NJ Congressional Delegation Makes ‘It Gets Better’ Video

UPDATE: We know a little more now about how this video was compiled. Senator Lautenberg with his staff took the initiative, in recognition of National Bullying Prevention Month, which is October. To accommodate busy schedules, blocks of time over two weeks were reserved at the Capitol Visitor Center Recording Studio, with invitations to members of NJ’s congressional delegation to record. There are a few faces missing – it would be even better with Reps. Andrews, Garrett, Frelinghuysen, Pallone  and Smith. And we must point out that  Lance & LoBiondo voted NO on DADT repeal, as Runyan might have but he wasn’t sworn in yet.  But the effort, and especially Senator Lautenberg’s initiative, are much appreciated.

BTW – I’m told this is the first-ever It Gets Better video that includes elected Republicans.

The New Jersey suicide of Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi and other other young gay people prompted the It Gets Better Project, a labor of love from columnist Dan Savage and his husband Terry Miller. The project took off like wildfire; over the last year celebrities, sports teams, and ordinary people have turned their webcams on themselves to give encouragement to teens and kids of a welcoming future for themselves. And those videos, some of them simple and low-tech, made by ordinary people, are bouncing all over the internet.

Last month, an upstate New York 14-year-old named Jamey Rodemeyer killed himself outside his house. A smart kid, with supportive parents, and friends who cared about him. A kid whose NY state senator had led other Republicans to reverse course and help pass marriage equality in New York State, in part after Jamey’s hero Lady Gaga had asked her Buffalo audience to ask him to. Jamey’s last message was a thank you to Lady Gaga for her message of self-worth to gay kids. And Jamey had himself just months earlier made an ‘It Gets Better’ video to give confidence to other kids. Jamey himself died last month, after a particularly rough bout of online bullying.

Proof if ever there was any that there’s work still to be done. This is the ‘It Gets Better’ video that’s going to the press later today, with our thanks to Senator Frank Lautenberg’s office for the advance heads-up:

Comments (11)

  1. Jay Lassiter

    Jon Runyan’s participation in this video is especially meaningful and noteworthy.  In two ways actually.  First of all, he’s a member of a political party that’s feasted on anti-gay rhetoric for decades so he represents a younger, hipper, more gay tolerant GOP which seems to be (slowly) emerging.  Secondly — and this is perhaps more significant — is he’s also an ex-pro football player.  So fans of the Eagles (and the NFL) now have one more of their own preaching the good word about tolerance towards gays.  I’ll work like hell to ensure he doesn’t get re-elected, but i toast him for this gesture.

  2. Rosi Efthim (Post author)

    I’m hearing that this is the first It Gets Better video featuring elected Republicans, which I just added to the post. Incredible, if true.  

  3. gary stein

    I won’t watch.  Just more hypocrisy, “landslides” is a bully himself, heeeheee  

  4. Alex

    …of the It Gets Better project, at least as I recall when it was first launched, was to have LGBT adults recall their own experience and to reach out to LGBT youth to give them hope to get them through the hurt and fear and violence that so often accompany growing up gay. I think that’s where the real power of Dan Savage’s effort was. I can’t shake the feeling that, as public figures and politicians now make their own “It Gets Better” style videos, that they are helping to dilute the original idea. Don’t get me wrong: it’s definitely laudable that so many public figures are supportive. But the cynic in me finds himself asking, when seeing videos of people who, for the most part, never experienced being bullied for being perceived as LGBT: “How would they know? And what LGBT kid would believe them when they say it gets better?” And the cynic in me also wonders how many of those politicians are actively working to make sure that the LGBT youth of today will have equal and full rights and protections under the law when they become adults. I know many of them are. But are all of them? It’s a great video. But are all the members of our delegation doing the hard work it takes so that our youth can look forward to taking an equal and respected place in society?


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