It started as one YouTube video, which grew to over a thousand by the end of the week. Columnist Dan Savage and his husband Terry Miller were heartbroken and spurred by the spate of gay suicides in the fall of 2010. The video was their response. Wishing they could have spoken with these troubled teens, to assure them that life really does get much better later on. They struck a chord with the country and videos poured in nationwide including politicians President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres, Tim Gunn, Meshell Ndegeocello, and many others. Responses were also from a gamut of people including religious figures and identities from the Jewish Orthodox community, a minister and a bishop, to corporate employees, musicians and artists, and everyday people of all ages and ethnic backgrounds. Each address the culture of bullying, their suffering as teenagers, and some, of their, fortunately, failed attempt at suicide and stories of survival. As mentors, these figures wanted to be part of a support group in order to help gay and questioning youth who are largely left alone to cope with anti-gay bullying and coming out.
The project has now evolved to a book IT GETS BETTER: Coming out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living. It is a collection of essays, expanded from people’s original videos and from those who have not made videos, such as writers David Sedaris and Michael Cunningham. There is also a detailed index of organizations and resources available to further help LGBT youth and the larger community. Published in Feb 2012, this is something every personal library should have.