OCTOBER 13, 2010 10:50PM

Dan Savage lets gay teens know, “It gets better”

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Dan Savage, the wonderfully smart and hilarious sex-advice columnist, has focused on a serious subject recently – the rise in suicides by gay teens.

Gay teenagers are four times more likely to commit suicide than heterosexual teenagers. And it's even more difficult for teenagers in rural areas that lack a peer support system.

In late September, following several suicides by gay teenagers, Dan Savage and his husband, Terry Miller, turned their concern into action by starting the “It Gets Better Project” to reach out to alienated teens.

“I was really heartbroken and had the reaction that so many gay adults have when we hear these stories,  I wish I could have talked to that kid for five minutes and been able to tell him that it gets better,” Savage told NPR.

The YouTube “It Gets Better” campaign is perfect in its simplicity: teenagers can hear about how their lives will change once they make it through school, or get to a city where they can live their lives openly. His message is getting out, too. There are over 70,000 fans following the campaign on Facebook and Dan and Terry's message garnered more than 318,000 views in the first three weeks it was posted. The" It Gets Better Project" YouTube channel has over one thousand video testimonials from gay adults (some of whom have famous faces) who suffered the same types of taunting, isolation and depression that teenagers are still faced with.

As Mr. Savage says in his testimonial: “Your life can be amazing, but you have to tough this period of your life out, and you have to live your life, so that you're around for it to get amazing.”

Dan Savage is a voice of sanity for gay teens surrounded by the insanity of intolerance.  He has walked through Paris at dawn with his son. They are the happy ending.

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I just heard about his campaign on NPR. Thanks for bringing it here to OS.
I'm so glad to see the It gets better project, and I hope it helps a lot of teens, regardless of sexuality.

I just wish there was some kind of boot camp to turn High School bullies. male or female, and anyone else who makes young people's lives miserable back into reasonable thoughtful people. When it is not possible to be kind, it is always possible to shut up and leave another person alone. It's their behavior that needs to be addressed.