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It Gets Better, But Can Gay Teens Wait When The Rainbow is Not Enough?

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Just by taking a quick look at the headlines, it has been a brutal and heartbreaking few weeks for gay and lesbian teens in this country. There was the well-publicized death of Rutgers student Tyler Clementi, who jumped off a bridge in New York City last month after his roommate outed him on the Internet. Before that, Billy Lucas, 15, of Greensburg, Ind. hanged himself after being taunted by classmates for being gay, and sadly, that is hardly the end of it. A countless number of gay and lesbian identified teens and preteens (along with those that are simply targeted as such) are mercilessly picked on at school, church, and even at home everyday. The two casualties mentioned above are just a few of the more tragic cases to make national news.

Bullying is a problem whether you are gay or straight, but bullying is far more common to be directed at gay and lesbian children than heterosexual children. Some say it is five to ten times more common. Whatever the figures may definitively be, it is undeniable that there is a huge, and life threatening, problem here. As if it weren’t potentially difficult enough for teens struggling with sexual identity to find a sense of peace and comfort with themselves, the specter of harassment and merciless judgment make it all the more of a living hell.

Because of this, Savage Love columnist Dan Savage took to the Internet with a provocative and bold campaign dubbed, “It Gets Better.” Framed as an open letter to beleaguered gay and lesbian teens, Savage and husband Terry Miller recorded a video message (see below) to share their experience and a general message of hope with those lacking it.

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Read more: Children, Family, Healthy Schools, Love, Parenting at the Crossroads, Sex, , , , , , , , , , ,

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Eric Steinman

Eric Steinman is a freelance writer based in Rhinebeck, NY. He regularly writes about food, music, art, architecture, and culture and is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit among other publications.

85 comments

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4:29AM PDT on Mar 18, 2013

The most tragic casualty, that hasn't made national news, is the DEMISE OF LITERACY. More sickening, still, than anything we can read about, is the fact that those who make their living informing us of issues and events, don't know how to spell simple grade-school words like EVERY DAY - - or know the difference between "every day" and "everyday"! Maybe we should save contemplation of issues concerning things like homosexuality until such time as we all know how to spell and utilize simple words in our native language!

3:43PM PDT on Mar 17, 2013

TEACH YOUR CHILDREN

3:16PM PDT on Jun 26, 2011

its so sad that people had to die bacause of being bullied for their sexual orientation. it makes me sick.

1:57AM PST on Jan 13, 2011

It's good that campaigns like these exists for those teens who are victims of bullying in schools. It's hard to think that as parents to teens, there's always a possibility that your child would experience such problems with their peers. I hope there's hope for the bullying to end, that way we can always say that things will indeed get better for our kids.

Jimmy
http://www.squidoo.com/turning-winds

3:11PM PDT on Oct 26, 2010

I hope this campaign helps! Our community recently lost a beautiful soul when Zach Harrington could no longer take the hatred in our uber-conservative area. Bullying and Bible-thumping the GLBT community only causes loss - to all of us.

2:11PM PDT on Oct 26, 2010

Great campaign! Hope this saves lives. Kids have no patience hope this tells them to give life a chance!

11:24PM PDT on Oct 24, 2010

Valerie, you probably live in an area where sexual repression is rampant. Some people confuse sexuality with morality. Unless your sexual practices fit in their narrowly defined area of what is allowable, usually defined by their religion, you do not fit in either. Of course in these hostile areas you can be made to feel bad about who you are. Bullies use this hostile environment to torment their targets. As a teenager you may feel trapped in this hostile environment. But, the day will come when the pin heads will be outnumbered in "most" colleges, they will be the ones presumed wrong when they seek to harm others. Religion like any other tool can and has continually been used, immorally. Most gay people I know end up happily living in cities among their peers. The hardest portion of their lives was those few years between adolescence and college in places where the society thought gay people would change if enough adversity were applied, thereby justifying the evil done by the bullies.

5:28PM PDT on Oct 24, 2010

There aren't much people who now I fall in love with girls too.
And I do have a relationship at the moment... with a girl.
I don't dare to tell most people.

2:31PM PDT on Oct 24, 2010

Thank you for posting this story Eric! It's very important indeed!
I believe everything starts with the education of our children. If parents and people in charge of education would learn children to behave respectfully towards every living soul on this planet, no matter who they are, whatever their sexual orientation or personal beliefs or no matter how they look like physically... this would already change a lot and it would be a very good start to help preventing this disgusting and humiliating behaviour. Unfortunately a lot of people don't know the real meaning of RESPECT.... either they are either totally unconscious about the consequences of their acts or if not then they are totally indifferent and have no empathy at all for there fellow men and that's really bad and very sad :(

1:55AM PDT on Oct 18, 2010

Bullying has no place in schools. If we can't focus our schools on education, then our schools are failing. Knowledge, not hate is the key. I wish I could host a safe haven for LGBT youth here, so anyone who isn't safe can be here, having sanctuary.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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