WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and twelve Senate colleagues united to empower lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) young people to embrace their differences in a video released Wednesday. In December 2010, Brown was the first senator to deliver an “It Gets Better” speech from the Senate Floor, which may be viewed here.
“Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people deserve to work, worship, and study in a safe environment,” Brown said. “We’ve made incredible strides in four decades – from the Stonewall Uprising to marriage equality in New York – but we must continue to move closer to fulfilling the promise of equality for all. This is our moment to make it better.”
The video is part of the “It Gets Better” Project (http://itgetsbetter.org), which was founded last year after a series of tragic suicides by LGBT youth who were bullied because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The inspiring “It Gets Better” Project is determined to help LGBT youth see a positive future beyond what is often a difficult adolescence.
“We’re proud so many elected officials are working to make it better for struggling LGBT youth and hope other leaders from both sides of the aisle will join them,” said Scott Zumwalt, a spokesperson for the “It Gets Better” Project.
A study released by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) last year found that 9 out of 10 LGBT middle and high school students were harassed at school.Three-fifths reported feeling unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation and one-third reported admitted to skipping a day of school in the previous month because they felt unsafe.
Featured in the new video, which can be viewed at http://coons.senate.gov/itgetsbetter, are Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.). All are co-sponsors of the Respect for Marriage Act, which was introduced in March to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and allow the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages performed in states where it is already legal.
The video, which runs nearly five minutes, was assembled from individual messages recorded by each Senator over the last four weeks. It is being released to coincide with the end of National LGBT Pride Month, and comes just days after the New York State Legislature made legalized marriage for same-sex couples there.
Brown was the first senator to deliver an “It Gets Better” speech from the Senate Floor, which may be viewed here.
HIGH-RESOLUTION STILL IMAGES of each Senator from the new video, as well as a transcript and other press resources are available for download here: http://coons.senate.gov/itgetsbetter/press/