Dan Savage to gay teens: 'It gets better, and it can get great'

Dan Savage to gay teens: 'It gets better, and it can get great'
Dan Savage, right, and his husband, Terry, are seen in this photo.
SEATTLE -- It gets better.

That's the message Seattle-based sex advice columnist, author and gay rights activist Dan Savage is trying to deliver to gay and lesbian teenagers everywhere.

This week, Savage launched a new YouTube channel and posted a video of him and his husband, Terry, talking directly to the camera about how they were badly bullied as teens for being gay but persevered, and life had gotten much better as they grew up.

Savage told KOMO Newsradio the idea came to him after reading about a rash of suicides among gay teenagers over the last few months.

"One in particular really upset me - Billy Lucas in Greensburg, Ind., who wasn't gay-identified, or hadn't come out yet or wasn't gay at all, perhaps. But he was being harassed for being gay," said Savage. "(Billy) was told to go home and commit suicide by his classmates. And at 15, he went to his grandmother's property and hung himself."

Savage wrote about Lucas and the suicide on his blog at The Stranger.

"I posted some links to the story and a Facebook memorial page was set up for him which then began filling up with homophobic comments from his classmates, because it wasn't enough that they had succeeded into driving him to commit suicide. Now they were going to harass him after death, and even hurt his family," said Savage.

A person commenting on Savage's blog post said he wished he could have talked to Lucas for five minutes before the suicide to tell him things do get better.

"I realized, sitting there, I can't talk to Billy Lucas, but I can talk to other isolated, miserable gay teenagers out there thinking of harming themselves," said Savage.

That's how the It Gets Better Project was born.

Savage posted the first video Tuesday, and the channel has gotten more than 27,000 hits since.

Now Savage is asking other gays and lesbians to upload personal stories about how it gets better and post those videos on YouTube.

"I do know that this kind of talk helps, and that kind of moment can really change a kid's life," added Savage.