It Gets Better is an Internet-based 501(c)3 nonprofit with a mission to uplift, empower, and connect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) youth around the globe. It was founded in the United States by gay activist, author, media pundit, and journalist Dan Savage and his husband Terry Miller on September 21, 2010, in response to the suicides of teenagers who were bullied because they were gay or because their peers suspected that they were gay. Its goal is to prevent suicide among LGBT youth by having gay adults convey the message that these teens' lives will improve. The project includes more than 50,000 entries from people of all sexual orientations, including many celebrities; the videos have received over 50 million views.
|Founders||Dan Savage and Terry Miller|
|Headquarters||Los Angeles, CA|
CEO and Executive Director
A book of essays from the project was released in March 2011. The project was given the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Governor's Award at the 64th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards for "strategically, creatively and powerfully utilizing the media to educate and inspire," according to the academy's chairman and CEO Bruce Rosenblum.
The It Gets Better Project was founded by Savage in response to the suicide of Billy Lucas and other teenagers who were bullied because they were gay or perceived to be, such as with Raymond Chase, Tyler Clementi, Ryan Halligan, Asher Brown, and Seth Walsh. Reflecting on Lucas' suicide in his Savage Love column, Savage wrote, "I wish I could have talked to this kid for five minutes. I wish I could have told Billy that it gets better. I wish I could have told him that, however bad things were, however isolated and alone he was, it gets better."
Former U.S. President Barack Obama lent his voice to the project and its anti-bullying message during its infancy. On October 21, 2010, Obama contributed his own video saying in part, "We've got to dispel this myth that bullying is just a normal rite of passage; that it's just some inevitable part of growing up. It's not. We have an obligation to ensure that our schools are safe for all of our kids. And for every young person out there you need to know that if you're in trouble, there are caring adults who can help." President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama would later host an anti-bullying conference in March 2011. Google Chrome backed the project as well, promoting its YouTube channel and airing a video ad for the project on television; that ad's first appearance came during a May 3, 2011 episode of Glee.
Book and televisionEdit
In March 2011, E. P. Dutton would publish and release It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living, a book of essays edited by Dan Savage and Terry Miller that reflect the same theme as the web video project. The book contains more than 100 essays, either transcribed or expanded from the videos or original writings. Contributors include Jennifer Finney Boylan, Gregory Maguire, Meshell Ndegeocello, Michael Cunningham, Suze Orman, and David Sedaris. The book would make the New York Times bestseller list.
Two 1-hour It Gets Better TV specials, which focused on the project's mission and conveyed messages of support, aired in 2012. Broadcast on MTV and simulcast on LGBT-oriented sister network Logo, the specials had premiere airings on February 21 and October 9, 2012.
- "It Gets Better". It Gets Better. Retrieved April 4, 2022.
- Wyatt Buchanan (October 21, 2005). "Marriage can be right for us all, says Dan Savage. But let's not get carried away with monogamy". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on January 6, 2012. Retrieved April 30, 2011.
- Parker-Pope, Tara (September 22, 2010). "Showing Gay Teens a Happy Future". The New York Times.
- Hartlaub, Peter (October 8, 2010). "Dan Savage overwhelmed by gay outreach's response". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved October 9, 2010.
- Noreen Fagan (February 8, 2011). "Dan Savage talks teens, straight people and It Gets Better". Xtra!. Archived from the original on August 14, 2011. Retrieved February 15, 2011.
- "President Obama: It Gets Better". YouTube. October 21, 2010.
- Albanesius, Chloe (October 22, 2010). "Obama, Google Make Anti-Gay Bullying 'It Gets Better' Videos". PCMag.com. Retrieved October 22, 2010.
- Meckler, Laura (October 22, 2010). "Obama Joins "It Gets Better" Campaign". Washington Wire - WSJ. Retrieved October 22, 2010.
- Furlan, Julia (March 22, 2011). "The 'It Gets Better Project' Turns the Spotlight on Anti-Gay Bullying". WNYC. Archived from the original on July 25, 2011. Retrieved March 30, 2011.
- ""It Gets Better" to Get Governors Award". emmys.com. August 22, 2012. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
- "GT Investigates - In This Issue". GayTimes. Archived from the original on November 14, 2010. Retrieved November 4, 2010.
- "In suicide's wake, a message to gay teens: Hang on; you are not alone". St. Petersburg Times; Tampabay.com. October 2, 2010. Retrieved October 16, 2010.
- Savage, Dan (September 23, 2010). "Give 'Em Hope". The Stranger.
- "Obamas Focus on Antibullying Efforts". The New York Times. March 11, 2011.
- Parr, Ben (May 4, 2011). "Google Chrome Commercial Lets Gay Teens Know "It Gets Better"". Mashable. Retrieved February 3, 2021.
- "Dan Savage: For Gay Teens, Life 'Gets Better'". NPR. March 23, 2011.
- Schuessler, Jennifer (April 10, 2011). "Hardcover Nonfiction". The New York Times.
- "It Gets Better Special To Premiere On MTV, Logo," from MTV.com, 2/1/2012 (accessed 2/9/2021)
- "Second It Gets Better Special Full Episode". It Gets Better. Retrieved September 23, 2017.
- Stelter, Brian (October 18, 2010). "'It Gets Better' Offers Hope and Help to Gay Youth". The New York Times. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
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