Columns Sep 30, 2010 at 4:00 am

Boy on the Side


This feels very AA. In a good way. We are taught to share our 'experience, strength, and hope'. To tell what it was like, what happened, and what it's like now. Simple. Life saving.
The project is great, I've plugged it on facebook (to the dismay of my fundie relatives, haha fuck you guys).

But I wish the column had more substance, too.
Really? Just one question this week?? I feel cheated having waited for this to come out.
Thanks, Dan. The despair and suicides have to stop. Let's get the lawyers on these retrograde school districts now.
I'm a het who was bullied mercilessly, along with his best friend, in seventh and eighth grade. We weren't gay, we're not gay, but everyone decided we were and we never heard the end of it.

I would like to add my statement to the project.
Sorry, but I've got to disagree that this is not polyamory. For me, polyamory is about fluidity, and the freedom to define one's relationships for oneself. The only absolute is consent: if it's not with the fully informed consent of all parties involved, it's not polyamory.

He is sexually involved with a woman who is in a committed relationship with another man, with the full consent of all involved. Sounds like a poly relationship to me.
I am usually cringing and laughing from reading your article. Today is a first, I got goosebumps. Good work, Dan.

In memory of those who have taken their lives, it would be great if you could leave room at the end of Savage Love for an It Gets Better Moment, asking readers to write in with something positive about their queer lives.
I have so much love for you Dan. What a beautiful outreach effort. I really believe that you will save some lives. God bless you for your work. I know you don't believe in God, but in my humble opinion, if He's up there, I think He believes in you.
@MG: sounds like a different column. There are rural teens who will have a hard time accessing a sex advice column.
@10, Fair point, but I have to say, if ever they would have an opportunity to be reached by a loving gay community, it's on the internet. In other words, some you'll never reach, but this is the best shot they have for that. Maybe sneaking on in a library at school and reading a column once a week will make the difference. Why is it no one in these videos talks about the amount of ass they're going to get? I mean, sentimentality is good, but let's face it, when you were a teen, wouldn't the concept of orgiastic sex keep you going? Maybe that's just me.
I don't know whether adding another victim to this list highlights the need for outreach and support or only adds to our shock and pain (and forgive me if it's the latter), but another of these occurred in my old hometown of Tehachapi, CA:…
Thank you, Dan, for starting It Gets Better. I think outreach to young GLBT people is really important, because the middle and high school years can really suck if you're "different" in any way. Thanks for doing something to make it suck less, at the very least.
It Gets Better Project is a wonderful. And, not just for those young GLBTQ people out there, but for all young people. Good work, Dan and Terry. And a thank you to all who have made videos for the project.
"fingered O'Donnelled"?
@6: I've had the same thought. I'm straight but endured being called "faggot" all through high school--and this was in a supposedly "progressive" city. Dan, do you want us heteros to submit videos too? I can see valid arguments for and against it.

@7: I agree: "poly"=multiple; "amory"=loving. And the consent of all parties is implicit by contrast to "cheating"/"adultery". She's getting sex or "lovin'" from more than one person. So it's polyamory.
ABC News has a story on a Rutgers freshman who was secretly filmed/broadcast onto the internet while engaging in a homosexual act who then committed suicide by jumping off of the GW bridge.

I can only hope that the perpetrators are prosecuted to the full extent of the law (good luck) but at least they are both 18 and will have this crime on their records for the rest of their life AND that It Gets Better will help other teens (many of whom may be just starting to embrace their sexuality) to not feel like their only recourse is to end their life.

I am pretty sure that this is not polyamorous because the relationship does not seem to extend beyond sexual (emotional, spritual, etc). It seems like the writer is being used in the same way that a sex toy is used. Just a thought!
big ticks to #3. Column needs substance and not just virtue.
"Dyke", as I was commonly referred to in high school was/is the incorrect epithet. If I have to identify, I use bisexual. Dan, how should I support 'It Gets Better' without putting my face all over the internet? (I am an unemployed teacher looking for work, and outing myself could really screw my job prospects) Suggestions, anyone?
I guess you don't realize how "progressive" your enviornment is until you see that many other people have it much worse. I had a friend Kevin who lived in my neigborhood and we attended HS together. Kevin is and has alway been gay. He was and is drop dead hansome. Women would drool and just flock to Kevin. Since Kevin attracted so many women it was always good to have him around. Kevin had many brothers and he could fight. Gay don't equal weak!! Kev was one of the guys he just happened to like boys. Black folks have a way of separating the person from their sexuality. In many black churches it seems par for the course to have a openly gay chior director but preach firey homophobic sermons.
Please, oh, please, can I trade places with the girl in the first post? Sounds perfectly IDEAL!
My definition of polyamory is that there's emotional attachment involved. This usually causes heated debate when it comes up, but the (not-just-sex) poly community (iirc) usually sides with "dating and emotions falls under polyamory, if it's just sex it's called swinging". The swinging community sometimes wants to include themselves as a type of poly.

