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'It Gets Better: The Book' excerpts

Notables including Barack Obama, David Sedaris, and Ellen DeGeneres contributed to the print version of Dan Savage’s campaign for gay teens

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The YouTube campaign dedicated to reaching out to gay teens has been turned into a collection of essays edited by Terry Miller and the movement’s founder, Dan Savage. And it features some pretty notable contributors.

Barack Obama
”I don’t know what it’s like to be picked on for being gay. But I do know what it’s like to grow up feeling that sometimes you don’t belong. It’s tough.”

Kate Clinton
”It did not look good. I was a secret, serially and seriously, crushed-out, wildly girl-loving-girl, living in the proto-don’t-ask-don’t-tell world of my middle class, Irish Catholic family, in upstate New York, 1950s.”

David Sedaris
”It helps…to keep a diary, to record the many injustices you’ve suffered, and later turn them into stories. You can’t do anything with people being nice to you. People being awful, though; that’s gold, so mine it while you can.”

Ellen DeGeneres
”I want anyone out there who feels different and alone to know that I know how you feel…. Things will get easier, people’s minds will change, and you should be alive to see it.”

Michael Cunningham
”Like many gay kids, I had a secret childhood. There was the conventional outward childhood: school and birthday parties, family trips, all that. And there was the darker inner childhood that started before I can remember.”