In this powerful video by the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, an organization dedicated to promoting healthy development for gay youth, young people share highly emotional and personal anecdotes about the struggles they've faced growing up gay.

The video, which is called "Dear 40-Year-Old Me," starts out fairly lighthearted as young people address themselves in the future. "Do you remember when you looked this hot?," asks one woman, pointing to herself.

But then things take a serious turn as several recall the difficulty of being gay and navigating high school at the same time. One woman starts to break down as she remembers keeping her homosexuality a secret. "That was tough because you felt like you were stifling yourself, and if you could just tell people, then you could be yourself and you could be amazing," she said.

Others remember coming out to their parents, such as one young man who was called a gay slur by his mother and who received a savage beating at the hands of his stepfather.

And yet, their lives take a dramatic turn when they joined the Alliance, which allowed them to help make anti-bullying policy changes and create better lives for themselves and those like them. Watch the inspirational video above.