It Gets Better

It's been a terrible couple of weeks. Stories of LGBTQetc youth killing themselves have been hitting the web, it seems, every couple of days. It's been so intense that many, many people have begun talking about queer youth suicide. People have been railing about it, howling about it. Well bless everyone who's been doing that. And bless Dan Savage for starting up the It Gets Better Project on YouTube. This is my contribution to that project. 



In my video, I promise folks that they can come to this blog and get yourself a Get Out of Hell Free card. Well, click here to get your card. You can print it out and carry it around with you. Heck, you can even make copies and hand 'em out to your friends. 

Here's how it works: you do whatever it takes to make your life more worth living. Anything. Anything at all. It can be immoral, unethical, or illegal (can't help you if you get caught on the illegal stuff). It can even be self-destructive. I often do self-destructive things because it seems to me—when I'm really down in the depths—that only the self-destructive stuff is gonna make life more worth living. 

So… you do anything it takes—anything at all—to make your life more worth living. There's only one rule that makes that sort of blanket permission work: Don't be mean. That's the only rule you ever need to follow to make sure that your life is gonna get better.

If you're not mean, you can do anything it takes to make your life more worth living. And if you get sent to Hell for doing something that wasn't mean to someone? Hang on to the card. Give it to Satan. I'll do your time for you. Yep. I told Satan I'd do that, and Satan agreed that'd be a fun thing to do for all of us. 

It takes true courage to follow your outlaw identities and desires in the world. Doing that nearly always ends you up with less worldly power. But I promise: you can always do something to make your life better every single day of your freaky geeky life. 

Go do that, right now. Please.

kiss kiss

Your Auntie Kate


  1. You’re the best Auntie ever, and that was a beautiful message. This is one bandwagon worth jumping on.
    thank you for lending your voice and energy and love.

  2. I am so glad you made it through those six times, because your work makes the world a much better place.
    You are one beautiful freak!

  3. Thank you for that ~ it made me cry in the best possible way 🙂 <3

  4. I love you Auntie Kate. You make me so happy SweetKittenToes.

  5. You are so amazing! And I am so lucky, because you’re coming to my University, KU next week! Yaaayyyyyy!!!! I so cannot wait!

  6. Hi Auntie Kate! I’m a 44 year old Radical Faerie and I SOOOOO needed to hear your message just now. Thanks much. I saw you perform in Seattle around 15 years ago and you educated me a LOT about gender issues. You are a blessing and you are blessed.
    Leo Starfucker Sunshine

  7. hi Kate, we met many-many years ago, at a Union Institute seminar in CA. You were there teaching with Minnie Bruce Pratt and Nancy Owens. I am the greek gal that was at the seminar. The ‘Gender Breaking, Blending, Bending’ week changed my whole view on gender and life. I still talk about it to my friends and trainees. Thank you for making the video, thank you for being ‘you’, thank you for being outspoken and caring.

  8. Dear Kate,
    How truly charming you are! I’m 45, I’m fully out, and I still needed to hear what you had to say right now. Thank you from the very bottom of my very queer heart,

  9. Thank you so much, I’ve really been having a hard time and you made me feel so much better, you really are blessed! <3 Satine

  10. You made my life so much better. Today was such a shitty day and I spent it crying. Thank you for reminding me that it gets better. That ‘Get Out Of Hell Free’ card helps too. Much love and appreciation to you.
    PS. I really wish I lived with you!

  11. Kate,
    I just want to thank you so much for coming to Rachel V.’s class today at KU. You’ve really inspired me to rethink the standards I have preset in my mind and to be a better person. I wish I could see you perform at Hash hall tomorrow night, but I have a test around the same time. I’ll try to make it if I can. You’re truly inspiring!

  12. Dear Kate,
    You are a huge inspiration to my generation. The world these days to me seem to get worse or worse. I mean, myspace is now known to 3rd graders! My friend smokes and he’s a sophmore in high school. I’m a pansexual female and ever since I changed schools, I feel scared to react to both females and males. They are not like me at all. Thank you so much.
    -A sophmore in high school.

  13. I teared up, really. Thanks Kate, I love you too.

  14. aw, kate, you’re adorable!
    i’m lucky– i have a good relationship with a God who is just delighted with my queer-as-fuck sex and gender. but i took the “get out of hell free” card anyway. just in case. 😉

  15. BTW, one of my dearest friends who is somewhat agnostic says that I am into religion enough for a dozen people and that if she finds herself at the pearly gates being questioned, she’s going to say she’s on my list. So now I tell people that all the time–that they can say they’re on my list.

