California Assembly Speaker John Perez talks about coming out gay in his It Gets Better video.

The It Gets Better Project encourages troubled gay teens to hang in there and not cave in to bullies because life gets better.

During his freshman term in the Assembly, the 41-year-old Perez became the state's first openly gay person to lead the Assembly.

“When I was a teenager, I never thought I'd be able to live a happy and successful life as an openly gay man,” Perez says in his nearly 7-minute video. “And now I have the privilege of serving in one of the top positions in California government.”

Perez says he came out to his parents during Thanksgiving break while attending UC Berkeley. Coming from a traditional Latino household, he said, he feared the worst. Before returning to school, he told his parents.

“The first words out of my mouth were, 'I'm sorry,'” he says. “I must have said that 50 times. Then finally I told them the words that would have such enormous implications: 'I'm gay.'”

When he returned home, he had two supportive messages from his parents on his answering machine.

“When I told my parents, they showed me that love was much more powerful than fear. And in that moment, I became closer to them than I ever thought was possible.”

“It got better for me,” he adds. “And I know with absolute certainty that it will get better for you, too.” (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page.)