@20: There's one up there already with two teachers who have their faces covered, and tell their story with a series of written-on cards that they flip through.
11: Ass is incredibly tempting when you're a teen, but when you're being abused, the biggest priority is getting it to stop. It Gets Better is exactly what these kids need to hear.

20: You had the bandanna-faced teachers, you can use a mask if you like, or you can focus on "high school was shit, things are better now" angle. Although personally, I think that if you still think you have to hide who you are, that undermines the basic message of the project.

CTOACN: The rules placed on everything and the guy's bad vibes make me think this is a newbie poly relationship that's full of newbie poly mistakes. Lots of people who are down with the idea of fucking/dating other people themselves don't feel quite so hot when the reality of their partner dating/fucking other people kicks in.

Watch both of them. If he passive-aggressively cockblocks you, or if she passive-aggressively queen bees you, that's nature's way of saying that this isn't going to work out. Get out until the two of them figure themselves out first.
Nothing new this week? Why read the column, then?
I saw you in Newsweek - congrats! Right at the top of the scale :)
What a great idea. I loved the video from the repentant bully that now does charity work in the Castro, and a hundred others.
Thanks again, Dan and Terry.
Oh my god. I wish this kid could have found the "it gets better" videos.…

Horribly, it's too late for him, but good on ya Dan, for starting it. It will save lives. I just know it.
Oh my god. I wish this kid had seen the "it gets better" videos.…

Horribly, it's too late for him. But the videos will save lives, I just know it. Good job.
sorry about posting twice. It's my first time.
Saw the link on NPR and visited the itgetsbetterproject. What a moving and accessible idea. I loved the intimacy of hearing your and Terry's story. Please continue to share with readers of your blog, and beyond, ways that we can help young people of all sexual orientations.

Followed the NPR story to the itgetsbetter videos. What a moving and accessible project. I enjoyed hearing the intimacy of your and Terry's story. I hope it inspires others. Please continue to share with readers beyond your blog ways that we can help young people of all sexual orientations feel accepted.
I'm with 24. If you have to hide your face you shouldn't participate in the It Gets Better project. That sends the message that it didn't really get better.
Unfortunate circumstances for this comment but I keep forgetting to write one...

Dan! I live in Louisville via Chicago via Seattle via Boston. I used to wait on you at Boom Noodle actually

Point is.. the advice columnist here is egregious. So, so, so, so, so lame. My girlfriend and I miss you (she's from here but had you in the Dig in Boston and Reader in Chicago). I know we can read you online but it's not the same.

As you know, Kentucky could use you. Save these heathens!
I sent it to Perez and he did one and sent others over. Everyone go show your support for the It Gets Better Project.

Good Job Dan.
Dan, it's getting to the point where there is little reason to read Savage Love anymore. Just continue to cut and paste your Letters of the Day...
Sadly, people can't seem to learn this lesson. Just today a body was fished out of the Hudson; a freshman at Rutgers jumped to his death after two students hid a camera in his room, videotaped him having an encounter with another young man, and then broadcast it on their blog and tweeted about it.
I am writing to convey my profound admiration for the "It Gets Better" project. Ingenius and profound, even if it is thirty (or one thousand) years too late!

I just forwarded the cornerstone video(Dan & Terry's) to my 58 year old mother for approval and to aid this movement in going viral.

At present, there is one openly gay person in my family; my cousin, a rather successful Nurse Practicioner; and whom has been in a very happy relationship for (to my knowledge) 12 years(queue jealousy).

Regardless of the degree of saturation of LGBT in the media or my family; I give credit to my mother as the one person who established my cognitive acceptance of 'non traditional' families/lifestyles.

A brief personal history: the family on my father's side are devout Catholics (including myself and the aforementioned cousin).
At any rate, I was taught acceptance at an early age. Born in 1980, I was caught admist in a sea of 'weirdness" - our country's contagious involvement in the eternal MidEast conflict and the Advent of the AIDS plague were the news headlines of my youth. My grandmother passed away three years ago with nary a bad feeling towards any member of my family due to this unified love and acceptance.

In this respect, I am proud to say that the majority of my family are EXTREMELY ACCEPTING of my cousin's and other pursueants of an 'alternative lifestyle."

