“Bart” continues his series of reflections on what it is to be a gay Catholic priest:
It gets better. It gets better. It gets better! These words have become something of a mantra over the past weeks as I watched clip after clip from the wall of videos uploaded on the It Gets Better Project site (itgetsbetter.org) and on YouTube. As anyone who’s been following events in the States knows, this project (set up by Dan Savage and his partner Terry) is aimed at giving support and encouragement to vulnerable (mainly LGBT) youth. It was set up after a number of gay and lesbian teens were driven to suicide after being bullied and harassed.
What struck me all the more about this project was the effect it was having on me. Here I am, a gay priest in his forties, being deeply moved as I watch testimony after testimony being given by persons of all ages and backgrounds. Some of the clips featured individuals; others presented couples, or parents with kids. There were a number of clips made by groups of persons, whether all gay or mixed gay-straight groups. On a number of occasions I cried tears of joy whilst hearing the stories of those who have come such a long way to be where they are now, and being able to witness to this change. Other times I felt sad because I too would like to be able to add my story to this cloud of witnesses who have come forward for the sake of others. Even though I have not arrived at the stage where I can go public about my identity, I have been strengthened in my resolve to press on with the coming-out process. Yes, even though the going can be tough at times, it is definitely getting better … for me as well!