Thursday, April 21, 2011

It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating A Life Worth Living - The book!

Edited by Dan Savage and Terry Miller

So the youtube phenomena is now a book, and I was fortunate enough to get to meet Dan and his husband-in-Canada, boyfriend-in-America Terry at a recent book signing here in California.

The video revolution that Dan and Terry started (here's a link to their first video) has been heart-wrenching and inspiring. I've done one of my own and featured a number of my favorites (of the thousands of videos people have contributed) here on this blog.

At the book signing, Dan shared that they

"know for a fact that these videos have saved lives."

One of the most poignant moments of the evening was Dan sharing that his straight brother was also bullied as a teen, and that Dan didn't want his brother to think that by doing this project Dan was now saying that bullying for other reasons besides queerness wasn't also a terrible thing that needed to be changed.

And his brother responded, saying that the difference between their both being bullied was that

"I had Mom and Dad but you didn't."

Dan and Terry spoke about the spin off version of the project launched in Great Britain, It Gets Better Today.

They read excerpts, including sharing the transcript of this video by Jules Skloot that opens the book:

They answered questions from the audience, gave advice, signed copies and posed for photos

like this one with me!
From left, Terry Miller, Me, and Dan Savage.

All in all it was a great evening.

It's an important book, and one I'm happy to have be the first title in our new virtual bookshelf/category: GLBTQ Teen Non-Fiction.

Add your review of "It Gets Better" - the book in comments.



Anonymous said...

I didn't really enjoy this book that much, but that being said, I'm not really the intended audience. I am a queer high schooler, but I'm in a place where it's pretty much better already. One of the parts that I didn't like as much was the fact that it didn't talk much about the issues that you face when you're a queer teen, but I guess anyone that isn't as lucky and as in a good of a situation as I am would already know about the issues. My other main gripe was that I feel like bi and trans people were underrepresented. Like 60 or 70 % of the stories were all from gay or lesbian people, and most of the ones that were about bi or trans people didn't really deal with the specific issues that people with these identities face. There were only three or four stories about bi people, and only one of them that I remember really dealt with bi specific issues, and none of them talked about bisexual erasure, which as a somewhat bi person, I think is one of the biggest problems that I've seen. The other thing I didn't like was how most of them basically just said "Hang on through high school and everything will magically get better." Only a few of them talked about finding the LGBTQ youth groups or a GSA, or the other stuff that can help while you're in high school.
That being said, my favorite quote from the book id help me gain some perspective. As is said in Jessica Leshnoff's story, "If you're struggling with this right now, I want you to go to the mirror and say 'I'm (your name).' If the words 'gay' or 'bi' or 'trans' or 'queer' are on your lips, replace it with your name. Because you are who you are. That's the core of you(250)."

Anonymous said...
Okay, so this is exactly what I was talking about with inclusiveness. They forgot cis privilege and bisexual erasure, though.