It has been my family's influence that created an open-minded individual in myself and my sibling. Since an early age, I have been titled "wierd," or different. It may be due to the fact that I am a friendly introvert, or any combinations of various reasons (according to Myers-Briggs I am an INTP).

In conclusion, I would like to state that I am rather jealous of all people whom are able to categorize themselves. The reason is that I am yet unable to find my fit within a specific group of people.

Alas, the acceptance of all differences is growing in this country, whether it be race or sexuality. So I am hopeful that people like myself (whom appear to be "normal") and those who have marked differences, are accepted and welcomed in our society without reserve.

Post Script- I would like to thank Terry (and everyone else) for posting an "It Gets Better" video. It was AWESOME to see you both talk about how you met and your family. I am a hopeless romantic.
@26 "Overwrought teen queer suicide saga"? Yes, you're absolutely right, let's have more letters from people wondering how to get their girlfriends to pee on them, and enough with this suicide prevention stuff! God, saving lives is just so...monotonous.
Why have I just met you?!? Might have something to do with living in TexAss for the last 7 years. We connect on so many levels... well, other than the fact that I have a vag. I have been listening nonstop to your podcasts! Amazing work...

A friend noticed my rantings on facebook about all the recent suicides and suggested that I watch some videos from the It Gets Better Project. I am going to share some of those videos in training entry-level-therapists for working with sexual minorities. That and the first 5 minutes of your podcast about the project.

My dissertation is on bisexuality and your callers are courageous in opening up to you! Thank you for your work... I am so glad that you are out there!! I am going to share you with EVERYONE.... now don't you feel like the dirty slut! <3 <3 <3 Stephany
@39 *shrug* I read this column for entertainment, not activism.

Suicide sucks, yes. It fucks up families, leaves friends wondering if they could have helped if they'd only known, makes everyone who loved the deceased feel hollow and empty. I get it.

Further, I'm for gay marriage and gay adoption and against teen suicide, straight or gay or whatever. But I don't read this column for two to three weeks of teen suicide PSAs, I read it because I want to know about the dude who caught his dick in a bear trap in service to some memorable, esoteric kink.

I doubt Dan's going to hemmorhage readers doing this, but if there are any other mostly vanilla straight dudes reading this, I'm pretty sure they'll get tired of it too.
@39--By the way...

You may think suicide prevention columns are much more important than peeing on people columns, but you're wrong. I'm fairly sure most of the people who read Savage Love in their local alternative rag are straight, if only because most people in general are straight. Demographically speaking, we're the ones who put food on Dan's table. When he panders exclusively to his gay base with columns about how they can make videos for at-risk gay teens while pointedly excluding those breeders who pay his rent, and in fact devotes the majority of the space in his column to evangelize gay suicide prevention for two weeks in a row, we breeders get bored and offended, and eventually we head for the exits.

You want to keep us happy. Keep that in mind. If not for us, this column would have a much smaller fanbase and a whole lot less political power.
I'm sure it never occurred to Dan that there are no straight people in the world with any interest in preventing suicides that are brought on by anti-gay harassment. It was kind to point that out to him.

And, of course, Dan was obviously lying when he pointed out that straight people are often the victims of homophobic bullying, and when he said that one of the most recent victims to turn to suicide was very possibly straight.
@43 If I'm told I'm not welcome to participate in an activist-type activity whose goals I and every other right-thinking breeder share and whose targets I would personally physically defend, I get irritated and a little offended. That goes double for an activity that's taking up two weeks of my Thursday entertainment.
I just read about Tyler Clementi. Your initiatives are so timely. I can only applaud what you are doing.
While his roommate is practically balling his girlfriend, he's playing a game called "Dawn of War"? Who scripted this, Tarantino?
Hey Dan, have you thought about reaching out to other LGBT celebrities to ask them to post videos?
I'm a 35 year old straight male, and I am heartbroken over Clementi's suicide. Just absolutely heartbroken.

This bothered me when I woke up this morning. I'm just so confused and angry.

I thought things were getting better for homosexuals in the US. I suppose I'll consider this my wake up call.
@18 & @23

I really hate the party line that insists that "polyamory is about having a spiritual/emotional connection with more than one person." Yes, it can involve that. But it also can involve casual sex (I see "swinging" as a mostly heteronormative subset that falls under the larger umbrella of "polyamory"). For me, the salient factor is fluidity... I'm free to define my relationships in a way that works for me, and my partners.

