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

by Dan Savage, Terry Miller

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Overview

Every story can change a life.

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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: 9781101513408
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/22/2011
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 973,725
File size: 3 MB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Dan Savage is the editorial director of Seattle's weekly newspaper, The Stranger. Terry Miller is an event promoter, musician, and DJ. They were married in Canada and live in Seattle with their son, DJ.

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

Resources

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."

Customer Reviews

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It Gets Better 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 55 reviews.
SeferSafari-Com More than 1 year ago
In response to the news of bullying and suicides, Savage and Miller made and uploaded a video 9/22/10 to tell teens it gets better. They expected 100 total videos. W/in 24 hours a second video was uploaded. In 3 days, there were over 200 videos; at the end of the week there were 1000. In week 4, President Obama has a video to upload. There are now more than 10,000 videos, and this is a printed form collection of over 110. The theme of the essays are why gay or questioning or outsider or bullied or any youth should not kill themselves or be self-destructive. It includes resources and suggestions. Contributors include Barack Obama, David Sedaris, Kate Clinton, Murray Hill, Bishop Gene Robinson, Ellen Degeneres, Tim Gunn, UK PM David Cameron, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Chaz Bono, Bruce Ortiz, PereZ Hilton, Alex Orue and many more. It also includes Jennifer Finney Boylan, a transgender woman who teaches at Colby in Maine, who writes about a post college incident where she drove to the literal edge of North America to end her life from a cliff; Gregory MaGuire, the author of "Wicked," as well as Kevin Yee, an actor in the Broadway musical based on the book, "Wicked," who in one of the funniest (and sad) essays, writes on his teen years in a boy band (Youth Asylum) in which the producers dyed his hair blond and tried to teach him to act more str8, wearing baggy pants, and mumble (their concept of str8). Urvashi Vaid (partner of Kate Clinton) writes about taking action in teens' lives; and Bishop Gene Robinson writes about god's love, religion, true religion, and how it gets not only better but continues to get better. Brinae Lois Gaudet in Wisconsin, just 1 year out of HS, writes about finding a safe zone in a college dorm (in high school, a local citizen forced his HS to remove "safe zone" signs). Alez R. Orve of Mexico City and Vancouver writes in Spanish about life in Mexico and Canada; Mark Ramirez (Anchorage) submitted an essay in ASL sign language; and another submitted an essay in Arabic. Lance Corporal James Wharton in London writes of life in the British Army and how he was married to his partner in his military barracks and was recently the cover pic and story of the UK's army magazine. Award winning novelist, Michael Cunningham, author of A Home At The End of the World, about a gay teen's crush on a straight friend, writes about confronting childhood friends and coming out on NPR; and Alison Bechtel submits a cartoon. In one essay, 22 Broadway actors tell snippets of their stories; while A. Y. Daring, a black lesbian and choreographer for Lady Gaga share hers. David Sedaris tells readers that people should keep journals, and that people who are good to you make lousy stories. The ones who are mean to you can be good essay characters. Jakes Shears (Jason Sellards) who with Scott Hoffman makes up the Scissor Sisters submits an essay on coming out at 15, being bullied very badly, and having the principal blame him for his own abuse (it was so bad, he moved schools), but finding a great life after graduation. There is a wide range of essays, and something for probably everyone to learn from.
zonde More than 1 year ago
Before reading this book I had heard about the It Gets Better project and looked forward to reading the essays. As a teacher I wanted to read this collection to help my students but I had no idea the impact it would have on me. This book is not just for LGBTQ kids and teens, but for anyone who is even a little different and was made to feel bad for it. I found these essays encouraging and insightful and in addition to making me feel better about my own past, they were just what I wanted for helping my students. The educator guide at the end was an extra treat and I cannot wait to keep spreading the message that it does get better. Read this collection and soak in the wisdom and love of the included authors and prepare to feel hopeful and inspired. Spread the word.
calmclam on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Probably better read in small doses--I found the essays got repetitive after a while. That said, this is a book I would have loved to have as a teenager.
mamzel on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Are you a homosexual in high school, bullied, wondering how to end it all? Read this book!Are you an adult in contact with teens with this kind of existance? Read this book!The bottom line is that high school is a horrible place where people of all sorts are emprisoned together and many teens tend to take out their own frustrations on others. The traditional brunt of their abuse have been the unusual, sensitive, creative, wonderful, confused, and terrific people who happen to be gay. In this book, and on the related web site, are messages from all sorts of people from all walks of life who share the message that after high school, these teens can choose their own place to live and their own, more supportive and gay friends to surround themselves with and succeed/excel in life.
