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Summary:

Every adolescent needs to hear the message that no matter how bad things might be, things improve after high school — but gay teenagers especially need that encouragement. That’s just what Dan Savage and the other contributors to the “It Gets Better” project are offering.

dan savage

Every tortured adolescent needs to hear the message that no matter how bad things might be, things will improve after high school. And that goes double — perhaps triple — for gay teenagers, who, depending on their circumstances, may be dealing with social isolation, depression and bullying perhaps to the point of violence. So, that’s what activist/columnist Dan Savage and the other contributors to the “It Gets Better” project are doing, one YouTube video at a time.

Savage was inspired to create the project after hearing about the story of Billy s, a gay Indiana teenager who committed suicide after being taunting by his classmates. In his Sept. 22 column, Savage writes that “I wish I could have told Billy 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.”

“Why are we waiting for permission to talk to these kids? We have the ability to talk directly to them right now,” Savage continues. To do just that, Savage created the It Gets Better channel, which directly solicits contributions from anyone with a YouTube account who wants to share their experiences.

As of writing, 69 people have submitted videos for a total of 232,513 channel views. Savage’s videos, which also features his husband Terry, are currently at about 180,000 views combined. Currently the most viewed is Perez Hilton’s contribution, which is at about 28,000 views.

The result is a project with no end date and currently plenty of momentum; an outpouring of support and reassurance for the unknown and lost. And because it’s online, it can be found by anyone anywhere — hopefully, especially, those who need it.

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  1. SOBBING. Liz, this is an amazing story I probably would have missed this week. Thanks so much for sharing it.

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  2. here is my submission! its a bit more comedic than the “woe is me” vibe of the videos. enjoy!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLPAK0rlpec

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  3. [...] how are we to expect children to know any better?  Dan Savage runs a project called “It Gets Better,” to encourage beleaguered gay teens to hang in there and rise above the ignorance of their [...]

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  4. [...] completely lost you already, I highly recommend you read the following post. It criticises the It Gets Better youtube video project, which Savage set up after the media highlighted recent suicides by [...]

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  5. [...] example, the reasons this isn’t really cool should be fairly apparent and, as the current “It Gets Better” campaign points out, as did Anderson Cooper in the Deadline item linked above, this kind of thing is about [...]

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  6. [...] occasion just because of the amazing response of fans,” the fact that it has coincided with the recent epidemic of gay teenagers committing suicide making it all the more profound, given the show’s similar subject [...]

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