Dan Savage Strikes A Collective Nerve

october 20, 2010  01:25 pm
Dan Savage Strikes A Collective Nerve
In the month since The Stranger's Dan Savage posted a YouTube video with his husband, his It Gets Better campaign has been written up by nearly every major news outlet and is spawning thousands of similar videos that are being created with the goal of putting a stop to the rash of suicides by gay -- and "gay-looking" -- teens. The videos include versions in sign-language and an emotional, widely-circulated speech by a Fort Worth city councilman.

Yesterday, Hillary Clinton made her own contribution, which lacked the personal, homemade quality that made Savage's video so appealing, but added the gravitas of a semi-endorsement by the White House:



Google employees also added to the chorus yesterday:



The New York Times says that the outpouring of response has prompted Savage to create a stand-alone site to host the videos. The website, itgetsbetterproject.com, allows users to upload their own videos or written stories, and provides resources to LGBT teens seeking help or considering suicide.

Speaking to the Times, Savage said that YouTube gave him direct channel to communicate with teens "out in the boonies, in the exurbs" where discrimination has been getting worse:
But how to tell them? He gives talks at colleges regularly, but not at middle schools or high schools. “I would never get permission,” he said, blaming a system of “parents, preachers and teachers” who “believe they can terrorize gay children out of being gay as they grow up.”

His realization was this: “I was waiting for permission that — in the era of YouTube, Twitter, Facebook — I didn’t need anymore.”

And thus, Dan Savage's incredibly moving, and inspiring, campaign was born:

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