Articles tagged with: Dan Savage
Dan Savage’s column today recounts how he “headed north last week to do Savage Love Live — a rapid-fire, slightly tipsy Q&A session — at the University of Alaska Anchorage. It was my third visit to UAA and it was a blast.” It was a blast for his audience, too.
Looks like Dan Savage and his husband Terry Miller will soon be recognized as legally married in their home state of Washington. But today Dan’s in Anchorage — and he’s no happier than we are about Alaska’s lack of basic civil rights protections for LGBT people.
Dan Savage, author of the wildly popular sex advice column “Savage Love” and cofounder with his husband Terry Miller of the It Gets Better Project, returns to University of Alaska Anchorage on February 9, 2012 with his honest and funny question and answer session on everything sexual. Tickets available at UAATix starting January 20.
Dan Savage is an award-winning author, journalist, newspaper editor and political commentator. He launched the “It Gets Better” video project to combat bullying and prevent LGBT teen suicides. Bent Alaska presents his story as part of our celebration of LGBT History Month 2011, with thanks to the Equality Forum.
Dan Savage (born October 7, 1964) is an award-winning author, journalist, newspaper editor and political commentator. He launched the It Gets Better video project to combat bullying and prevent LGBT teen suicides.
Born in Chicago, Savage was the third of four children in an Irish Catholic family. He attended Quigley Prep, which Savage describes as “a Catholic high school for boys thinking of becoming priests.”
At 18, Savage came out to his family. After initially having a difficult time, they became supportive. Savage enrolled at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in theater.
In 1991, Savage’s sex-advice column, “Savage Love,” first appeared in The Stranger, an alternative weekly newspaper in Seattle. The internationally syndicated column has been called funny, sarcastic, informative and outrageous.
Savage’s columns were compiled into a book, Savage Love: Straight Answers from America’s Most Popular Sex Columnist (1998). He has also written The Kid: What Happened After My Boyfriend and I Decided to Go Get Pregnant (1999) and The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage, and My Family (2006) and won a Lambda Literary Award for Skipping Towards Gomorrah: The Seven Deadly Sins and the Pursuit of Happiness in America (2003).
In 2010, reacting to the suicides of bullied LGBT youth, Savage started the It Gets Better Project, which encourages adults to submit videos assuring gay teens that life gets better. As of 2011, the project generated more than 5,000 video submissions, including testimonials from President Obama, Ellen DeGeneres, Tim Gunn, Anne Hathaway, Ke$ha and other celebrities. For creating It Gets Better, Savage received a Webby Special Achievement Award, the leading international award honoring online excellence. With his husband Terry Miller, Savage compiled a book based on It Gets Better videos, It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living, about which Bent Alaska wrote in March. Introducing the book, Savage expressed the frustration LGBT adults have had as they were forced to stand idly by while homophobic parents, ministers, teachers, and kids battered the bodies and spirits of LGBT youth:
The culture used to offer this deal to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people: You’re ours to torture until you’re eighteen. You will be bullied and tormented at school, at home, at church — until you’re eighteen. Then, you can do what you want. You can come out, you can move away, and maybe, if the damage we’ve done isn’t too severe, you can recover and build a life for yourself. There’s just one thing you can’t do after you turn eighteen: You can’t talk to the kids we’re still torturing, the LGBT teenagers being assaulted emotionally, physically, and spiritually in the same cities, schools, and churches you escaped from. And if you do attempt to talk to the kids we’re still torturing, we’ll impugn your motives, we’ll accuse you of being a pedophile or pederast, we’ll claim you’re trying to recruit children into “the gay lifestyle.”
That was the old order and it fell apart when the It Gets Better Project went viral. Suddenly gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender adults all over the world — all over the world — were speaking to LGBT youth. We weren’t waiting for permission anymore. We found our voices.
Savage has been a contributor to Out magazine and HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher.” As a political commentator on LGBT issues, Savage has appeared frequently on CNN and MSNBC.
Savage and his husband Terry Miller, who married in 2005, live in Seattle with their adopted son.
