Fort Worth Councilman Joel Burns' emotional speech on gay suicides has caught the attention of thousands around the country.
Burns took time during Tuesday's city council meeting to take part in a nationwide campaign targeting gay youths called "It Gets Better." The project was started in September by writer and activist Dan Savage, responding in part to the case of an Indiana gay teen who killed himself after being taunted by classmates.
The issue of gay suicides has recently grabbed national headlines after Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi killed himself by jumping off the George Washington Bridge after his roommate secretly recorded him with another male student, then broadcast the video online.
Burns told those attending Tuesday's meeting that he'd like to give his 13-year-old self -- who struggled with being gay -- glimpses into the future.
"High school was difficult, coming out was painful," Burns said. "I want to tell any teen who is watching this, life will get better. ... Life will get so, so, so much better."
Burns' uploaded his speech to the web yesterday. It has since been posted on multiple websites including Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Gawker and The Guardian's news blog. (YouTube's video counter appears to be suffering some sort of glitch. Depending on where you look, Burns' video has either been viewed 1,368 times or more than 50,000 100,000 150,000 times.)
Burns was elected in 2007 following a campaign in which then-City Councilman Chuck Silcox caught flak for highlighting Burns' sexual orientation while endorsing his opponent.