Main | Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dan Savage Launches YouTube Channel Devoted To Helping LGBT Youth

Stunned by the rash of LGBT youth suicides, Dan Savage has launched a YouTube channel called the It Gets Better Project in which adult LGBT folks can send the message to gay youth that while times may be tough right now, they will eventually see the light at the end of the bigoted tunnel.

In a blog posting yesterday, Savage lamented the recent suicide of 15 year-old Indiana teen Billy Lucas in an announcement for the video project.
"My heart breaks for the pain and torment you went through, Billy Lucas," a reader wrote after I posted about Billy Lucas to my blog. "I wish I could have told you that things get better." I had the same reaction: I wish I could have talked to this kid for five minutes. 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.

But gay adults aren't allowed to talk to these kids. Schools and churches don't bring us in to talk to teenagers who are being bullied. Many of these kids have homophobic parents who believe that they can prevent their gay children from growing up to be gay—or from ever coming out—by depriving them of information, resources, and positive role models.

Why are we waiting for permission to talk to these kids? We have the ability to talk directly to them right now. We don't have to wait for permission to let them know that it gets better. We can reach these kids. So here's what you can do, GBVWS: Make a video. Tell them it gets better. I've launched a channel on YouTube to host these videos. My normally camera-shy husband and I already posted one.

We both went to Christian schools and we were both bullied—he had it a lot worse than I did—and we are living proof that it gets better. We don't dwell too much on the past. Instead, we talk mostly about all the meaningful things in our lives now—our families, our friends (gay and straight), the places we've gone and things we've experienced—that we would've missed out on if we'd killed ourselves then. "You gotta give 'em hope," Harvey Milk said.
Here's the first video from Savage and his partner. I'm thinking I'll do one from Central Park with my huge NYC family. If any JMG readers participate, please send me your clips.

UPDATE: The New York Times has published a nice story about Dan's project.

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