The media spotlight has moved on, but the It Gets Better Project is still alive and well. Members of the Austin Police Department just recorded a video for the campaign, which tries to show young LGBT people that their lives can improve in wonderful and unexpected ways.
It’s the first IGB video recorded by a Texas police department, no small feat in a state known for its conservative values. Among the members of the Lesbian and Gay Peace Officers Association who speak on the clip are 911 dispatcher Cassie Campbell and Sgt. Bruce Friar, the first openly gay officer in the department (He joined its ranks 14 years.)
Michael Crumrine, a detective in the Sex Crimes Unit, recalls the pain and fear he felt when he realized he was attracted to other men. “It was not accepted. You were wrong or broken or psychologically unbalanced,” he says. If Crumrine can say it gets better, we’d tend to believe it—his coming out was broadcast to the community by his ex-wife and a local news station in San Antonio.
You might think a tale of hardship is the last thing a troubled teen needs to hear, but just knowing others have pulled through can make a huge impact. Especially when they’ve stayed in the community or region they came from.
Of course the department shares some upbeat stories too:
“I would tell the younger me you’re going a lot farther than you think you are and those people telling you, you can’t do it are wrong,” Friar says. “I have an absolutely gorgeous, gorgeous daughter who is in college, a husband that I adore. Life is incredible and it does get better if you can just stick with it and understand that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”
After the initial launch of It Gets Better in 2010, the campaign has come under some criticism for not doing enough. It’s true that no one plan is going to solve the problem of LGBT teen suicides—but speaking for those who never had anyone tell us it would get better, we have to say the campaign is a big help.
Agree? Disagree? Speak you mind (respectfully) in the comments.
When I was 14 or so, I saw a story in my local paper of a gay couple. One partner was a Mr. Universe winner and the other was a fitness model. I stashed the story away in my wallet, folded tightly and praying no one would ever see it. Seeing two guys that looked “normal” and “manly” (so love femme guys now) made me feel better about being gay. I carried that piece of paper for a long time (three years or so). One never knows what will connect to gay kid, make him or her Not feel so alone in the world.
@scribe37: When I was little my exposure to the gay world was form movies like Police Academy. That scared the hell out of me, and I spent the next 20 years hoping I would never be gay. It took a while to just accept it, and now I am with an amazing man and we are going on two years next month.
@Daez: lol… I remember the blue oyster!!!! Actually that made me horny as a kid (all those big tough guys in the leather)… Plus when the captain believed that he was getting head from a man.
Austin TX is not so like the rest of TX though.
Austin, Dallas-Ft Worth, Houston are so not like the rest of Texas. Major cities. Cosmopolitan with younger crowd running the cities.
Houston has a lesbian mayor.
Dallas elected a lesbian as head of the county constables.
GLBT have made major strides in each of these cities.
All three have major, active, politically influential GLBT communities.
I’m confused. In the video its Michael Crumrine who says he has a beatiful daughter in college and a wondeful husband, but in the “copy” of the story it mentions Friar as the one with the daughter and husband, which it it?
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