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“It Gets Better” creator to speak about helping gay youth

Dan SavageDan Savage, right, known for his “Savage Love” syndicated advice column and creator of the It Gets Better Project to help prevent youth suicide, will be the keynote speaker at the 12th Equity & Diversity Conference Feb. 7.

With a theme of “The Power of Peace is the Harmony of Inclusion,” the conference is aimed at students, educators and professionals who are committed to equity and diversity in the workforce and in higher education.

Savage will speak at 10 a.m. in the University Union, Silver Eagle Suite. He will discuss the It Gets Better Project, in which adults create and upload short positive videos aimed at lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender teenagers, telling them about the levels of happiness, potential and positivity that their lives could reach as adults and helping them imagine a positive future.

Enter to win a pair of passes to the conference. Send an email to InHouse with "Equity and Diversity" in the subject line by 5 p.m. Jan. 20. Winner will be selected at random from all responses.

Originally on YouTube, the project now has its own website and includes more than 22,000 entries from adults of all sexual orientations.

Watch the It Gets Better videos from the following celebrities:

Savage and his husband, Terry Miller, began the project in September 2010 following a string of suicides by gay youths in Indiana, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Their video reached out to middle school and high school students, telling them that even if they are bullied for their sexual orientation, life will get better after high school graduation. Within days of the video being posted, Savage had received dozens of homemade videos from those wishing to contribute to the project.  

Last spring, Savage published a book of essays based on the website and its videos, It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying and Creating a Life Worth Living. In June, Savage won a Webby Special Achievement Award from the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences for the It Gets Better Project, which was also named one of the top social media campaigns of 2010 by Advertising Age.

Savage is well known for his relationship and sex advice column, “Savage Love,” which he began writing in 1991 in the Seattle weekly newspaper The Stranger. He has written four books and contributed to the radio show “This American Life,” Out magazine and “Real Time with Bill Maher” on HBO.  

The Equity & Diversity Conference will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the University Union. Participants may register only for the morning session, which will include Savage’s keynote address, or for the entire day.

More than 200 people have already registered for the conference, which will include sessions on the following:

  • exploring conversations about race
  • religious inclusivity beyond political correctness
  • engaging students in learning outside the classroom
  • assistance for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender victims of domestic violence  

Registration fees are:

  • $100 for UNT faculty and staff members
  • $150 for non-UNT students
  • $275 for others

Register online. Onsite registration will be available the day of the conference.

  • Learn more: Multicultural Center, 940-565-2711.

- Nancy Kolsti, News Promotions

Posted on: Wed 11 January 2012

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