If we are trying to promote tolerance and sex-positivity, it does not behoove us to distinguish casual sex as less than committed sex. And these things themselves are not discrete categories, but fluid and changeable.
@41/42 Well, I'm a "straight breeder" just like you, and I haven't once found myself bored or offended. Appalled, outraged, sad, helpless....but not bored. So, as a "vanilla straight dude," you're not getting your weekly dose of freaky sex stories? That's tragic. And your "I'm pro-gay marriage, etc." is cool, if it weren't followed by, "I'm so bored with gay suicide." I don't see how you can separate the two. If this site/Dan's column loses readers like you, and yet manages to prevent even one kid's suicide, then I'd say that would definitely be worth it.

And: "You may think suicide prevention columns are much more important than peeing on people columns, but you're wrong."
When you say "important," you're talking about ad revenue. That's not the same meaning I would attach to "important" in this case.
I disagree with those who say polyamory covers casual relationships - although it can. The problem is that polyamory has been somewhat co-opted by people who want another name for "messing around without considering anyone else's feelings". Whether poly sex is casual or committed, there should be respect, and yes, caring. "Amor" means love, not "hey at least I don't have to pay for a hooker".

Most of the regular folks I meet who claim to be poly are just the same old horndogs as before, they get mad if they don't get laid the same night, and they don't value the companionship or feelings of their partners UNLESS they're getting laid whenever they want it. The old fashioned word for this was "cad" and it applies to women as well as men. They view sex as a commodity rather than as a gift.

For me at least polyamory, like some other forms of love, implies acceptance and even gratitude. That could mean acceptance of other people as human beings, whose company is valuable at all times regardless of activity. So I could be in a "poly" relationship with someone where we rarely had sex. But for most of us on the street outside of these poly workshops, sex seems to be the MAIN or ONLY component of the connection.
@Happy the Homophobe (#41, 42): There are a lot of us nominally "straight" readers who appreciate Dan using his wide audience to further social-justice causes every once in a while (like putting out spam hits on homophobic schools). You think the sex/relationship advice is more important; power to you. But please don't presume to speak for all of "us", the "mostly vanilla straight dudes" reading the column. As Canuck point out, some (many?) of us are not getting bored.

(#44): What an excellent example of assumed heteronormative, patriarchal privilege! Two things here - first, I don't recall you being dis-invited to participate in It Gets Better. I, for one, have chosen to not post a video for fear of co-opting a discursive space intended for gay adults to tell gay teens about the fabulous gay lives they can have after high school, but there are also videos from straight people who were themselves bullied or were/are allies of kids who were/are bullied, one of which Dan featured on Slog. Second, while you might "get irritated and a little offended" at what you perceive to be a space that is not including you, you have to understand that as a straight man, institutionalized systems of power operate to privilege you. This is probably most of the reason you feel offended - people generally don't tell you "No, you can't participate," in contrast to all of the persons belonging to marked social groups, who are regularly pushed out of various social fora. Ultimately I agree that any sort of divisive tactic with respect to groups or identities (Identity Politics) is not ideal, but until we dismantle the INSTITUTIONAL vectors of oppression, identity politics and group-only discursive spaces for the oppressed are necessary as some of the few methods for combating these institutional practices.

Get the fuck over yourself: lots of people hear "No" every day and manage to deal. You can handle it every once in a while.

I would argue that those people are perhaps assholes, but still poly as long as they're communicating honestly with their partners. If they're communicating the message you are getting from them, they're probably not having much luck in the poly community. On the other hand, if they're not communicating honestly, but being manipulative and opportunistic, that's not poly because it's not consensual. Manipulation is coercion, and I agree with you that it voids any poly cred.

My point is that polyamory is inclusive, not exclusive. We conduct ourselves with mutual respect for everyone's relationship choices, as long as those choices are executed respectfully.
@52 I'm trying to decide between:
"What he said" and "Rock on!"
[unrelated to this week's column]

Dan, you may have addressed this bigot already, but if not, he deserves your attention:

Michigan Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell is stalking the student assembly president of the University of Michigan.…
"Heteronormative, patriarchal privilege"...
You've nailed it on the head!
Dang white men complaining.
Regarding the It Gets Better complaints here. I am a het white girl who reads this column for more than entertainment. Yes, it's highly entertaining as well. And it's free, so what are you whinging about? Go watch Friends or something if you think the world owes you free entertainment with no obligation on your part.

Dan doesn't spend all his time pimping causes but when he does it's something important.