  16. it’s me, ulla. nope you won’t know the name. i pop up every few years to squawk about how much i love nearly roadkill. i bugged you on twitter too, when i was on twitter. and now i’m fangurling at you again for that very touching, wry, genuine video.
    <3 aunt kate - yer just the most amazingly compassionate woman.
    thank you.

  17. It means so much to see someone saying that even though it gets better, that doesn’t mean the struggle to want to stay alive stops. Also, you’re book (well, all of your books, but especially ‘Hello Cruel World’) should be required reading in middle school. It would make the world a much better place.
    You have done so much for me, and for many people I know. Thank you for everything, Auntie.

  18. I so love this.
    Utter perfection.

  19. Thank you, Auntie Kate. You are really sweet and amazing. Keep at it!

  20. Out of all the many “It Gets Better” videos that I watched, yours was the one that stuck with me the most. You seem like the most sincere person and I really respect you for everything that you do and say to help others. Your message is very eye opening and I will keep it with me forever. Thank You.

  21. I love that you’re telling people that their life is worth more to you than any judgement you might have about how they keep their life meaningful.
    This side of the ‘mean’ boundary, of course.
    And with that in mind: Congratulations on being you. Stick with it, Auntie Kate. 🙂

  22. Carol the Long Winded

    i adore you, and Hello Cruel World got me through some very dark times, just like Gender Outlaw allowed me to feel free to be more “feminine.” Honestly, you are this millinieum’s Mr. Rogers. Thank you for being you.

  23. Dear Carol,
    I’ve been called many things, but “this millenium’s Mr. Rogers?” Never. I like it. I always saw myself as this millenium’s Mr. Ed. kiss kiss, K

  24. Dear Kate,
    Your “My Gender Workbook” was a lifesaver when I was 26 and going through some shit, and now I stumble upon a youtube video by you that is so very comforting, now that I am once again going through some shit. Pretty heavy shit, actually. I thought once I got to this age, life would pretty much run smoothly. It’s a frigging roller-coaster ride to the end, isn’t it? Here’s to making life worth living, every single smegging day. You’re beautiful, and bold, and you have my thanks for being one of the folks who help make my life worth living.

  25. Hello Kate,
    This is Joel from KU (UK? [it was actually explained to me recently that UK might in fact be University of Kentucky is why that happened]). I had to leave the meeting that had occurred at that church, and I was unable to say goodbye to you before you left Kansas! (due to circumstances or some such).
    Therefore, I just wanted to say thank you very much for coming to our school; it was just as awesome as I had been expecting. Hopefully I will be able to see/talk with you again at some point in time.

  26. hi kate,
    this is nev from hong kong. i’ve suffered bi-polar disorder for 5 years… just keep taking numerous anti-psycho pills everyday… i tried to kill myself 4 times… i did it again few days ago…
    i’m living with shit, the whole world abandons me, forgets me…
    my life is… something like eating shit every single minute, one more minute i live, one more minute i eat shit…
    even my parents, i’m staying in hospital now, three days already… they’ve never showed up in front of me… my life is just a load of shit!
    i’ll be locked into mental hospital if i lose control again… all i want is to end up my life… i want to end up all pathetic feelings, illusions, desperations i am suffering…
    i feel no hope totally… i am just a excessive waste in this planet…
    sorry for my poor english…

  27. Dearest Nev,
    Oh, baby. I am SO sorry to hear that life is that hard for you. I wish I could be there to hold your hand. Is there anyone you trust nearby? Anyone who says they love you and maybe they really mean it… even if you think they don’t mean it? That would be a good person to call to your bedside right now.
    Other than that… has there ever been a bit of spiritual wisdom that has made you feel peaceful? What might that be?
    Please try downloading this PDF and see if it helps:
    I wish you comfort, honey, and as much peace as possible.

