Monday, 18 October 2010

it gets better

the it gets better project is the brainchild of u.s. journalist/gay-rights activist dan savage.

the suicide of 15-year old billy lucas was the catalyst. the indiana teenager hanged himself in september, having endured gay taunts from high school bullies for some time.

angered by this senseless waste of life, savage has established a youtube channel. lesbian and gay adults are encouraged to post inspirational video messages aimed at struggling teens. messages assuring them that life ‘will get better’.

‘nine out of 10 gay teenagers experience bullying and harassment at school and gay teens are four times more likely to attempt suicide’, says dan. i wish i could have told billy that life gets better. but gay adults aren’t allowed to talk to these kids. schools and churches won’t bring us in’.

dan and his partner terry were both bullied at school for being gay. their video was the first to be posted.

‘we have the ability to talk directly to them now. we can reach these kids’.

so far the project has been a massive success. 'thousands of submissions and millions of views’ according to the huffington post. celebrity support has come from the likes of sarah silverman and anne hathaway.

it’s also taken on an extra poignancy in the wake of tyler clementi’s death. the 18-year old threw himself off the george washington bridge late last month, victim of an alleged act of cyber-voyeurism.

dan savage is editorial director of seattle newspaper the stranger and writer of notorious advice column savage love.

[tom jenkins]

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