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City councilman Joel Burns' 'It Gets Better' video captivates online world


There have been a spate of videos and a lot of media coverage dedicated to Dan Savage's "It Gets Better" video project that reaches out via YouTube to gay teenagers telling them life improves after high school.

Hillary Clinton has added to the project. Google employees filmed a spot. Even gossip blogger Perez Hilton has forsworn his bullying ways.

One video, though, has captured the Web world's attention more than any other: a Fort Worth city council member giving a live "It Gets Better" speech in the middle of a council meeting.

Joel Burns speaks about an abusive experience in high school, a fraught relationship with his southern father, and then how rich his life became once he got through the difficult times.

While most of the "It Gets Better" videos have views in the hundreds of thousands, Burns' 12-minute clip has 2,004,182 views. For comparison, the project's creator, Dan Savage, has 940,000 views.

It could be the raw emotion, or the public display, or his role as a politician that has captured the online world so much. Whatever it is, it's a gripping 12 minutes and another powerful addition to the project.

On his Web site Burns writes, "I am moved by the overwhelming support and touching comments that I have received by so many people since sharing my story at City Council. Thank you. I encourage you to continue to speak out against bullying from wherever you stand today - whether as an adult or youth, whether gay or straight. And, I commit to do the same."

By Melissa Bell  | October 21, 2010; 5:09 PM ET
Categories:  The Daily Catch  
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