Dan Savage and Maura McGurk were both profoundly affected by a series of teen suicides in the fall of 2010. The suicides were particularly notable and received national media attention because they occurred in a cluster, and were caused by acute bullying because the boys were thought to be gay.
Ever since, Savage and McGurk have separately been hard at work.
From Seattle, Savage created the It Gets Better Project, which provides a platform for adults to upload supportive videos targeted at bullied teens. These testimonials, many by adults who were bullied and attempted suicide themselves, assure young viewers that a happy and productive future awaits them. They ask for patience and perspective, and offer understanding and hope. It Gets Better also became a book, edited from the ten thousand and counting videos, and reached the New York Times Bestseller List in March 2011.
In New York City, McGurk began painting a series of abstract paintings about the boys who committed suicide, and the circumstances that emerged about incidents of gay bullying. Classes of schoolchildren have toured her studio to see the work, and the paintings have been exhibited twice since February 2011. McGurk is still adding to the series, and some of the paintings have now found homes in private collections.
Enter Dan Savage, again. He came to New York City on the It Gets Better book tour, and took home a McGurk painting titled, appropriately, It Gets Better.
Contact McGurk to purchase a painting in support of LGBT youth and take a stand against gay bullying: firstname.lastname@example.org.