It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living

It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living


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Every story can change a life.

Growing up isn't easy. Many young people face daily tormenting and bullying, making them feel like they have nowhere to turn. This is especially true for LGBT kids and teens who often hide their sexuality for fear of bullying. Without other openly gay adults and mentors in their lives, they can't imagine what their future may hold. In many instances, gay and lesbian adolescents are taunted - even tortured - simply for being themselves.

After a number of tragic suicides by LGBT students who were bullied in school, syndicated columnist and author Dan Savage uploaded a video to YouTube with his partner Terry Miller to inspire hope for LGBT youth facing harassment. Speaking openly about the bullying they suffered as teenagers, and how they both went on to lead rewarding adult lives, their video launched the It Gets Better Project YouTube channel and initiated a worldwide phenomenon. With over 6,000 videos posted and over 20 million views in the first three months alone, the world has embraced the opportunity to provide personal, honest and heartfelt support for LGBT youth everywhere.

It Gets Better is a collection of expanded essays and new material from celebrities, everyday people and teens who have posted videos of encouragement, as well as new contributors who have yet to post videos to the site. While many of these teens couldn't see a positive future for themselves, we can. We can show LGBT youth the levels of happiness, potential and positivity their lives will reach if they can just get through their teen years. By sharing these stories, It Gets Better reminds teenagers in the LGBT community that they are not alone - and it WILL get better.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780525952336
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date: 03/22/2011
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.40(d)
Age Range: 14 Years

About the Author

Dan Savage is the author of the internationally syndicated column, "Savage Love" and the editor of The Stranger, Seattle's weekly newspaper. His writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, the op-ed pages of The New York Times, Travel & Leisure,, Nest, Rolling Stone, The Onion, and many others. He lives in Seattle, Washington with his husband Terry Miller.

Terry Miller is a DJ, event promoter, musician, and music critic/blogger. Terry is Dan Savage's partner of sixteen years.

Table of Contents

Introduction Dan Savage 1

A Message from President Barack Obama 9

You Will Find Your People Laurel Slongwhite 11

The Life Almost Lost Bruce Ortiz 15

In the Early Morning Rain Jennifer Finney Boylan 18

Something Has Changed Within Me Gregory Maguire 22

Action Makes It Better Urvashi Vaid 24

You Are a Rubber Band, My Friend Brinae Lois Gaudet 27

God Believes in You Bishop Gene Robinson 30

The Person Worth Fighting For Is You Alex R. Orue 35

A Message from Ellen DeGeneres 38

Life Unfolds Exactly As It Should (But Not As You Planned) Sean Blane David Rosen 40

It Gets Better for a British Soldier Lance Corporal James Wharton 42

Getting Stronger and Staying Alive Gabrielle Rivera 45

Coming Out of the Shtetl: Gay Orthodox Jews Marc Tannen Chaim Levin Ely Winkler Justin Spiro Moishie Rabinowitz Mordechai Levovitz 48

Going Back In Michael Cunningham 54

And the Emmy Goes to … Barbara Gaines 59

A Message from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton 62

This I Know for Sure A. Y. Daring 64

It Gets Better Broadway by Members of the Broadway and New York Theater Community 67

