press on with messages of hope and “it gets better.”


  • Janet Edwards on November 26, 2010

    Dear Donna,

    Thank you for this great memory! I am grateful that the times are catching up with Ellen.

    And I am grateful for your encouragement and witness.

    Peace be with you, Donna,


  • Jean Thomas on November 29, 2010

    I am especially grateful for you and your tenacity and optimism that eventually the powers that be in the Presbyterian church and elsewhere will eventually be moved just a little. You are a wonderful example. Jean

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