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Dan Savage knows how to get things going on the Internet. Most notoriously, the sex advice columnist and political activist puckishly made Google a Not Safe For Work place for former Republican Senator Rick Santorum.
This week however, Savage, editorial director of the Seattle weekly The Stranger and author of the syndicated column "Savage Love," announced the sobering It Gets Better project on YouTube. Prompted by the recent suicide of Billy Lucas, a 15-year-old who reportedly suffered homophobic harassment at Indiana's Greensburg High School, "It Gets Better" invites gay, bisexual and transgendered adults to show embattled teens a future beyond high school.
Nine out of 10 gay teenagers experience bullying and harassment, Savage pointed out in his Sept. 21 podcast. And gay teenagers are four times more likely to commit suicide. "Many LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered) kids who kill themselves live in rural areas — or exurbs or suburban areas and places with really no gay organizations or services for queer kids or visible gay people at all," Savage said.
To that end, Savage said, he launched a YouTube channel — "something I never thought I would say" – the It Gets Better Project, to host videos from LGBT adults from all backgrounds. "Singles, couples, with kids, without kids, established or just starting out, urban, rural, all races, religions and backgrounds," everyone who wishes they too could tell teens like Billy Lucas that it gets better.
At the time of this post, the It Gets Better Project on YouTube hosts 1,408 subscribers and four videos – the first from Savage and his "normally camera-shy husband," Terry Miller. "We don't dwell on the past, we talk mostly about all the meaningful things that are in our lives now," Savage said of their video. "Our families, our friends who are gay and straight, the places we've gone the things we've experienced, all the stuff we would've missed out on if we'd killed ourselves back then."