Rockin' the Flannel Shirt Krissy Mahan 71

How It Got Better for an Ordained Christian Minister 74

by Professor Stephen V. Sprinkle 74

Out of Darkness Philip Deal 77

I Was a Teenage Lesbian Alison Bechdel 79

Something Special Sia Furler 80

The Dinner Party Adam Roberts 82

What I Wish I Knew Ivan Coyote 87

Freedom from Fear Michael Feinstein 91

A Message from Prime Minister David Cameron 94

You Will Meet People Who Celebrate You Jenn Erika Wagner-Martin 96

An Identity Unfolded Mark Ramirez 99

A Message from Suze Orman 102

Brothers: It Gets Better Lenox Magee Rannon Harris David Dodd Kean Ray 104

Drop Dead, Warlock David Sedaris 110

Gwendolyn Gone Meshell Ndegeocello 112

Growing Up Gay … and Kinky by Dart 114

The Biggest Gift Stewart Taylor 117

A Message from Senator Al Franken 121

Transsexual Prairie Girl Tamsyn Waterhouse 123

Art from Rage Jake Shears 125

It Gets Better / $$$ (Btkoun Ahsan) Bashar Makhay / $$$ 127

Too Good to Be True Cameron Tuttle 130

Journey to a Better Life Juan Carlos Galan, MS 133

The Gay Guy in the Band Kevin Samual Yee 138

Will I Grow Up to Be Paul Lynde? Andy Cohen 140

Finding Who I Am Hunter Adeline Brady 142

Community Chaz Bono 145

A Message from Nancy Pelosi 147

Gunn's Golden Rules Tim Gunn 149

Perfect, Just the Way You Are Darren Hayes 151

Where Happiness Is Natalie Sperry Mandelin 153

Not-Normal Michael K. Wells 158

Born This Way Perez Hilton 162

Darn It Kate Clinton 165

Look at the Moon Agustin Cepeda 167

Critical Shifts Jesse Barnes 169

For Aideybear Ava Dodge 171

A Message from John Berry 173

The Show Must Go On Kyle Dean Massey 175

Survival Tools Ellen Forney 177

Dear Uncle Ronnie by randy roberts potts 181

My Office Wall Trevor Corneil, MD 185

Keep on Livin' JD Samson 187

It Gets Better Because You're a Little Different Dave Holmes 189

Unapologetically, Me Demetrius Gittens 192

A Collective Voice Gabe Milligan-Green Addy Cahill Russell Peck 195

I Didn't Always Wear a Tuxedo Murray Hill 201

How I Got Over Tuan N'Gai 205

A "Better" Evolution Joseph Odysseus Mastro 208

Save Yourself, Save the World Khris Brown 211

Becoming an Authentic Person Nicholas Wheeler 213

On the Other Side Jay A. Foxworthy Bryan Leffew 215

Bully Me Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum 218

To the Bullies Tristan Jackson 220

The Good Fight Kristel Yoneda 223

A Message from Kevin Hague, MP 226

Haters Can't Hate Someone Who Loves Themselves, and if They Do, Who Cares Lynn Breedlove 228

Not Playing at a Cinema Near You Rebecca Brown 232

From "Faggot" to Field Biologist Christopher A. Schmitt, PhD 235

It Got Better Stephen D. Lorimor 238

Our Parents as Allies Lawrence Gullo Fyodor Pavlov Eileen Charbonneau Ed Gullo 240

Lesbian Teacher Believes in You Kristin Rivers 243

Stepping Off the Sidelines Wayne Knaub 245

My Own Worst Enemy Jessica Leshnoff 248

You Are a Beloved Child of God Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson 254

Transgendered and Self-Educated in Maine Jean Vermette 256

The Power of "You" Luan Legacy 261

It Gets Better for Small Towners, Too Dwayne Steward 264

To Me: With Love and Squalor Terry Galloway 267

Happiness Is Inevitable Henry Winfiele 271

I Wish I'd Been Sassier! Brian Gallivan aka Gay Sassy Friend 273

Protect and Serve Loves Semper Fidelis J. D. Davis Allen D. Stone 275

The Doors of Acceptance Shaun Ridgway 279

Hope Out of Tragedy Matthew Anthony Houck 282

Patience Makes Perfect … Sense Angelo D'Agostino 287

Christian LGBT Kids: You're Part of the Plan Raven Mardirosian 289

Terrible Day Patrick Murphy 291

The Worst of Both Worlds Michelle Faid 294

Closets on Fire Anthony Antoine 297

The King Brothers Dick Mark S. King 300

Community Found Taylor Bailey 303

From Scared to Proud: The Journey of a Gay Medical Student Jake Kleinman 307

Authentic Self Sara Sperling 310

You Can Live a Life That's Worth Living Kate Bornstein 312

Epilogue Terry Miller 315

Acknowledgments 319


Some Curriculum Guidelines for Schools and Teachers 321

The Trevor Project 325

GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) 327

ACLU LGBT Project 329

Photo and Comic Credits 331

Permissions 333

What People are Saying About This

Armistead Maupin

"A masterstroke . . . revolutionary."

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