As a lifelong Phillies fan and partial season ticket holder who faithfully makes the trek from Washington, DC to Philadelphia numerous times throughout the season, it would be great to see this wonderful organization that I love tackle an issue that is near and dear to my heart. As a gay man who was called "gay" and "faggot" in both grade school and high school, when I didn't even really know I was gay at the time, I understand firsthand the effects that bullying can have on a young person who is trying to find their place in the world. Thankfully, I had a supportive family, friends, and teachers who made it comfortable for me to discover who I was free of judgment. However, not everyone is so lucky to be in a supportive environment.
The Phillies making an It Gets Better video could be that beacon of hope for an LGBT youth who is struggling with bullying and harassment for just being who they are. Straight allies play a tremendous role in providing a safe space for LGBT youth to be who they are free of judgement, harassment, and bullying. Hearing the words that it is okay to be who you are and It Gets Better from a sports star you look up can and does make a difference.
Every day many young people face tormenting and bullying, especially those who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT). An estimated 61 percent of students have felt unsafe at school because of thier sexual orientation, while 39 percent have felt unsafe because of their gender expression, according to the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network. No one should feel unsafe at school. Everyone deserves to be respected for who they are.
That is why I am asking you to join me in asking the Philadelphia Phillies to create an "It Gets Better" video to stand up against the bullying of LGBT youth. I plan to spread the word to my friends, family, and everyone I know and I ask you to do the same.
Below is a little information about the It Gets Better Project. For further information and some sample "It Gets Better" videos, please visit: http://www.itgetsbetter.org
Growing up isn’t easy. Many young people face daily tormenting and bullying, leading them to feel like they have nowhere to turn. This is especially true for LGBT kids and teens, who often hide their sexuality for fear of bullying. Without other openly gay adults and mentors in their lives, they can't imagine what their future may hold. In many instances, gay and lesbian adolescents are taunted — even tortured — simply for being themselves.
Justin Aaberg. Billy Lucas. Cody Barker. Asher Brown. Seth Walsh. Raymond Chase. Tyler Clementi. They were tragic examples of youth who could not believe that it does actually get better.
While many of these teens couldn’t see a positive future for themselves, we can. The It Gets Better Project was created to show young LGBT people the levels of happiness, potential, and positivity their lives will reach – if they can just get through their teen years. The It Gets Better Project wants to remind teenagers in the LGBT community that they are not alone — and it WILL get better.