Philly Man Featured in New Book

The new It Gets Better book shares coming-out stories from around the world

It’s been an Internet sensation since Dan Savage and Terry Miller first posted the premiere “It Gets Better” video online in response to the many gay suicides making headlines around the country. Today, It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying and Creating a Life Worth Living comes out in book form from Penguin. And in it, Philly’s own Wayne Knaub (an organizer of the Greater Philadelphia Flag Football League and member of many other LGBT organizations in the region) tells his own story about overcoming struggles – including making amends with his father – and eventually accepting himself for being gay.

Wayne Knaub

“The best part about the ‘It Gets Better’ project is that there are so many different video genres out there for a young person to find,” says Knaub. “I noticed there were a lot of videos focusing on young artists, but I couldn’t find any focusing on young atheletes, so I organized several people from the Greater Philadelphia Flag Football League to tell our stories.”

Knaub – who contributes to G Philly – is in very good company in this new book. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, British Prime Minister David Cameron, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and many celebrities like Tim Gunn and Ellen DeGeneres are also featured. Each contributor shares his or her own story about it was like coming out – emphasizing that with age and life experience, life really does get better for LGBT people.

Savage and Miller wanted to compile all of these powerful conversations and resources based on “It Gets Better” videos that had been submitted from around the world – and Knaub was among the people selected for print.

“I used to get so stressed out at the thought of coming out to someone as a young person,” admits Knaub. “As I’ve gotten older, it’s far less of an issue. If a co-worker or acquaintance is talking to me about their husband or wife, I don’t feel a need to edit myself any longer.”

But the thirty-something says, like many young gay people, it’s taken time to ease some of the doubt he had about himself over the years. “I still remember how alone I felt when my ‘boyfriend’ in high school told me he didn’t want to be gay and broke up with me,” says Knaub. “At that point, I had not come out to anyone. I was dealing with the loss of my first true love and had no shoulder to cry upon. I contemplated harming myself. Fortunately, I came out to a friend days later and she helped me get through it. If I could go back in time, I would hug myself after that break up and say that one day you’ll have an amazing group of friends who love and accept you for who you are regardless of your sexuality. Somewhere in that conversation, I’m sure the words ‘It Gets Better’ would be ones I’d choose.”