As a gay woman of color, I just want to let you know that it kind of doesn't get better. All these straight, rich celebrities, I'm not even going to name them, they can tell you that it gets better because they've got money and people don't care what they do. They're comin' from a good place and stuff. And I appreciate that, but I'm going to be real, because I live this life and I'm not rich and I'm brown and I probably look like most of you.

First of all, it doesn't get better but what does happen is this: You get stronger.

An excerpt from "Getting Stronger and Staying Alive" by Gabrielle Rivera, one of the featured essays in It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living. Rivera writes for the Autostraddle, "a progressively feminist online community for a new generation of kickass lesbian, bisexual & otherwise inclined ladies (and their friends)." You can—and should—follow Gabrielle Rivera on Twitter.