It's officially a groundswell. The Seattle Mariners announced today they will produce an 'It Gets Better' video encouraging gay youth to hang in there and focus on their positive future. The San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox have produced or plan to produce 'It Gets Better' videos. That's four of the 29 teams that have agreed to make these videos, and there are petitions and movements for more. With 6,000+ signatures on their petition, it has to be only time before the Yankees do it.
Meanwhile, our good friend Brian Sims, the board president of Equality Pennsylvania, let us know today that their group is pushing the Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates to create similar videos. You can see the EQPA press release after the jump.
No one can say sports hasn't changed. There is a movement afoot now that can't be stopped. My guess is that within the next six months a majority of MLB teams will have created these videos or agreed to do so. Times aren't just a-changing, they've already changed. We're just now catching up.
The press release from EQPA:
Equality Pennsylvania today challenged the Philadelphia Phillies and the Pittsburgh Pirates to join three other professional baseball teams and make “It Gets Better” videos. The “It Gets Better Project” focuses on creating an on-line community of supporters and encouraging videos to help relentlessly bullied and harassed LGBT teens understand that their lives will get better.
“This is an exciting step that we're asking these teams to make,” said Equality Pennsylvania Board President, Brian Sims. “The Phillies have played host to one of the nation's most successful Gay Days Games for almost a decade and other clubs have seen positive responses to similar efforts in support for their LGBT fans and players. I've had the opportunity to work closely with gay and allied athletes all over the country for the last several years and bringing that experience to a project with Equality Pennsylvania is terrific. I think both ball clubs are going to respond well to their fans asking for support and we look forward to building community involvement.”
The San Francisco Giants, the Chicago Cubs, and the Boston Red Sox have already stepped up to the plate and sent strong messages of support by agreeing to make “It Gets Better” videos. If the Phillies and Pirates accept the challenge posed to them they will be among other high-profile allies including President Obama, Lady Gaga, and even corporations like Yahoo! and Google who have made videos.
LGBT teens are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers; about 1/3 of these teens have attempted suicide. However, since the beginning of this on-line project, suicide help-lines have experienced a 50% increase in calls from teens searching for an alternative to suicide. It gets even better; tens of thousands of people have left inspiring messages and words of advice for LGBT youth and more than 350,000 people have joined the movement and pledged to speak out against hate and intolerance in support of LGBT teens.
Equality Pennsylvania supports comprehensive anti-bullying legislation and our mission is to be the preeminent LGBT advocacy organization for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and work collaboratively to establish a comprehensive network of individuals and organizations united in securing equal rights for the LGBT community (www.equalitypa.org).