The It Gets Better project got its start when Dan Savage and Terry Miller uploaded a video on September 21, 2010, in response to the suicides of teenagers bullied because they were, or were believed by their peers to be, gay. Watch:
Photo credit: Dan Savage, 12 June 2005. Photo via Wikimedia provided by Dan Savage; used in accordance with Creative Commons license.
Earlier today, Box Turtle Bulletin posted a video today from a gay teenager named Dylan thanking a gay couple for their “It Gets Better” YouTube video.
Zack Ford at Think Progress tells us more:
Dylan found an “It Gets Better” video from YouTube user “depfox,” gay couple Jay and Bryan Leffew with their kids Daniel and Selena. Through the Leffew family, Dylan saw that he didn’t have to pray away the gay or repress his identity. He could, in fact, grow up to have the loving family that he has dreamed of.
Watch (and be sure to read the comments on Dylan’s YouTube page):
Zack Ford continues,
Since posting his thank-you to the Leffews last month, he has since made a follow-up video telling his own coming out story in which he also talks about how important Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns’ video was for him as he was figuring out his identity. Dylan’s journey is far from over, because though he came out to the world at large on YouTube, he still hasn’t talked to his family about his identity. Still, by coming out, he is already on a better path.
Is it fair to suggest that IGB saved Dylan’s life? Yes. Nobody will ever know what his story might have been, but if some Internet videos helped him avoid a life of denial, depression, and psychologically harmful ex-gay therapy, that is surely a victory. It’s pretty hard to call something “useless” that has saved a life, and it would be foolish to assume Dylan is alone. “It Gets Better” is making it better one video at a time just by being there for young eyes to see. Keep them coming.
Dan Savage has described “It Gets Better” as a “message in a bottle” to LGBT and questioning youth. Sometimes that message makes all the difference.
Not all kids have access to YouTube. And so the It Gets Better Project’s message of hope for LGBT youth is now in a book: time, now, to get it into every library.
Over 10 million people viewed the It Gets Better project started by columnist Dan Savage, millions participated in Spirit Day events wearing purple to raise awareness of anti-gay bullying, and thousands attended vigils for the gay teens who killed themselves recently. Yet the suicides continue, with another gay teen taking his life this week.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton uploaded an It Gets Better message on Tuesday, and President Obama followed with his message on Thursday. They are strong messages against prejudice and in support of LGBT youth.
Clinton’s video was appreciated as the highest level government official to join the project at the time, while Obama’s message sparked anger in the LGBT community because the good words are contradicted by his lack of action on behalf of gay rights.
Watch President Obama’s It Gets Better video:
The It Gets Better project is about kids, anti-gay bullying and suicide prevention. This is the first time a sitting president has told gay youth that there is nothing wrong with them. He is a good speaker and his message can reach many people, including those who might not have heard this kind of message before and those who have been told otherwise. A speech like this from the president has the ability to save lives, and that’s what the It Gets Better project is all about.
Now it’s time to follow those words with deeds that actually make it better for LGBT youth and adults.
On Friday, Dan Savage responded to President Obama’s video, voicing the mixed feelings expressed by the LGBT community:
Thanks to Dan Savage and his husband for creating a project that brings national attention to the problem of anti-LGBT discrimination and the harm it causes our youth and our society.
Savage Love columnist Dan Savage, who spoke to sold out crowds at UAA two years in a row, has a new video project to give hope to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer youth who are harassed for being different and remind them that there is life after high school – and it can be great!
It started when Savage wrote a column about a gay teenager in Indiana who killed himself:
Billy Lucas was just 15 when he hanged himself in a barn on his grandmother’s property. He reportedly endured intense bullying at the hands of his classmates—classmates who called him a fag and told him to kill himself. His mother found his body.
Nine out of 10 gay teenagers experience bullying and harassment at school, and gay teens are four times likelier to attempt suicide. Many LGBT kids who do kill themselves live in rural areas, exurbs, and suburban areas, places with no gay organizations or services for queer kids.
“My heart breaks for the pain and torment you went through, Billy Lucas,” a reader wrote after I posted about Billy Lucas to my blog. “I wish I could have told you that things get better.”
I had the same reaction: 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.
