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In this week's Savage Love, Dan Savage responds to a reader who wrote in about Billy Lucas, a gay fifteen-year-old in Indiana who killed himself after being bullied by his classmates. The reader and Dan both wish they could've talked to the poor kid for just five minutes to reassure him that life gets better after high school. To that end, Dan has started a YouTube channel where gay adults can post videos about surviving adolescence and all the things they'd have missed if they'd given up.
Billy Lucas's story is heartbreaking and all too familiar. It's hard enough to be a teenager without having bigoted classmates, teachers, school administrators, and even parents telling you your sexual preference makes you worthless. I was a straight teenager with supportive classmates, teachers, parents, et al, and it still sucked pretty hard; I don't know many people who wouldn't say the same. I can't imagine what it'd feel like to be in an exponentially worse situation and not even have anyone to promise you that there's life — rich, strange, unpredictable life — outside of your shitty town and the stupid, small-minded people you're trapped there with. It Gets Better is a moving and important project that we at Nerve wholeheartedly endorse. If you have supportive words for gay teenagers, check out Dan Savage's YouTube channel and contribute a video.