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.