It’s finally here! It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying and Creating a Life Worth Living hits bookstores today!
Based on the popular YouTube phenomenon kicked off by columnist/author Dan Savage and Terry Miller back in September in response to the eight teens who committed suicide that month because of anti-gay bullying. Today more than 10,000 messages of hope have been posted on YouTube and at the Web site ItGetsBetter.org, by people from all over the country including many celebrities and politicians (President Obama, Hilary Clinton, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Ellen DeGeneres, Suze Orman, Tim Gunn, Chris Colfer, Neil Patrick Harris, Madonna, Kesha, Jason Derulo, Justin Beiber, Chaz Bono, Perez Hilton, Andy Cohen, Kathy Griffin, Gabrielle Union, and the list goes on and on and on).
The book features about 100 people from various backgrounds, including household names and common folk. There are also a host of amazing writers who stepped up and added their voices, including Gregory Maguire and David Sedaris. Make sure you head to your local bookstore and pick up a copy. And as I may have mentioned once or twice, I’m also in the book!
Back in October I posted an It Gets Better video in an attempt to represent for the black gays growing up in small towns. Then late last year I got an email from Dutton (the book’s publisher) and was asked if they could use my video. It was transcribe and an email back-and-forth ensued during the editing process. Then a month or so ago I got an advanced copy of the book with my story appearing on page 264 and my name printed on the back next to the president himself. I still can’t believe it.
It’s been an amazing experience being apart of this book. I was on Fox 28 Columbus a couple weeks ago and appeared on 10tv Columbus this week to talk about my involvement with the book. I was also interviewed by a reporter from Outlook (Columbus’ lgbt publication) for a feature that’s going to run next month. I’ve gotten countless emails, messages comments and phone calls from people all over the world. My cousin even featured an interview with me about the book in her new blog. And I’m in the midst of planning two events to celebrate the book’s release that will take place in April. It’s all been a surreal whirlwind.
This book is for everyone and I behoove you to get a copy. And don’t just get a copy for yourself ,get one for the teenagers in your life. The kids who are bullied need to read this book for hope and the kids who do the bullying need to read this book so they can see how they are affecting people’s lives. There are also resources in the book for teachers and parents on how to combat anti-gay bullying at home and in the classroom. (Check out my IGB video below.)
Also make sure you head over to ItGetsBetter.org and donate to the cause! Proceeds from the book will go to benefit organizations that support lgbt youth annually, including The Trevor Project (a 24-hour suicide hot line for lgbt youth). But the It Gets Better Project has also started a campaign to have book put in every library and school in America. If you go to ItGetsBettter.org and donate $25 they will send a book to a library or school of your choice.
Dan Savage and Terry Miller kick off the “It Gets Better” book tour in New York City today. Be sure to visit them and support the tour if you’re in the areas they’ll be stopping. (You can see a full list of cities on the tour here.)
If you live near Central Ohio, stay tuned to Queer-Corner.com for details about upcoming “It Gets Better” events. The Kaleidoscope Youth Center, Wexner Center for the Arts and Stonewall Columbus will be sponsoring an event April 14 at the Stonewall Columbus Center on High, 1160 N. High Street. There will be books for sale, equipment set up for people to make their own It Gets Better videos and a panel discussion on how we can make things better for victims of anti-gay bullying right now. Beehive Books in Delaware, Ohio, will also be hosting an event sponsored by ACT OUT Delaware at some point in April. More details on both events is forthcoming.
And lastly, in honor of the book’s release, here are some of my favorite It Gets Better videos:
Forth Worth City Councilman Joel Burns
Frank Malaba (founder of It Will Get Better Africa)
It Gets Better Broadway (There’s an entire Web site dedicated to It Gets Better videos made by members of the Broadway community. You should definitely check it out if you haven’t already.)
Comedians Jeffery Self and Guy Branum
Neil Patrick Harris
The Cast of Brothers & Sisters
ComedySportz Los Angeles
The Wexner Center for the Arts
And of course, the two who started it all: Dan Savage & Terry Miller