One of the grand marshals of this Sunday's Pride Parade, Dan Savage, joined a night of fundraising Thursday for a cause he's brought to the national forefront: The battle against bullying and suicide among LGBT teens. NY1's Stephanie Simon filed the following report.
Sex columnist and LGBT activist Dan Savage is one of the grand marshals of Sunday's Pride March. He's also helped marshal in a new era of tolerance. Savage and his husband Terry Miller spearheaded the "It Gets Better" campaign aimed at suicide prevention among LGBT teens.
Thursday night, Savage joined the "Better and Better" benefit for GLSEN: the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network. GLSEN is one of two organizations "It Gets Better" raises funds for.
"It has gotten so much better for us. You think back to the first Stonewall, it's Pride Week, and gay people were being arrested, they needed to be committed, lobotomized, ostracized, lose their jobs, lose their homes," said Savage. "It has gotten much better for us as a community. But a lot of LGBT kids out there don't know it.
From Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives, Alec Mapa emceed the event as everyone's favorite Gay-sian. He echoed the theme that life gets better after high school.
"Ya gotta stick around for life. Because life isn't just about high school. There's a whole world beyond that. If you just stick around and get through this time you're gonna experience the magic of life," said Mapa.
Comedian and Sirius radio host Frank DeCaro and singer songwriter Racheal Sage echoed the theme.
"When I was a kid and I went to school, I mean, I got called a fag every single day. I'm not joking. I got snow days off. Bit other than that I was called that every single day," said DeCaro. "And it gets better because people are making it better."
"I used to be afraid to get out of the car to go to school every day. I would be crying and my parents were so concerned, and now they're so proud of me and I do what I love. Life absolutely gets better and you just have to hang in there and fight for what you believe in," Sage said.
This week's pride events all lead up to the march on Sunday. But those in attendance at Thursday's benefit say they hope the message and momentum continue, because they believe things are getting better.