kjreed on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm rating this as a 5 because as a kid coming out, I would have been all over this and found it useful. As an adult who's been out for over a decade, however, I found it very repetitive. Still, the very existence of this book makes it a 5 in my book. Great mix of celebrities and regular folks, across all generations.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hi! (Im not releasing my age but anyways). I used to agree with my dad and stepmom that being gay,lesbian,transgender etc. was bad but once i found out i was bi it all changed! Im not exactly sure what gender i like yet but i think im a lesbian but anyways. Once i found out i was different i still agree with my parents its wrong but its right to me! My patents are so afraid that my brother will be gay bevause hes little and plays with girl stuff sometimes but whats wrong too tbem is right to me! Im confusef i dont know! Pls give me advice somebody! Thanks.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
OMG!!!!! Im 13 too. And ive recently discovered that im a lesbian. I think the best thing to do first is tell your absolute closest friend. Thats what i did and shes still my besr friend. She was the one i had a crush on too. Also you dont have to tell people if ur not ready. They will probably get hints here and there as time goes by anyway. I dont think u should worry too much about it. Things will happen when ur ready for bthem to happen.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im bi maybe even straight out lesbian. Im 13 and i need help coming out to my parents. I dont know if they are gonna hate me or not. Parents are all different. If youave a coming out story or advice please respond to BFY -BFY
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I know everyones like its wrong and the bible says not to do it. But the bible doesnt want you to do homossexual acts like just having sex to take advantage of the body in front of you. If god created us he knew whether we be straight or not if he knew we were gonna be gay why create us in the first place? He knew who we were gonna love. And we should love who we want regardless of gender. Im a christian and bi.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This girl at my school is bi and we r bestfriends every body has ther own opinions she is my bff and nobody talks crap about her cause she is black and stuff but every body liked her shes that girl who will stand up for u nmw ~ haters gona hate
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hahaha, you dirty homophobic scum. You actually think an internet famous gay teen is going to agree with you? Don't even try. If you think God doesn't love us: the Bible in no part says that being gay will make God no longer love you. It does say, though, that you should spread love, not hate. Gay people never make fun of heterosexual people for being straight. So why do that do us? What do you have against us? If you agree with me that straight people are more abnormal in agreement with the bible, post a review with the title #paytonisright. Post this on your Facebook, Twitter, and whatever else you have. Spread the word. Make sure everyone you know sees it. ~ Payton <3
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ive told a few friends that Im bi and I have a girlfriend but I dont know how to come out to my parents. They arent homophobic but my girlfriends parents are extremely homophobic. I dont want to get her in trouble. Im 13 so I dont think theyll take me seriously. I want them to know. Coming out stories and advice would bf helpful. Thanks, <3 Bekkah
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When i was 8 i was introduced to porn then found gay porn and relized i liked that to i got cought several times on porn sites and then i met my older bros friend in boy scouts and we went out for awhile without anyone knowing then i moved and met my now best frend for life and she was bi and ecouraged me to come out of the closet and i started by dropping hints andthen i told my mom about my boy friend on acsedent when i was txting my friend about him then she told my dad and they were both fine with it andi found out my favorite unble is gay so that was an eventful day i hope this helps and i hope it workh out between u 2 <3 u
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
How bout come to me and i put this good lookin vagina on you and we have some crap sex
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Listen if u think being gay bi lesbian ect makes u an 'abomination' becuase god hates fags then why are we here!? God created us just like u so dont hate just cuz he made us cuter ~Jasmine Lujan
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yupp don't judge m for who I am. Don't like it wait in line with the others.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
To all you ppl who say ewww or bring the bible into this shut up you have no right to tell other ppl they cant love who they want to love who do you think you are god?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dont go Tell people that being whatever they are is wrong. Thats just rude and sick in this context. Im Pansexual((meaning you dont have a sexual preference, you'll date anyone no matter trans bi lesbian gay etc)) But who cares wat other people preferences are?? Leave Lbgt People alone if you dont like them! "Homophobia isnt a phobia. You arent scared, youre just an as.s.hole" Morgan freeman
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im strait but i support yall all the way dont take any of crap from anybody stand up for who u are not who they want u to be tell me if u need anything RYLAND C
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good for you... you can do it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thank you soo much though you may not know it your words help me stay strong
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yes i do have some.be strong.im still workin on coming out to my parents.but my advice would definitel be stay strong an stand up for ur sexuality.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
To anyone who needs help deciding whether or not to tel anyone just talk to ur best friend thts what i did. Or a guidance councilor. Its was the hardest thing in the world for me to do. But i feel so much beter doingir. Just know tht people wont always agree with u. But be strong dont give up!!!