But gay adults aren’t allowed to talk to these kids. Schools and churches don’t bring us in to talk to teenagers who are being bullied. Many of these kids have homophobic parents who believe that they can prevent their gay children from growing up to be gay—or from ever coming out—by depriving them of information, resources, and positive role models.
Why are we waiting for permission to talk to these kids? We have the ability to talk directly to them right now. We don’t have to wait for permission to let them know that it gets better. We can reach these kids.
So here’s what you can do: Make a video. Tell them it gets better.
I’ve launched a channel on YouTube—www .youtube.com/itgetsbetterproject—to host these videos. My normally camera-shy husband and I already posted one. We both went to Christian schools and we were both bullied—he had it a lot worse than I did—and we are living proof that it gets better. We don’t dwell too much on the past. Instead, we talk mostly about all the meaningful things in our lives now—our families, our friends (gay and straight), the places we’ve gone and things we’ve experienced—that we would’ve missed out on if we’d killed ourselves then.
We can’t help Billy, but there are lots of other Billys out there—other despairing LGBT kids who are being bullied and harassed, kids who don’t think they have a future—and we can help them.
They need to know that it gets better. Submit a video. Give them hope.
Dan Savage and his husband Terry talk about being bullied in high school for being gay and how their lives got so much better as adults:
Do you have a good story to tell about how life got better for you as an adult? They want to hear your story of How It Got Better!
It would be great to get some more videos that include more than one person. Gay couples, groups of friends, straight people and their gay friends. And we have lots of videos from folks who are focusing on what they suffered—which absolutely should be touched on. But it would be great to see some more videos that give young gay kids a picture of the lives they could make for themselves if they just hang in there… So if you decide to make a video, don’t just share your pain. Share your joy too.
There are dozens of videos listed as favorites on the It Gets Better YouTube site, and now cities are joining the project.
San Francisco was the first city to respond with an “It Gets Better” video. Check it out:
If you’re in Alaska and you make an “It Gets Better” video, please send the link to Bent Alaska so I can post it here as well.
There’s a big beautiful world out there waiting for you. It gets better. Trust me.
Dan Savage, author of the wildly popular column Savage Love, is returning to UAA on Feb. 11 with his honest and funny question and answer session on everything sexual. Tickets go on sale today at UAA Tix.
“Boldly covering everything and anything related to sex and relationships, Dan Savage answers questions about virginity, orgasms, monogamy, and more. Not just an LGBT speaker, Dan Savage creates a space for all students to honestly discuss taboo topics. With the audience driving the discussion, the program can touch on any subject – from sexual problems to gay marriage to child-raising to sex education to the current political scene.”
On March 4, Sherman Alexie will be on campus to discuss “The Business of Fancydancing.” Alexie is an acclaimed Native American poet, and his movie Fancydancing won several gay & lesbian film festival awards. Tickets at UAA Tix.
Both events are free for UAA students, but they must have an event ticket and a valid UAA ID. Tickets can be picked up at the UAA Student Union Information Desk starting today.
Also, renowned author and poet Nikki Giovanni will present her work on Jan. 21 as part of UAA’s Civil Rights Month Celebration and Alaska Civil Rights Day. No word on tickets. Check the event page for updates.
If you read Alaska GLBT News, you already know that Dan Savage, an openly-gay author of a popular sex-advice column, is coming to Anchorage on Feb. 12 to present Savage Love Live, a talk followed by audience questions on anything and everything sexual.
Feb. 12, the day of the Anchorage show, is also national Freedom to Marry Day. Savage and his partner were married in Canada in 2005, and Dan is a strong advocate of LGBT equality.
“‘[H]homophobia, like racism, is a pastime of the ignorant and elderly. And the elderly are leaving us. They want to take a snapshot of this moment in time and lock in these prejudices, and make them hard to undo. But they’re losing ground. We’re moving the ball down the field and we’re winning. It’s just… Canada got the French; Australia got the convicts; we got the fuckin’ Puritans.’”
See Savage Love Live at UAA’s Wendy Williamson Auditorium, 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 12. Students with a UAA ID get in free. General Public tickets are $10 and are available at UAATix.