It Gets Better Project – It Gets Better: Dan And Terry
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[It Gets Better Project – It Gets Better: Dan And Terry]
[Dan Savage:] Source: LYBIO.net
High school was bad. I was catholic, went to catholic high schools boys school. My dad was a catholic deacon, my mom was a lay minister and my family was… very catholic. And there were no gay people in my family. And no openly gay people at my school and I was picked on cause I like musicals, and I was obviously gay. Some kids didn’t like that, and I did get harassed.
[Terry Miller:] Source: LYBIO.net
My school was pretty miserable. I lived in Spokane, WA, which is a mid-size town with a small-town mentality. And I was picked on mercilessly in school people were really cruel to me, I was bullied a lot, beat up, thrown against walls and lockers and windows. You know… Stuffed into bathroom stalls, people shit on my car people scratched my car, broke my windows. And my parents went in once to talk to the school administrators about the harassment I was getting in school, and they basically said, “If you look that way, walk that way, talk that way, act that way, then there’s nothing we can do to help your son.”
Honestly, things got better the day I left high school. I didn’t see the bullies everyday, I didn’t see the people who harassed me everyday, I didn’t have to see the school administrators who would do nothing about it everyday. Life instantly got better.
If there are 14, 15, 16 year old’s…13, 12 year old’s watching this video, What Id love you to take away from it really is that IT GETS BETTER. However bad it is now, it gets better. And it can get great, it can get awesome. Your life can be amazing, but you have to tough this period of your life out and you have to live your life so that you’re around for it to get amazing. And it can, and it will. When I first came out to my folks, they weren’t thrilled. My mother said she never wanted to meet any of my boyfriends. And I was never to bring a man around that I was dating to the house. Ever. My mother recently passed away, And she told me to let Terry know that she loved him like a daughter. And she did! She loved you like you were my spouse, (she did) and you were welcome the house and our families are really accepting. You would think, my Evangelical catholic parents, Terry’s conservative christian parents who sent him to that awful school that our families would reject us forever and never get over it. Wouldn’t embrace us. But both of our families, Terry’s family and my family love us, and accept us, and include us.
Were treated with the love and respect we deserve as members of the family. Its great. We have great families!
We met out at a bar I was out dancing.
And I was out staring at cute boys dancing, cause I don’t dance.
And I came up to talk to a friend of mine. Who was in drag working the coat check, and Dan was there.
And I had been saying to the drag queen who was a mutual friend of mine. We didn’t know we had this friend in common. I had been saying to this drag queen “Oh my god, look at that cute boy! Look at that guy hes so gorgeous.” And then Terry walks up to the coat check, and then the drag queen says, “Tell him! Don’t tell me again. Tell him”. He’s standing right in front of you. Tell him!”
And what did I say to you?
He said, “You’ve got a really beautiful mouth.”
I think it was more “Deliverance”. I said, “You have a pretty mouth.”
Yeah… Ok…. And what did you say tome?
Which is even cheesier! I’m sorry this is so cheesy.
I said, “The better to eat you with.”
It was love at first…. Innuendo.
I mean roll your eyes all you like, it was a pick-up line that worked. Right?!? Here we are 16 years later.
One of the greatest things that’s happened to us since leaving high school and meeting each other is we adopted our son, DJ. He is an amazing kid. Hes a smart and witty and ironic and sardonic, and a great little athlete. He’s a snowboarder and a skateboarder, and hes really talented. We adopted DJ at birth. It was an open adoption, so we met his mom. Before she gave birth, and we still know his mom.
And its really been the last 12, almost thirteen years… DJs going to be thirteen in March. Its been great. I didn’t think when I came out to my parents. In the early 1980’s when AIDS was slamming into the gay community that I would ever be a dad, that I would ever give my parents another grand child, that I would make aunts and uncles of my of my brothers and my sister.
I remember going to Paris as a family, the first time as the three of us.
DJ our son couldn’t sleep. He had jet-lag. And Terry was exhausted and trying to sleep. We kept trying to get DJ to go to bed. Eventually I just thought, I’ll let Terry sleep. Its either all three of us don’t sleep or one of us gets to sleep.
So I went out at four o’clock in the morning and strolled through the streets of Paris with DJ as the sun came up. And we talked… he was maybe five years old, maybe four and we chatted and strolled Notre Dame and the Marais and the bakeries opened and we went to the back door of a bakery and ordered some croissants with sugar crystals on them.
We got some juice and sat and watched the sun come up.
The Eiffel Tower off in the distance, and its one of my happiest memories. As a parent. As a human.
Some of my best memories include Dan and DJ, just being on the tops of mountains, complete bluebird sunny day, nothing but fresh powder below us, and all three of us can hit… plow double black diamond down together through avalanche country.
Yeah, if you’d told my musical theater queen 14 year old self that some day I would be doing double black diamond runs on a snowboard I would not have believed you. Those moments make it so worth sticking out the bullying and the pain and despair of high school. And if you can just do that you have moments like that, and so many more ahead of you!
And they come when you least expect them.
I thought Id be asleep, not walking around Paris.
And they come at you all the time.
The worst time of your life, really, for many gay kids is high school and if at that time of your life you choose to end your life, the bullies really won then, and you have deprived yourself of so much potential happiness.
If my adult self could talk to my 14 year old self and tell him anything, I would tell him to really believe the lyrics to “Somewhere” from West Side Story. There really is a place for us. There really is a place for you. One day you will have friends who love and support you. You will find love, you will find a community and that life gets better and that the bigots don’t win. The people who were picking on me then are completely irrelevant I don’t know where they are now, I don’t know whether they’re happy. I assume that they’re miserable. Because miserable people like to make other people miserable.
And once I got out of high school they couldn’t touch me anymore.
If I could say anything to any middle school or high schooler watching this who is having trouble in school with bullies, and is questioning their sexuality who’s questioning the way they look or act,
I would say this,… Living well is the best revenge. And if you can live through high school which you can, you can totally live through high school, you’re going to have a great life and its going to be the envy of all those people who picked on you while you were in middle school and high school. So just stick it out. Its painful now, but its going to get so much better.
Questioner: Okay, so are you guys happy to be alive?
Dan and Terry: Yeah! Were very happy to be alive.
Were ecstatic to be alive. And you know life has its ups and downs, it has its challenges. There are tough moments. You still gotta work, you still gotta pay bills, but between all that we have really great lives together.
You can have a great life too!
It Gets Better Project – It Gets Better: Dan And Terry. Choose to end your life, the bullies really won then. Complete Full Transcript, Dialogue, Remarks, Saying, Quotes, Words And Text.