From the editor
// Giles Roy

One of the first things they teach you in journalism school is to keep yourself out of the story you're writing. At least, that's what I've heard. I don't go to journalism school. But this week's feature, an extended interview with Dan Savage, is frankly inseparable from its writer. Savage is the initial orchestrator of the “It Gets Better” project, an international video outreach to gay teens, and JJ Brewis is a gay former teen who has actually contributed to it. The project is becoming more relevant each day, with its increased coverage from news sources, both major and disorganized. It will probably continue to appear in this paper and others for weeks to come, and if you're sick of hearing about it, I don't really care.

It's embarrassing that this project is even necessary. But it's relevant for more than just its effectiveness.

I mean, it does get better. But that's not because society becomes less ignorant or more tolerant. It's simply because graduating high school suddenly grants you the freedom to not encounter people like that every day. JJ has spoken to me, with distressing frequency, of instances in which he's been targeted because of his sexuality. In Vancouver. In 2010.

He can handle it. But hearing about these occurrences is kind of eye-opening. We can't pretend that the problem has gone away. That gay marriage is only legal in five American states is proof of this. It also illustrates that the bullying isn't limited to teens, and doesn't necessarily end after high school.
Outright hate, as demonstrated by the Westboro Baptist Church and Michigan assistant attorney general Andrew Shirvell, is thankfully becoming more and more of a rarity. But a slightly more subtle ignorance still pervades our culture: from the hate-rooted vocabulary that people seem to be unwilling to give up, to the homophobic humour that dominates the Internet, to the tokenization and stereotyping of gay characters in modern fiction.

And then there's our collective tendency to include someone's sexuality when we introduce them, as though it accurately rounds out their personality or is ever, at all, relevant.

For the duration of last year, JJ authored a column about his love life. The absence of the column this year was noted by one reader, who emailed our Voicebox: “What ended up happening with that gay kid and his dating life? I keep waiting for it to show up in the paper and it's gone.” A question that warrants answering, “He is currently single, in case you're wondering, and happier than I've ever seen him.” But I bring this up because of the way that question seems to marginalize him, probably without even intending to. I actually suspect that a lot of people knew his column less as the dating column than the gay column. And the unfortunate fact is that some people will continue to reduce him to that for a long while yet, despite his long list of other qualities.
For example, he's also a really good art director.

//Giles Roy, editor-in-chief

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