Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Vigil at State House on October 20th at 7:30pm

Local gay activists embrace columnist Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better Project”

In the last two issues of Columbia City Paper, syndicated columnist Dan Savage wrote about a YouTube channel he created to help gay youth called, “It Gets Better.”

On October 20th at 7:30pm, SC pride organizers and The Harriet Hancock Center are asking supporters to participate in a candlelight vigil called “It Gets Better South Carolina.”

In the October 7 issue of City Paper, Dan Savage wrote:

“Last week, I wrote about Billy Lucas, a 15-year-old kid in Indiana who took his own life after enduring years of bullying for being gay. Billy didn’t identify as gay and may not have been gay. But the consequences of anti-gay bullying—whether the kid being harassed is gay or closeted or just different—are often the same: isolation, pain, despair, and suicide.

After last week’s column went to press, I learned about another teenager—this one openly gay—who recently took his own life. Cody J. Barker was a 17-year-old high-school student in Shiocton, Wisconsin. Cody was a cyclist and a gardener and a Lady Gaga fan who had planned to start a gay-straight student alliance at his high school this fall. “He really cared about making schools a safe place for students,” a friend of Cody’s told the Wisconsin Gazette. “That wasn’t always his own experience with school.”

Billy Lucas in Indiana, Cody Barker in Wisconsin, Justin Aaberg in Minnesota—these three boys and countless other LGBT kids have committed suicide because they couldn’t picture a future for themselves.

That’s why my boyfriend and I launched the It Gets Better Project, a slightly grand name for a YouTube channel.”

The Harriet Hancock Center issued a press release encouraging attendees to wear purple because it represents the loving, positive spirit on the LGBT Rainbow flag. They hope the vigil will serve as a “message to our youth here in South Carolina, an affirming, positive way to reclaim these tragedies and for all of us to move forward.”

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