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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 20, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 20
A Dyke About Town: Dan Savage reads his book It Gets Better
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A Dyke About Town: Dan Savage reads his book It Gets Better

by Mercy Moosemuzzle - SGN Contributing Writer

Alice Stuart and the Formerlys
On May 13, blues musician Alice Stuart performed at Third Place. Mercy's friend Jousts had recommended the concert and told Mercy, 'Her voice reminds me of Janis Joplin.' After the singer opened with 'Statesboro Blues,' Mercy agreed, 'Janis, if she got sober and survived a long time.' Steven Flynn's keyboards were rocking. Other high points were 'Girlish Days,' 'I Feel Like Hank Williams,' and 'Highway Blues.' Stuart has played with Joan Baez, Mississippi John Hurt, Doc Watson, and briefly with Frank Zappa.

Seattle Rainbow Contra Dance (SRCD)
The next dance will be held May 21 and will feature The Toad Mountain Ramblers. The gender-free dance costs $8 and will be held at Ballard Oddfellows Hall (1706 NW Market St.). Free lesson at 7, dance will be from 7:30 to 10.

Bucky Pizzarelli
Mercy is looking forward to seeing Bucky Pizarelli at Jazz Alley. Band members are Jeff Johnson (bass) and D'Vonne Lewis (drums). Pizzarelli is a jazz guitarist and banjoist. He has collaborated with Les Paul, Stephane Grapelli, and Benny Goodman. Pizzareli acknowledges Django Reinhardt, Freddie Green, and George Van Eps as influences. The trio will be there May 24 and 25. Tickets at jazzalley.com.

Dan Savage and Terry Miller reading
Cuteness passed along her experience at Dan Savage and Terry Miller's reading of It Gets Better at Third Place Books on May 13. 'Billy Lucas was a teenager from the Greensburg, Indiana, area who hanged himself after being bullied. Billy was not Gay-identified, but was perceived to be Gay. The bullies encouraged Billy to kill himself.'

Another kid Dan talked about, Justin Aaberg, was just 15 when he killed himself. He came out at 13 and endured years of bullying at the hands of classmates in a suburban high school. Justin hanged himself in his bedroom; his mother found his body.

Dan talked about how LBGT kids often don't have adult role models around them. They need to know there are people out there who understand what they're going through, and if they can just hang on through middle school and high school, their lives can get better. Being able to speak to those kids directly at their schools presented lots of logistical issues. Dan hit upon the idea of reaching them via the internet or YouTube. Gay adults could address Gay youth directly and tell them there's hope, and they can have a future.

They shot their first video with both Dan and Terry talking about their experiences of having been bullied. When they watched it, they found it to be too depressing. They tried again and focused on the happier times in their lives.

The 'It Gets Better' project began about six months ago as a response to a spate of teen suicides by kids who were either Gay or perceived as Gay. This project has offered hope and support to kids, and has literally saved lives.

In conclusion, they encouraged kids to report bullying. There are organizations that can assist - the Trevor Project (suicide prevention hotline for LBGT youth), GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian Straight Education Network) and the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union). To date, 10,000 videos have been posted as part of the 'It Gets Better' project, and the campaign has spread abroad, including places such as South Africa and Vietnam.

When I went to get my book signed, I mentioned that as a teenage Lesbian I had spoken in high schools about human sexuality. I said to Dan that I had done this in the 1970s - many moons ago. He thanked me for being an early participant.

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