Top 100 - 2011

Dan Savage

The rise in bully-related suicides in the United States, particularly among homosexual youths, has been no secret in the past few years. Dan Savage, of Chicago Irish stock, began the poignant campaign for youth called, simply, “It Gets Better.” Savage is openly gay, and though he identifies as “a wishy-washy agnostic” he still considers himself culturally Catholic in certain respects.

Savage has worked as a writer for newspapers, web site and radio for several years and has long been a political activist. He dedicated a great amount of time to protesting California’s Proposition 8 and has advocated for laws legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the country. In his writing, Savage has been known for his “in-your-face” style. He frequently uses terms deemed derogatory to the LGBT community to demonstrate power over hurtful words.

Whether or not one finds themselves in agreement with Savage’s political views, the “It Gets Better” campaign can certainly be appreciated by all. Savage has gathered over 5,000 video testimonials for the campaign’s website from people of all walks of life, including several dozen celebrities. The testimonials are often of a personal nature in which the subject tells of his or her own experiences with bullying. The message of each testimonial is to push through, because “It Gets Better.”