President Barack Obama tells gay teens he sympathizes with them in a new public service announcement for the It Gets Better anti-bullying campaign.

Obama says he was “shocked and saddened” to learn about the recent spate of gay teens bullied to death.

“As a parent of two daughters it breaks my heart,” Obama says. “It's something that just shouldn't happen in this country.”

“We have to dispel this myth that bullying is just a normal rite of passage. That it's some inevitable part of growing up. It's not,” he adds.

Obama says he sympathizes with gay teens being bullied because they are different: “I don't know what it's like to be picked on for being gay. But I do know what it's like to grow up feeling that sometimes you don't belong. It's tough.” (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page.)

The It Gets Better campaign is the brainchild of sex advice columnist and activist Dan Savage, who launched the project by uploading a video on YouTube. Savage announced Wednesday that the collection of videos which urge troubled gay teens to get help had swelled to 20,000, with over 10 million views.

Other celebrities and high-profile politicians who have created videos include Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, New York Governor David Paterson, Fort Worth Councilman Joel Burns, rocker Adam Lambert and actor Neil Patrick Harris.