Maybe that guy in #41 and 42 is just a troll, trying to bait us all. With a name like Happy the Homophobe he must be intentionally cruel. Well, so what. That's not most of Dan's readers!
Actually, while this other guy might be into cuckolding, it's also very possible that she encouraged him to let her play with someone else, and, while he's not 100% ok with it, he'd rather be in the room to make sure the boundaries stay put (and maintain, at least in his mind and by his presence, the alpha/primary role). I go back and forth on whether I'm poly or not, and I haven't always been comfy with my boy playing with other people when I'm not there- we've played as a couple, and sometimes he'll get so distracted by new-shiny-girl that I have to move in at some point so I don't feel left out. That could also be a possibility with this guy- she likes the thrill of something new, but forgets to give her boyfriend some loving attention. To be fair to her, it's hard to pay attention sexually to two men who are trying to avoid their cocks touching or seeing another naked man- someone's likely to get left out.

Personally, unless it's a cuckolding situation, I maintain the best threesome method is have the boy pick the other boy, have the girl pick the other girl. It saves a lot of hassle.
Thank you, @52. You hit the nail on the head. It doesn't matter that I'm a (mostly) straight white chick. I plastered the It Gets Better project all over my facebook & twitter because people deserve human rights. It doesn't matter what kind of people. Everybody does - but especially kids. I'm for it any time someone with a big audience takes the time to work towards making the world a better place, while at the same time serving as a source of levity in a time that's sometimes dark and troubled. More power to Dan, more power to the project, and more power to bullied kids everywhere.

So you whiner rejects that want to get back to jacking off on other people's kinks can go whine to yourself in the corner, because the vast majority of Dan's audience are decent human beings, whatever their orientation - be that sexual or political, and care enough about human beings other than themselves to be OK with a bit of their weekly entertainment being donated to saving lives.
@52 - that was awesome!! THANK YOU :)
It Gets Better almost makes me wish I was gay so I could make a video for it. Excellent job, Dan.
This little threesome isn't a threesome, or poly-anything, or even cuckolding. You're basically doing the foreplay for the dude while he plays video games. I didn't hear anything about her doing anything for you. I'm assuming you get off when you go back to your room.
I have to say, though, it sounds like a great deal for the gal. I just don't see what you're getting out of it....except all worked up.

evening in the UK this, bullying is too much.
In the Washington, DC area, kids can contact SMYAL "The Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League (SMYAL) is the only Washington, DC metro area service organization solely dedicated to supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. Founded in 1984, SMYAL is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization.Our mission is to promote and support self-confident, healthy, productive lives for LGBTQ youth ages 13-21 as they journey from adolescence into adulthood."

While I understand that you want to participate, I don’t think being offended is a proper response. It’s like if someone wanted to start a movement showing how women can have successful careers. Having a man show up and say, “I have a successful career!” would not be helpful. Yes, it’s great that the man has a successful career. No one is denying it. But the whole point is to show that just because you are a woman doesn’t mean you can’t have a successful career.

I’m straight. I was bulled. I suffered from depression. I was suicidal. Some of the things people are talking about in their videos (the fear invoked by just walking by the building where I was bullied, etc etc) really speak to me. But do you know what I had that gay kids often don’t? Successful role models. When a gay kid is bullied because they are gay, they might never have seen a real person who was gay and survived the bullying to go on to a better life. For all that it was terrible for me to be bullied, I regularly saw people just like me who had survived bullying like the bullying I had gone through. This Project is an attempt to give gay kids what I already had.
@4 You feel cheated for having "waited" for this to come out? No sense of entitlement here! ;)
Are you aware of this?:…

Mich Ass't Attorney General cyberbullies gay student body president

Michigan Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell has become so fixated on a particular gay University of Michigan student that he runs a blog about the student called "Chris Armstrong Watch."…

Roger Ebert writes:

Study Shirvell closely here [video abo. You may, as I do, see a prim, repressed, rigid fanatic. As Cooper pointedly asks, would you want this man representing you? Cooper refers to Shirvell representing a hypothetical gay person. I am straight, and I gotta tell you, I wouldn't even want to be on the same internet with him.
Thank you for doing this. Not everyone gets the coming out my brother got; "You're gay. Oh, fine with me. I was just worried you were going to hit me up for money."

Gave him a hug and was glad I could now meet the person his was dating. (Who is awesome!! My husband and I have altered our will to leave our daughter to Uncle Andy and Uncle John if anything happens to us. They are the best.) He finally felt complete to our family.

I hate it when people pull the "X is inclusive, not exclusive" line when they're trying to explain why their definition is right. It's a fallacious argument.

Any term which describes some group of people is both inclusive and exclusive. If it were only inclusive, it would apply to everyone. If it were only exclusive, it would apply to nobody.

'Polyamory' has a definition, and it excludes those people who don't fit the definition, and includes those who do. Lots of people who use it (including me) use it to mean loving relationships, not ones which are only sexual. When someone else uses it and I don't have context, though, I understand that they may be using it (from my point of view) 'incorrectly'.

