It Gets Better now a book

Dan Savage talks to Q about the It Gets Better book.
Dan Savage, who launched the It Gets Better for gay youth, has released a book of essays and stories. (Brad Barket/ Getty Images)

Dan Savage  believes he's smashed some doors open with his online video campaign It Gets Better aimed at gay and lesbian youth.

The Seattle-based sex-advice columnist and author says more than 6,000 videos have been posted in the It Gets Better project, which was launched in response to a series of gay teen suicides.

Savage and his husband Terry initially hoped to recruit ordinary gay, lesbian and transgendered people in the series of videos to give the message that life improved for them as they got older and learned to live with their sexuality.

The It Gets Better project is now 6,000 videos and climbing. Dozens of rock stars, celebrities  and politicians piled on the campaign later as the videos began to go viral, Savage said in an interview with Jian Ghomeshi, host of CBC's Q cultural affairs show.

Savage hopes to reach a whole new audience with the book version of It Gets Better, which includes new essays and letters from President Barack Obama, Ellen DeGeneres, David Sedaris, Al Franken and British Prime Minister David Cameron. Savage is co-editor with Terry Miller.

"Not everyone is wired, not everybody is online and also books…they have this random way of finding the right reader at the right time," said Savage.

Savage says his project has also had a political effect, with Obama recently inviting him to a bullying conference and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg reversing cuts to a shelter for runaway gay youth.

Now he says his primary goal is to raise enough money to maintain the It Gets Better website and to sort the many videos so they are accessible to young people who need them.