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Hollywood calls for tolerance

Ellen DeGeneres, Neil Patrick Harris, and more stars speak out for the ”It Gets Better Project”

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On Sept. 22, Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi jumped off a bridge after his roommate secretly filmed and broadcast online Clementi’s intimate encounter with another man. The case made national headlines (as did the suicides of four other gay teens in the last three weeks) and inspired stars as diverse as Neil Patrick Harris, Ellen DeGeneres, musicians Eve and Ciara, and comedian Sarah Silverman to post Web videos in support of gay youth (see below). The videos coincide with the ”It Gets Better Project,” a YouTube channel started by sex-advice columnist and author Dan Savage last month (in response to another gay-teen suicide) that lets users upload videos describing how they endured bullying and went on to lead happier lives. Savage says his main motivation is that gay adults often aren’t allowed to talk to at-risk kids to proffer hope. ”[With] YouTube, I could directly address these kids before they commit suicide, instead of feeling bad after,” says Savage. Among the celebs sharing ”It Gets Better” stories are Ugly Betty‘s Michael Urie, America’s Next Top Model‘s Jay Manuel, and Glee star Chris Colfer, whose recent video is a fitting tribute to his character, Kurt, who has been repeatedly bullied on the show. ”The most gratifying e-mails I’ve received are from moms of 13-year-old, 14-year-old boys who are being bullied, who are sitting with their kids in front of the computer to watch these videos,” says Savage. ”It’s heartbreaking because one of the kids said, ‘That’s a long time to wait.”’

Neil Patrick Harris Actor
”You can act with strength, you can act with courage, you can act with class, and stand tall. Be proud of who you are. This is a good time that we live in. Be proud.”

Ellen DeGeneres TV host
”My heart is breaking for their families, for their friends, and for our society that continues to let this happen. These kids needed us.”

Eve Musician
”Reach out to somebody before you take any drastic measures, before you think of doing any harm to yourself….A lot of people care. I care. It gets better.”

Dan Savage (with partner Terry) Columnist
DAN SAVAGE (,ITH PARTNER TERRY) ”You will find love, you will find a community, and that life gets better, and that the bigots don’t win.”

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