Dan Savage Tells LGBT Youth "It Gets Better"

By Joseph Erbentraut in News on Sep 22, 2010 6:20PM

2010_09_22_itgetsbetter.jpg Chicago-born Savage Love columnist and author Dan Savage and his husband Terry Miller have a message for all the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth out there: Whatever you're experiencing now, be it family rejection, bullying and harassment in schools or even thoughts of suicide, it gets better.

Yesterday, Savage and Miller launched a campaign called the It Gets Better Project with an eight-minute YouTube video (embedded below) discussing their experiences as gay youth, segueing into a glimpse into their lives today including how they first met - introduced by a mutual drag queen buddy at a bar - and their decision to adopt a son, DJ, and start a family together.

In Minnesota and Indiana, a pair of 15-year-old boys have in recent months taken their own lives as the result of anti-gay bullying and harassment. Upon reading that news, Savage has borrowed a page from pioneering LGBT activist Harvey Milk, who famously said, "You gotta give 'em hope." He hopes others will also create videos for the project, sharing messages of optimism about their own adult lives as open, proud queer people.

"Today we have the power to give these kids hope. We have the tools to reach out to them and tell our stories and let them know that it does get better," Savage wrote of the project. "[M]any LGBT youth can't picture what their lives might be like as openly gay adults. They can't imagine a future for themselves. So let's show them what our lives are like, let's show them what the future may hold in store for them."

The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN)'s latest National School Climate Survey, released earlier this month, reports nearly nine out of 10 LGBT students experience harassment and nearly two-thirds of them felt unsafe in school. Only 11 states - Illinois included - currently specify LGBT students as a protected class in anti-bullying and harassment legislation.