  28. Hey, Joel. It was great meeting you. I’m sure we’ll see each other again some day. That’s how it seems to work in our part of the underground. ::hugs:: Auntie Kate

  29. hi kate,
    it’s nev again…
    when someone tried to hurt his family physically, lived in psychiatric ward for 2 months (accumulate over a year), i do believe his family would leave him… it’s me…
    i isolate myself from this world, no one to talk to… my best pals are nitrazepam, lorazepam and cannabis… i always OD and pray to god that i can end up my screwed up life…
    i’m reading the suicide note of Mitchell Heisman, and trying to learn how he planned his action so well, so perfect..
    merci, ciao,

  30. hi nev. it sounds like you are in such pain. i wish you comfort, dear, and i wish there was more i could do for you. love, Kate

  31. Kate,
    I heard you speak a decade or two ago to a higher education group. A thought you shared with us has stuck with me ever since and has guided my professional and personal work. It has come back to my mind given the publicized suicides of the past few months. You said that — at the time – while violence against gays (especially) had declined, suicide was up.
    You said we were no longer killing gay teens. We were making them kill themselves.
    I know those are not the exact words, but those of us in ally roles today might benefit from reading your thoughts about that today. Thanks for helping all of us.

  32. Ditto on the *best auntie ever* comments. <3
    best. ever.

  33. Dear Kate,
    This is jessi. I watched this video and I cryed. I have been going through every sort of self harm imaginable to keep myself alive and it just doesn’t seem worth it. I am on anti depressive meds and they don’t help. I’m sorry I am asking for your love because I feel like you share your love with so many people, god, i wouldnt have the enegy. I bought your book last year and keep it by my bed. it helps so much and is probably the reason why i am still here. I always end up asking the question if suffering (staying alive) is more painful than dying. i dont know what i am doing here and was wondering if you could give me some words of advice or love.

  34. Dear Jessi,
    Oh, honey… I’m so sorry to read how you’re suffering. And yes, you’ve got my love all around you, like a hug, whenever you want that.
    Now, you write about me sharing my love with so many people, and that you wouldn’t have the energy to do that. Well, I bet you *do* have the energy to do just that. For me it’s the act of sharing love that gives me the energy to keep on going.
    I don’t know how old you are, or what your living situation is, but is there any chance you could volunteer to help out in a charitable or activist group that you believe in? That would help put your beliefs into actions, and that would certainly help you get closer to discovering what it is you’re doing here. Does that sound like something you could do? Please give that a try and let me know if that helps.
    BIG love to you.

  35. Thank you for repeatedly saving my life, Auntie Kate.

  36. Dear Pax,
    It’s my great pleasure to hear you’re alive and kickin’. So… you’re welcome, and thank you for letting me know I’ve been a good set of training wheels for ya. Sooner than you think, you’re gonna be saving your life all on your own.
    kiss kiss,
    Auntie Kate

  37. I just wanted to say thank you. So much. I don’t even have words for how much your book helped me(which, for me, is new) and I don’t know if this is the right place to post this, but thank you. Thank you for being the wonderful person you are, and sharing yourself with the world.

  38. Hi, Kate.
    I almost OD’d for the first time the night before last, and ended up in the hospital with my fiance. He’s now considering leaving me. I feel utterly alone, and the idea of losing a member of my family like that because I was too weak to do something more constructive makes me feel at a loss.
    I’m sorry for leaving this message here, but I don’t really know where else to turn. I’m trying desperately to feel your love from here. I need it, and I don’t know how to let the hugs you give me people get to me.

  39. Sorry – typo: *I don’t know how to let the hugs you give to people get to me.

  40. Kate, this video really inspired me. I was wondering if I could get your email, I need some advice on something.
    Thank you so much, I posted your video on my facebook and all my friends love it!

  41. Hi Kittymaxwell, and ouch ouch ouch! I’m so sorry to hear life’s been that difficult for you. I did manage to find you on Twitter, and I’ve sent you a Direct Message to get in touch with you with the hugs you asked for. Give me an answer there, and I’ll do my best to help. xoxo K

  42. Dear Madii, I’m glad you found the video helpful. As to advice, the only place I’m able to make time for that is on Twitter. Please do get in touch at I’m pretty good at talking in 140 characters, so please do give that a try. xo Kate

