It Gets Better

9 Oct

I’m lucky. I do not know what it feels like to be discriminated against or bullied. I cannot even begin to imagine what it must feel like to be harassed and tormented to the point of taking my life.

Many, many people out there aren’t as lucky. In 2010, a number of teens in the United States took their own lives, harassed for their sexual orientation and unable to envision a positive future for themselves. In response to that wave of teen suicides, the “It Gets Better” project was launched. It’s goal is to prevent suicide among LGBT youth by having adults in the community show that the teens’ lives will get better.

A few days ago, the staff at the Exploratorium in San Francisco issued a powerful and moving “It Gets Better” group video. From the Exploratorium’s press release:

The video features interviews with thirteen participants, who come from departments across the museum, including the very young and the mature, from the Teen Explainer program to Community and Government Relations to Online Engagement. Each of these individuals tells their stories of their struggles and imparts messages of hope and empowerment.

I take my hat off to you, Exploratorium.

Imagine if the LGBT staff at our schools, universities, government, big corporations, cultural institutions – you name it – were encouraged to come out with such group videos. Imagine the impact such institutional statements could have: Coca Cola’s “It Gets Better” video, Nike’s “It Gets Better” video… the IMF one, the Deutsche Bank one, the Facebook one, the NFL one, the EU one, the WHO one, the NEMO one… to name a few.

This is an appeal to institutions worldwide to follow the Exploratorium’s praiseworthy example. Help end anti-gay harassment once and for all. Give your LGBT staff a voice. Endorse and promote “It Gets Better” videos in the name of your institution, in support of your LGBT staff. Be role models.

So. Which well-known institutions will also take a stand? Who will have the balls– as an institution – to show LGBT teens worldwide that they are not alone, and that there is light at the end of their tunnel?

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2 Responses to “It Gets Better”

  1. Andrea Bandelli Sunday, October 9, 2011 at 15:32 #

    Hi Diana, very good piece!
    Interestingly enough, many corporations did their “it gets better” videos: you can find a list here: http://www.advocate.com/Business/Careers/Going_Corporate_It_Gets_Better/
    To name a few: Google, Facebook, Gap, Nokia, Microsoft, Sony Pictures, Bayer, Apple, Visa, General Motors, American Airlines…
    Do you notice anything? No museum. With the exception of last week’s video by the Exploratorium, I couldn’t find any museum who did such a video.
    I find it a shame. Museums claim to be relevant and important for their community, but there’s no institution whose employees dare to come out and share their stories with the public. And I’m pretty sure the employees want to do it, but it’s the upper management and directors who are afraid of the reactions of the public. Openly showing that gay and lesbian people actually work at museum? That’s alas still a big no-no.
    I’m so glad the Exploratorium finally did this video. So many museums copied the Exploratorium in the past, I hope they keep copying now as well!

    • Diana Issidorides Sunday, October 9, 2011 at 15:46 #

      Wow, an impressive corporate list. But indeed, where are all the public institutions like art and science museums, government, schools, universities, teacher associations, educational foundations…?

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