b-activists: Dan Savage is the man behind the campaign that tells gay youth #It Gets Better

photo courtesy of americansfortruth.com

photo courtesy of americansfortruth.com

“If there are 14, 15, 16 year olds…12, 13 year olds watching this video, what I would love you to take away from it really is that IT GETS BETTER. However bad it is now, it gets better. And it can get great, it can get awesome. Your life can be amazing but you have to tough this period of it out, and you have to live your life so that you’re around for it to get amazing. And it can. And it will.”

This is the message that advice columnist and gay activist, Dan Savage, is determined to get across to teenagers around the country who are being bullied and harassed for being different. Moved by the story of Bill Lucas, a 15-year old from Indiana who committed suicide after years of homophobic bullying from his classmates, as well as the tragic spate of teenage deaths related to bullying, Savage launched the ‘It Gets Better’ project on September 22nd as an online support system for LGBT youth. The project, which takes the form of a YouTube video channel, houses videos from LGBTQ adults around the nation who share their personal stories of suffering and surviving high school bullying and harassment and then moving on to build successful and happy professional and personal lives.

Talking to MTV about the need for the ‘It Gets Better’ project, Savage said-

“I posted something to my blog about Billy Lucas…and about Justin Aaberg [another teenager who committed suicide after being bullied at school] in Minnesota, and the reaction as an openly gay adult, always, when you read these stories is, ‘I wish I could’ve talked to this kid for five minutes, so I could’ve told him it gets better…And it occurred to me…I could use social media, I could go on YouTube, I could make a digital video and I could post it, and I could directly address them and tell them, ‘It gets better. When a gay teenager commits suicide, it’s because he can’t picture a life for himself that’s filled with joy and family and pleasure and is worth sticking around for. So I felt it was really important that, as gay adults, we show them that our lives are good and happy and healthy and that there’s a life worth sticking around for after high school.”

The video that launched the project is one in which Savage and his partner of 6 years, Terry, open up about their own experiences of bullying, moving on to their careers, finding each other and becoming parents. Watch the video below-

Savage told the New York Times that within 24 hours of the launch, he received about 3000 emails from teenagers, and now, hundreds of people have uploaded their videos to the YouTube channel. If you have a story, go ahead and upload it. Otherwise share away- let’s harness the power of social media for all that its worth!

October 1, 2010 by ishita
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