That said, even the dictionary guys can't agree (Oxford says 'sexual', Merriam-Webster says 'romantic'), so I suppose it's still up for grabs.
@John Horstman (#52): You're my hero. Thanks!
Dan: I think what you are doing is great, we need to get help and proper education to the TEEN GLBT community. They need to know that they are not alone and that it does get better, not perfect but better. You have my full support. I finally came out to my parents that I'm bisexual about a yr ago and they said well as long as you are happy we don't care who your with, as long as he or she treats you good then we're happy.
you're awesome Dan
Thank you for the "It gets better" project. I shared it with my gay 13 y.o old daughter who came out last year in 7th grade. Funny thing, is that is the exact phrase that I, her awesome pediatrician, her understanding school counselor, and our family"s gay friends have been saying to get her through these next few years.

We would love to see more gay women post, but thanks to all who have told your story. Each and every one gives kids like my daughter (and even more, the kids that don"t have supportive friends and parents) encouragement and strength.

Talk to each of them, individually and privately, about what they want out of it. It might be a cuckolding-lite fetish; it might be the girlfriend having whipped her boy so hard he claims he doesn't mind, or it might be the boyfriend wanting an excuse to break up with the girl. And those are the simple possibilities... it's so easy for things to be so much more screwed up than those choices.

If you feel like something's not right about the two of them (if you get a different impression about this arrangement from either of them individually), you don't have to be there when their relationship goes to hell. And if everything is on the up-and-up, wouldn't you be happier knowing exactly where each of the other people in this stands?
@65 Fine, fair enough. But I thought this was the "It Gets Better" project, not the "Queer Role Model Project." Why not open it up to the folks who want to tell these kids "There are plenty of straight people who will love you and accept you?" If the only people who post are gay, doesn't that send the message that tolerance is a pipe dream, and that the only safe people are gay people?

For what it's worth, both of my friends who drove me to the hospital when I got my nose broken for smarting off to my dad were gay as a Christmas carol. I love them and I miss them now that I've moved away.

here you go!
not sure how to add it to the channel, though
Tiler Clemeti, a young violonist, has just killed himself... I'm so sad.…
I don't care if they are poly or not. Probably not, but as for the reasoning of the boyfriend always being present..seems very common for men to want to see their girlfriends getting it on with another man. It is allows them to see their girlfriend in a more pornographic light. They don;t have the same angle when they are the one involved in the sex. And sick as it is, people get off on a little jealousy too. I don't think the boyfriend shows signs of bisexuality.
This is such a great thing you're doing with the It Gets Better Project. It really, really meets a need.
Proof that things don't always get better once a person gets out of high school, courtesy of NPR:

"New research shows campuses have not become significantly safer for students and faculty who are not straight. Sue Rankin, a Penn State professor, talks to Ari Shapiro about her research into gay, lesbian and transgender issues on college campuses."

Carefully choose a college or university to go to if you're les/bi/gay/transgendered. I went to a really conservative college, and only told five people (four of them profs in one of the most liberal departments at the school) about my status. I still had a positive college experience, but things would've been quite different if I'd gone someplace where I felt safer being my true self with more people.

I can see why Dan wants people to focus more on positive outcomes in their videos, but I can also see why people would be inclined to focus on the negative side of things.
You know, based on what's going on in New Jersey right now with an 18 year old kid who threw himself off of a bridge because his roommates allegedly filmed and posted a "tryst" he had with another man....

It just makes me ill the whole thing. People need to think on the consequences of their actions as clearly we as a community are not reaching those of us most at risk and in need of help. A little kindness and common sense can save a life. Such waste:…
hi Dan.. how about this guy in MI... just watched Anderson's clip... my heart is broken with all te young men who have died lately... who is this idiot Shirvell?
Don't tell Dan, but this is his father here to say that I love the project. My son is a loving and wonderful man, a great father for my grandson and even when his column feels "icky" to this old straight dude, I enjoy and appreciate what my son has accomplished. I don't have a clue about making utube videos or whatever, but I would suggest that some of us parents of gay children who were neither surprised nor horrified about having a gay child could help these young people with our testimony. It CAN be better and it WILL be better for "You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars, you have a RIGHT to be here".
God Bless you all.
Dan, I love you and your boyfriend for your facebook project. Thank you for giving hope for the lonely, for the isolated, for the hurting, and those who just want to know that someday "it gets better."
First off, Dan, you ROCK!!! I'm a huge fan of your column. You've made me an even bigger fan with this project. Simply INCREDIBLE! <3
"cockolding-lite" LOL. But I think this is more than that.

