Jess’s Team Pick: The “It Gets Better” Book

Culled and adapted from the 6,000+ videos submitted on YouTube (we made one too), the new book version — It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living — features handpicked essays and letters from contributors famous and obscure, gay and straight, including Barack Obama, Ellen DeGeneres, David Sedaris, Suze Orman, Hillary Clinton and Autostraddle’s own Gabrielle Rivera!

Inspired by the hoards of rich and famous celebrities voicing what she felt to be empty promises, Gabrielle’s #ItGetsBetter video stood out from the thousands and caught the attention of Dan Savage because she contradicts the entire thesis of the campaign:

“…as a gay woman of color, I just want to let the youth know that it kinda doesn’t get better. I’m gonna be real. I’m not rich, I’m brown and I look like probably most of you. It doesn’t get better, but what does happen is that you get stronger. You realize what’s going on, you see how people are, you see how the world is. And, as an adult, you learn how to deal with it.”

We initially discovered Gabrielle last summer through “Spanish Girls Are Beautiful,” the 20 minute short film she made  in 2007 and made her spill the details on How [She] Turned Straight Actors Into Badass Butch Queers In Three Days Flat.  She recently voiced her frustration with the Oscars not giving any love to “For Colored Girls” and introduced you to her favorite poet/musician/playwright, Rock Wilk.

Check out her story in the Lambda Award winning Portland Queer: Tales of the Rose City, her interview with My Latino Voice and

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Jess is a pop culture junkie living in New York City. She enjoys endless debates about The L Word, Howard Stern, new techy gadgets, DVR, exploring the labyrinth of the Lesbian Internet, memoirs, working out, sushi, making lists, artsy things, anything Lady Gaga touches, traveling, puppies, and nyc in the fall. Find her on Twitter @jessxnyc or via email.

Jess has written 240 articles for us.


  1. Way to tell it Gabrielle Rivera. No happy story just to make it more palatable, just reality.

  2. Her It Gets better video made me a little prouder and a little stronger just by watching it. Thanks Gabrielle for making it.

  3. support the book ladies. all proceeds go to the Trevor Project.

    The Trevor Project is an American non-profit organization and the leading national organization focused on suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. The Trevor Project operates The Trevor Lifeline, a toll-free number, is a confidential service that offers trained counselors. The Trevor Project also provides guidance and vital resources to parents and educators in order to foster safe, accepting and inclusive environments for all youth, at home and at school.

  4. That was terrific, Gabrielle!

    Even though I’m one of those darned straight people, I’ve been identifying a great deal with a lot of the It Gets Better videos. I’ve been caught in the throes of a devastating eating disorder and depression for about 6 years. I’ve alienated so many of my loved ones, and feel very alone.

    It’s been easy for people who aren’t dealing with the shit I’ve got swirling around in my head to say “it gets better”. Others, who come from a less well-meaning place, call me me a “freak”. I’ve contemplated suicide several times.

    But Gabrielle’s video in particular shows that “it” doesn’t get better. Whatever “it” is–homosexuality, depression, eating disorders, addictions, whatever. I know you can’t equate homosexuality with addictions, because unlike addictions, being gay isn’t something that can be overcome. But the point is that “it” doesn’t get better if you don’t find that little spark within yourself that encourages you to keep going. Power comes from within, not from some celebrity lounging by a pool in Hollywood.

    I’m just letting you all know that the IGB campaign has affected people beyond the gay community. :)

    Thank you.

  5. i learned a long time ago that it doesn’t really “gets better”, it’s ourselves who evolve and “get better”and by that i mean stronger and more proud of what we are. it’s even harder for people who doesn’t have their parents and friends support.
    I think that those are the ones who really understand the meaning of the whole It Gets Better Project..

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