WASHINGTON -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has joined the chorus of celebrities offering support to gay teenagers who are suffering from bullying, advising them to "hang in there and ask for help."
In a videotaped message posted Tuesday on YouTube, Clinton said she was saddened by recent suicides by young people who were bullied for being gay, or because people thought they were gay.
"These most recent deaths are a reminder that all Americans have to work harder to overcome bigotry and hatred," Clinton said.
Anti-gay bullying has been in the spotlight recently after the suicides of several teenagers. The victims included Asher Brown, 13, of Houston, who shot himself with his father's handgun, and Tyler Clementi, 18, the Rutgers University freshman who jumped off the George Washington Bridge in New York after his roommate secretly recorded him with another male student, then broadcast the video online.
Relationship and sex advice columnist Dan Savage started the "Itgetsbetterproject" channel on YouTube in September in response to the latest teen suicides. While Clinton's message appears on the State Department's YouTube channel, it appears to be the latest to echo Savage's cause.
"I have a message for all the young people out there who are being bullied, or who feel alone and find it hard to imagine a better future: First of all, hang in there and ask for help," Clinton said. "Your life is so important -- to your family, your friends, and to your country. And there is so much waiting for you, both personally and professionally -- there are so many opportunities for you to develop your talents and make your contributions."
Clinton said she is "grateful every day" for the work of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees at the State Department.
"It wasn't long ago that these men and women would not have been able to serve openly, but today they can -- because it has gotten better," Clinton said. "And it will get better for you."