Is it or isn't it polyamory? I'd say a real polyamorous relationship would include honest dialogue between the participants with at least loosely defined boundaries; that it would exclude a threesome where one of the participants not only doesn't understand the rules, but doesn't even understand what game he's playing.

CTOACN, I believe you're actually being dominated by this guy. You are one of his submissives. A role that you don't fully comprehend and seemingly don't desire to play. That pair has their own kinks and set of rules- you're simply along for their ride- a tool.

You want time alone with this chick and are not getting it. Why not? Because, dude, she already has a boyfriend! It's not poly, it's not a 'friends with benefits" scenario, and it doesn't seem to be satisfying to you --which could then extend to, it's not healthy for you. If it were healthy, you'd be discussing your desires with the two of them rather than on an advice blog.
I don’t mean to be a party-pooper regarding the "It Gets Better" campaign. I think it's a noble effort whose goal to curb teen suicide trumps any amount of cynicism. But as a gay man in his 40s, I have to say, in my opinion, that homophobia has only increased in the last decade or so namely as a result of proliferate evangelic Christian proselytizing, a leaning to the right of center politics, the erosion of civil liberties, a dumbing-down of education, and a strengthening of a pro-militarization movement. Also, the internet has only served to highlight bullying. I’ve seen the word "faggot" used pejoratively countless times on YouTube and other blog sites - including yours. (No matter how much gays and lesbians try to claim this word as their own, purportedly to nullify it’s effect, it can still be hurtful to hear or read it if it's meant to sting.)

To gloss over these facts doesn't help gay teens learn how to cope with the inevitable alienation or harassment they will likely face at some point in their lives. And those facts don't change as we get older. In fact, I think they actually get worse because folks don’t have as much compassion for mature people and they don’t see their homosexuality as “a phase they’re going through.” However, what does change for the better is our ability to stand up to discrimination, but this takes a strong sense of self, love of self and others, education, and independence. The latter is something you're not addressing head-on, I think. If you're going to set an example for the gay community, Mr. Savage, then you should acknowledge to gay teens that you’re financially independent, which makes a difference because you don't have to rely on others for income or sustainability. I say this mostly because in your post you encourage us to speak about our positive experiences as opposed to the bullying we’ve faced, but most gays and lesbians, or anyone for that matter, are not so privileged as to be financially independent, or should I say, wealthy. In other words, you don't have to face systemic discrimination; you can simply walk away from it without suffering debilitating financial consequences as a result. Sure it gets better - if you're rich - no doubt! ‘Got fired from your job 'cause you're gay? Whatever! Paris sounds nice this time of year... Go there!’ That's not real life for most people. I guess my point is that the "It Gets Better" campaign is a good thing, but let's just be real about the potential consequences most gays and lesbians will likely face by being “out.”

