Last year, Mike wrote up the “It Gets Better” movement, a video project designed to let kids who are being bullied know that life gets much, much better after high school. Well the entire concept has taken off far more than anyone expected, least of all creator Dan Savage. Kobo recently did a great interview with Dan that shares a lot of great information, including news about the book (and ebook) version of “It Gets Better”!
For starters, the video project has blown away all expectations:
Kobo: When you and Terry published the first “It Gets Better” video, did you ever imagine that you would get the groundswell of support the project has?
Dan: No, we never expected this kind of outpouring of support for LGBT youth.We had hoped to get 100 videos, and we’re well over 10 000 videos for the project from Australia, UK, Latin America, Africa, there’s one starting in Israel now. We’re just completely floored. The goal wasn’t to rack up 10 million videos, that’s not a measure of success. Even if we had gotten 100 videos, and saved some lives, it would have been a success, and we know for a fact the videos for this project have saved lives.
Plus they’ve racked up some very famous people in videos:
Kobo: Whose support of the project surprised you the most?
Dan: I was surprised when Hilary Clinton’s video came in, I was surprised when we got the call from the White House, I was completely flabbergasted when Prime Minister David Cameron’s went up on the website. Tim Gunn’s video… in it, he discussed his suicide attempt, something he had never discussed before. That was heartbreaking. His video was one of the most moving, and important. Even if no one had ever heard of Tim Gunn. It was really some of the high profile videos that shocked me. The ones that really move me, the ones I think are most important are ones from average, everyday, ordinary LGBT folks that no one has ever heard of. A lot of gay kids out there may conclude that, if all the videos were by Ellen and the President, the only way to be safe and happy, is to be rich and famous, or connected to very politically powerful people, and what are the odds of that? They need to know that you can be a lesbian Dairy Farmer in Vermont, a latina poet in the Bronx, a doctor in Vancouver, a group of African American friends in Chicago, and be Gay/Lesbian/Bi/Trans, and be happy, safe, loved, and find your community.
But the best part was this:
Kobo: You’re trying to get the book into every High School in the United States right at a time when some choice-based and gay-friendly organizations are poised to lose their government funding. How has the reception been? How can people get involved?
Dan: You can go to itgetsbetter.org, and you can fill out a form, and have a book sent directly to your middle or high school to shelve, and over 1000 people have done that. We have had people personally deliver books they ordered to their middle schools and high schools, to donate them to their libraries. Most of us don’t come out in middle school, or high school. A lot of schools are in denial that there are gay children in their schools, because there aren’t any out gay children in their schools. For a gay adult to come back to that school, and say, “I was gay when I went to school here, there are other gay children in this school. Put this book on the shelf for those gay kids who are here right now!” It really calls up the administration, the teachers, and the librarians on their responsibilities to the LGBT kids in their schools who may not be out.
It’s a very cool concept, and definitely a worthy cause! It also looks like they’ll throw in a t-shirt if you donate $30 instead of just $25 for the book. And it’s available in ebook form as well from Kobo [though oddly their site says they don't have US ebook rights], Amazon and B&N. Be sure to check out the full interview on , and watch the video announcing the book below!