Ebonie Richardson is a 16-year-old lesbian student who challenged the Anoka-Hennepin School District with a lawsuit that just ended with new protections designed to protect students like her from bullying.
This week marks a historic paradigm shift in the way the federal government interacts with communities. The slow behemoth of federal justice moved at the breakneck pace of 16 months to create a blueprint for school safety that can be implemented nationwide, all in the interest of keeping children and youth safe, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression. The consent decree among Minnesota's Anoka-Hennepin School District, the Departments of Justice and Education, and students represents history in civil rights for youth and for LGBT people. It is also a huge win in the fight to promote health and psychological well-being of youth at school, as it emphasizes ongoing availability of counseling for students and evaluation of anti-bullying measures from a mental health perspective.
This year's Purim marks three years since I started my incredible journey of coming out. Until three years ago I struggled in isolation with my identity as a gay man and an Orthodox Jew. I had spent the previous two years surrounded only by people who rejected themselves as gay and was part of the "ex gay" movement."
A gay conservative, a black transgender woman, and an out television journalist walk into a TV studio... sounds like the start of a good joke, right? But it was just my Friday at work at MSNBC. And you know what? Three LGBT people appeared together on a mainstream media cable channel talking news, politics, and common sense, and television sets across the country didn't explode!
During the debate in Maryland's House, I joined same-sex marriage supporters outside of the chambers who were anxiously awaiting the vote. I met two moms and their 4-year-old son Will. After standing for hours, Will was tired and seemed a bit uninterested. I could only imagine how hard it would be to understand the complex discussions as a 4-year-old. But the next day I saw a photo of Will and his family taken right after the House voted in support of marriage equality. His little face was lit up with joy, and he was cheering as his moms hugged him with the love that only a mother can provide. Will may not have understood the debates, but his smile after the vote proved one very important thing: even a 4-year-old knows the value of human dignity.
I was bullied pretty badly when I was a kid, the worst period falling between the ages of 10 and 14, I think. People tell me to get over it, and that I am an adult now, privileged and famous and constantly applauded not only in my primary field, stand-up comedy, but also in practically every endeavor I have chosen to devote myself to, from acting to burlesque bump-and-grind to songwriting.
More than 500,000 people have taken the It Gets Project pledge since the project’s launch in October, 2010, helping us share our message of hope with LGBT youth.
NEW YORK, N.Y. (February 1, 2012) — MTV and Logo, two Viacom networks, jointly announced today that Dan Savage, syndicated columnist, author, co-creator of the It Gets Better Project, and star of MTV’s upcoming series “Savage U,” will anchor a 60-minute “It Gets Better” special, which will spotlight the emotional and societal struggles many LGBT youth face. “It Gets Better” will air on both MTV and Logo on Tuesday, February 21 at 11:00 p.m. ET/PT.