I'll do my part by saying that my being gay actually spurred my desire to earn an education because, initially, I chose to see myth for what it really is – a human constructed value-based belief system. As a result, I chose to study mostly science and history to broaden my own paradigm, and this has helped me to be a stronger person emotionally and intellectually. I've also been open about my sexuality since I was a young teen because I don’t think anyone’s opinion is any greater than my own – especially if it’s about me! And it doesn’t hurt that I grew up in the Netherlands and Germany, a much more accepting environment for homosexuals than say a rural small town in the Midwest, which I’ve also lived in. I also love studying astronomy, which helps people think outside of the box. In any event, I don't care what other people think regarding my sexuality, which has served me well. But it’s also cost me some family members, “friends,” and I've had to quit a few good paying jobs here and there along the way, as I refuse to accept crumbs, as Larry Kramer would say. That’s been the cost of maintaining my dignity. And I’m not alone. I understand the campaign isn’t all about this; it’s about helping gay teens overcome suicidal thoughts by focusing on how life gets better – I get that – and as I’ve already said, those efforts trump my cynicism. But I also want gay teens to be prepared for a harsh reality that sometimes homophobia will put obstacles in their way. I think speaking truths is the best way to lend a hand and help them forge and don the armor they will need to survive and grow in this world. I think this comes from relating real-world life experiences. Does it get better? Yes and no. Our ability to withstand discrimination gets better as we age, but homophobia remains as vigilant as ever. Regardless, suicide is not the way out. It’s just an end with no coming back. Finito! And even a cynic like me must admit that life is too precious to throw away and can be pretty damn good, all in all. There are hills and valleys along the way. The valleys stink, but the highs are awesome and worth the ride - and they’re more powerful than the lows! Fortunately, memory tends to be kind. So stick around, it’s well worth it. You’re worth it. I’ve been in the same relationship for 15 years with the love of my life – that alone has been worth it! If I was to plop dead tomorrow I would go with a smile on my face because I loved myself and that love radiates to others – and it feels really good. Okay kids… go run and play now. Lecture over.
Dan, thanks so much for touching on this topic. It is a very hard for parents to think any child is at risk. I wish that the parents would step up and stop the picking on each other for just being differnt. I was picked on for being a gay it started as soon as I started school. The thing that kept me safe was the power of my Mother she loved me more than any one it crossed my mind many times to end it but I would think of her and it made me stronger no one should have to die just for being gay.
Dan, what a wonderful idea -- back in the mid 1970's I had a friend kill himself and now, looking back, I'm fairly sure he was gay. I figured it out many years ago and it still breaks my heart to think the world will no longer have his goofy smile and sense of humor. I am so happy that you have started this project. Keep up the good work. Blessings to you, dear man. Denise
Ellen made an excellent, heart-wrenching speech on her show the other day about the recent suicides with respect to bullying.…
To Dan's dad, posting at #84: hooray for you! My parents too have been completely supportive of my gay brother and his (legal!) husband, as have the friends of the family and the entire community. It takes parents like you, who are completely convinced of their child's general wonderfulness, that helps thing to get better. As a straight woman with a teen who adores her gay uncles, I am posting and re-posting information on "It Gets Better" on Facebook, in my classes, and by e-mail. Spread the word!
Dear Mr. Savage Sr. By the time I was half finished reading your letter, I was crying. As I type, I still am. It's not that I (gay), my gay younger sister and our gay younger brother didn't have incredibly supportive parents, AND straight older sibs, we did. We sibs are now 56-70y/o. The elder generation is now gone. We lost our mom two years ago. Your letter brought them all to the forefront of my alleged mind. I'm better now... Thanks!

Oh yeah! Thanks to Dan too!!
While I support what Dan's doing with the It Gets Better Project, I'm a little annoyed that the focus is on gay teens.

There's nothing wrong with that per se, but it ignores the reality that high school for a lot of people (myself included) is/was hellish.

You do NOT have to be gay to get bullied in high school. You don't even have to be black (or some other minority) in a predominantly white school. You just have to be a teeny-tiny bit different.

In my high school, if you weren't Mormon, if you were being raised by a single parent, and especially if you were poor -- you got beat down regularly by the popular/athletic "in" crowd.

How about instead of telling GLBT teens it gets better, you tell ALL the kids that?

Case in point:…
Being young and slutty isn't exotic - it's normal behavior. Good times, good times.
CTOACN sounds like a bit of a pussy, as does the 'cuckold'.
Either steal the girlfriend or stop fingerbanging her, shithead.
The bullying of the kid in Indiana is very sad.

Indiana's rough. The 'normal' young people try like hell to get out as soon as they can, so it would suck to be a sexual minority.
Thank you so much! I have been a longtime fan of your contributions to TAL. This is such a beautiful project, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I know it's not exactly along the same lines but the most recent season of ANTM covered a segment on bullying. Every model chose a word used against her to bully her and one of the models being gay chose queer as her hurtful word. She explained how much trauma and pain she associated with that word and what it meant to her.

They also had to choose a power word and she chose free. Seeing the emotion she felt with that word really moved me and as superficial as most of the show can be, that episode really highlight diversity and how it should be valued.
Thanks Dan and Terry for putting this together. Losing loved ones through such circumstances is unacceptable and inhumane. Keep up the inspiring work and I'll try from my neck of the woods. Regards, Espy, Melbourne, OZ
I'm wondering, would it be out of line for straight people to put up a video, showing that they love, care and support their gay friends/family?
@95 Phoebe Prince was apparently also a bully
This points to the the complexity of dealing bullying; it isn't just a dichotomous phenomenon where there are only aggressors and victims.

Dan isn't trying to solve all bullying here he's trying to give gay teens hope.
Gay teens are at a far greater risk for suicide and it is completely appropriate for the focus of this project to be on them. If you are unhappy with the myriad of programs that focus on ending bullying and teen suicide I'd suggest you start your own project that has a more general focus.

JOIN "WANK AGAINST CHRISTINE O'DONNELL" A project dedicated to masturbating against tea partier Christine O'Donnell.
"My son is a loving and wonderful man, a great father for my grandson and even when his column feels "icky" to this old straight dude, I enjoy and appreciate what my son has accomplished."

Sir, you must deserve much of the credit for raising such a good one. Thanks very much for your comment.

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