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In September of 2010, "It Gets Better" became a conversation across the United States. A surge in LGBTQ youth suicide motivated prominent members of the LGBTQ community to share powerful anecdotes about the joy of queer adulthood. These messages addressed youth in the throes of an often tumultuous LGBTQ experience.

I became interested in quantifying “it gets better.” How could data help tell this story and demonstrate that LGBTQ life does in fact get better as time goes on?

Brandi Carlile rose to fame in 2008 when “The Story” became an international hit. As a lifelong Brandi fan, I ran a sentiment analysis of her music, which included some unreleased tracks I was gifted before she made it big. In addition to basic metrics about length and release date, I assigned each of her songs a primary and secondary theme, ranging from trail, pain and loss to peace, joy, and gain.

A chronological mapping of BRANDI'S MUSIC, complete with a primary and secondary sentiment, demonstrates that while HER music is diverse and complex throughout her career, IT reflects increased positivity over time.

While this analysis is far from a scientific approach to quantifying “it gets better,” it does offer an added level of depth as we understand the LGBTQ experience and the peace that comes from self-acceptance and est identity.

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"I wish I could have talked to this kid for five minutes.

I wish I could have told [HIM] that it gets better.

I wish I could have told him that, however bad things were, however isolated and alone he was,

it gets better." 


Dan Savage

Founder of The It Gets Better Project

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