  43. Brielle Nicole Marciano

    Dearest kate,
    this week has been absolutely ridiculous for me…midterms all week, bouts of depression, regretting decisions i haven’t even made yet… i’m a transgendered woman, born & raised in new york city but i feel as if i was raised in a small town has been very limited for me, my entire family has made it clear that once i fully transition, they want nothing to do with me.
    i’m finished with hormone therapy and by spring break i should have my first prescription..which is REALLY exiting for me.. but lately i’ve been doubting my decison…thoughts of eternal damnation have been running through my mind, never being able to find love, all that melodramatic shit..this week i’ve been crying like it’s nothing, self medicating by listening to my iPod. my therapist is like the keeper of my screts and i love her to death, but i feel like it’s just her job to listen to me..from a very young age i’ve been deficient in the love and support department.. and watching your video on the school computer while i should have been doing a spanish lesson on rosetta stone has made me feel the love i never got from anyone else. when you said i love you, i felt the love. it felt real, and i thank you for that. from now on, i will follow your philosphy on how to live life, not being mean lol. i feel like i’ve known you my entire life, you really are like an aunt. i truly hope you understand the impact you’ve had on my life, even though i’ve only known of your existence for 3 days, and me comming across your blog was purely coincidental.
    please believe i’ll be buying two of your books next week!
    thank you for being the inspiration i needed to get through this week(:
    much love,
    brielle marciano<3
    ( not gonna lie, i reaaaally hope you respond to this!) & when will you be comming back to new york?

  44. Dear Kate: The video is not visible from a NYC Dept of Education student computer. That means NYC teens cannot see it in schools. Please look into this problem. One possibility might be that YouTube is blocked. Vimeo, for example, is not.

  45. Hey, Camilla. I’m sorry that the video isn’t getting through. It’s on my to-do list, but may take a while. If you know someone who can post it sooner, I’m happy to send them a link to download the video so they can post it. It’s the best I can do, given the schedule I’m on. xoxo K

  46. Hi there Kate,
    I stumbled on this site because I am completely sick of my current life and was looking for alternatives to suicide. Everything about my life is railroading me into a nice set path of lifelong debt and servitude to a big faceless company. I am about to turn 30 and have NEVER done anything with my life except studying and work, always trying to get ahead and being knocked back by everything and everyone in life and I can’t see it ever changing. For the last few months I have had such a … yearning to simply get in my car see if I can get the needle to the top and drive headfirst in the most solid object I can find. I feel like I have worked myself into the bottom of hole and now I can’t even see the daylight anymore. My guess is you hear this story often so I want to ask, ‘How?’ how can I take that first step towards living a life I want to? I just feel like I’m too far gone to be able to be helped.

  47. Dear Kate, I am a lgbt-books reviewer from the Netherlands and I wrote a very positive review about your 101 alternatives to suicide book! In dutch, so you won’t be able to read it. Sorry.

  48. Hi Kate,
    It really does get better, you just have to go do whatever it takes to make it so. I’m a post-op TS and I recently went through my own journey to improve my life, as I felt like I had paused somewhere in my transition and had not made any progress in quite some time. I had never gone and created a sex-life for myself after my operation, for over eight years. I became inspired by some sex blogs written by some women who were fully self-actualized and knew how to go get what they want. I have since created my own blog to share my experiences. I hope that it may inspire some other transgendered people to go and do whatever it takes to find their own fulfillment. My blog address is I hope someone out there finds it inspirational, or at least interesting.

  49. hi, i randomly read your book while i wanted to kill myself a few years ago. i am gender queer and so is my husband/wife, who just told me that he wants to be a woman sometimes. i came across your ‘it gets better’ video researching cross-dressing. i can’t believe you are the same person who wrote that book. i really might have done it but that book helped a lot.

  50. Your words are very powerful & enlightening, i hope one day my story will have an impact on others…..please continue your great work

  51. Kate your awesome and thank you for that. I might submit my own video too providing hope and words of encouragement to the lgbt community.

  52. Georgia Lichter-Tournai

    Kate –
    I hope you remember me – I drove you to UNC for you to speak at the college in Greeley, Colorado about three years ago. It was such an honor to meet you and I just wanted you to know that I miss you and think about you and our meeting often – I hope we will be able to meet again.
    Much love,
    Georgia Lichter-Tournai
    I’m on facebook, too 🙂

  53. Dear Kate
    I am a 19 year old freaky geeky arty girl loving girl from South Africa. I cannot tell you how many times I have wanted to commit suicide. I have recovered from depression (mostly) for 2 years now and am in a long term lesbian relationship…which can be pretty rough at times. If only I had found your video when I was 17 and truly in the depths of despair and thinking of ending it. I love you. I still watch this video every time I feel worthless, alone, filled with guilt and regret or whenever I truly feel I can’t go on. thank you so much for being you and for sharing yourself with us. Even though I have never met you, I feel as if you have held my hand in times of need.
    Love Love

  54. I wants myself a copy of Hello Cruel World. Sigh <3
    mwah auntie Kate

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