Last fall, several teens across the country committed suicide because they were gay or perceived to be gay. This shocking rash of suicides raised attention about a sobering fact: Gay teens are up to four times as likely to attempt suicide as straight teens, and 9 out of 10 LGBT teens have experienced some sort of harassment in their school, according to The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention hot line for LGBT youth. When advice columnist Dan Savage heard about the suicide crisis unfolding, he had an idea: If older gay people offered hope and encouragement to gay teens, the teens would realize that their lives were worth living. So Savage and his husband, Terry Miller, created a YouTube video about their own experiences being bullied as teens, to tell teenagers a simple message about the future: It gets better.
The “It Gets Better” movement, as it’s now called, has since received over 10,000 video submissions, including entries from both gay and straight people. President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Anne Hathaway, Sarah Silverman, Tim Gunn, Ellen DeGeneres, Vice President Biden, Ke$ha and the staffs of Google, Facebook and Pixar all have contributed to the project. This month, Savage and Miller published a companion book, It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying and Creating a Life Worth Living, featuring essays from more than 100 of the video contributors. MORE