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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Boston Red Sox to Create "It Gets Better" Video

Posted by on Sat, Jun 4, 2011 at 11:49 AM

First the Giants, then the Cubs, and now the Red Sox:

The Boston Red Sox announced today that they will produce an “It Gets Better” video, becoming the third team in professional sports in a week to join the campaign in taking a stand against anti-gay bullying and homophobia. More than 9,000 people — mostly Red Sox fans in New England — signed 12-year-old Sam Maden’s petition to the Red Sox, which he started in honor of his Uncle Chris, who died unexpectedly in January at the age of 43.

"We are proud of dedicated Red Sox fans like 12-year-old Sam Maden who have taken the courageous step of publicly standing up against bullying of LGBT youth," said Susan Goodenow, Senior Vice President/Public Affairs and Marketing for the Red Sox, in a statement. "The Red Sox have frequently done PSA videos, or public service announcement videos, on important social issues. We are currently producing an “It Gets Better” video to support the It Gets Better campaign to stop bullying of LGBT youth and teen suicides. We hope that when it is released it will both reflect our continued commitment to be active participants in the community and help advance the efforts of Sam and others to stop bullying. Our team stands for respect and inclusion — there is no place for discrimination or acts of hatred in Red Sox Nation."

Sam Maden’s effort began after his seventh-grade teacher recently asked him to come up with a project that could “make a difference” in the world. Sam decided to merge his love for the Red Sox with a cause his uncle believed in passionately: ending the bullying of gay kids and kids perceived to be gay. Inspired by news that the San Francisco Giants had responded to a fan’s petition on by announcing they would become the first pro sports team to create an “It Gets Better” anti-bullying video, Sam decided to ask his favorite team—the Red Sox—to make a video as well.

The petition for the Mariners is here.

And for the record: I think it's great that MLB teams are jumping in and participating in the "It Gets Better" Project. It's amazing and it's going to make a huge difference. But for me and Terry—and for many of the LGBT kids we've heard from since launching the project—the most important IGB videos are still the ones created by average, everyday, ordinary LGBT adults. Videos created by politicians, corporations, pop stars, and sports teams are hugely valuable; they let LGBT kids know that the adult world is filled with straight people who are on their side. These videos let isolated, bullied, and abused LGBT kids know that mainstream Americans—unlike their peers, preachers, teachers, and, all too often, their own parents—are pro-gay, pro-tolerance, and welcoming. That huge. (Not all LGBT kids are bulled, abused, and isolated, I want to emphasize, but the IGBP was designed to reach out to those that are.)

But the heart and soul of the project are still the videos created by ordinary LGBT adults—people you haven't heard of—telling their stories, offering advice, sharing their coping strategies, and, in the comments threads and via their YouTube accounts, offering many LGBT kids something they've never had before: the ear of a sympathetic adult who understands exactly what they're going through.

Don't get me wrong: I'm thrilled by the participation of the Giants, the Red Sox, and the Cubs. (I'm ecstatic about the participation of the Cubbies!) But I don't want the excitement about each new high-profile IGB contribution to obscure the real heroes of the IGB movement: the tens of thousands of average, ordinary LGBT people out there—LGBT people of all ages, races, faiths, and backgrounds—who are reaching out and speaking to LGBT kids.


Comments (28) RSS

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despicable me 1
Way to go Giants, Cubs and Red Sox.

Dan, you could have made it better for someone else if you had only given them 2 minutes of your time. It would have meant a lot to a gay 16 year old.
Posted by despicable me on June 4, 2011 at 11:59 AM · Report this
Bub 2
Signed the petition. The way the Mariners' current season is going is proof: It DOES Get Better!

Posted by Bub on June 4, 2011 at 12:09 PM · Report this
If you want local athletes (straight and gay, together) check out the Seattle Quake rugby club videos - one of our guys even made into the Google ad! We had too many volunteers, so we created our own channel on YouTube for with the guys that didn't make the official video:
Posted by QuakeRugger on June 4, 2011 at 12:24 PM · Report this
Very nice. Now if only the Cubs would figure out how to play better!
Posted by My Name Here on June 4, 2011 at 12:45 PM · Report this
it almost reads as though Mr. Savage is worried all the straight jocks are taking over his project.

next time, perhaps he could just stop at "I think it's great."
Posted by yougottahavefriends on June 4, 2011 at 12:58 PM · Report this
Jaymz 6
Amen, and I disagree with @5. Dan does a good job of accepting mainstream and celebrity help, but continuing to encourage the grass roots, every day, "I have a regular life and you can too" videos.
Posted by Jaymz on June 4, 2011 at 1:02 PM · Report this
josh 7
This is really cool, though also odd that there will soon be more IGBP videos by major league teams than openly gay major league athletes.
Posted by josh on June 4, 2011 at 1:10 PM · Report this
Maybe the clubs' vids will help make a space for some player to come out. That would be making it better.
Posted by cgd on June 4, 2011 at 1:12 PM · Report this
Yeah, you nobodies really make it better. False modesty is the only modesty some people are familiar with.
Posted by PugilistPuck on June 4, 2011 at 1:29 PM · Report this
@8 - totally! I was just thinking to myself, it would be even more awesome if a few closeted, high profile, active pro athletes would come out.
Posted by JenV on June 4, 2011 at 3:45 PM · Report this
videos from average everyday folks mean more in a "from the heart" way, but videos from celebs get you more mainstream exposure. which then reaches more average everyday folks.
Posted by taint on June 4, 2011 at 4:16 PM · Report this
ferret 12
Go Sox! and go everyday people who try to help out one of if not the suicidal group in the country, LGBT youth.
Posted by ferret http://!/okojo on June 4, 2011 at 4:41 PM · Report this
The thing that's great about the celebrity jocks doing it, isn't how encouraging it is to young gays, but it sends a message to young straight kids that you shouldn't bully people, which I know isn't the central idea of the project, but if your a young sports fan and you see your idol saying these things, then maybe the next time some other kid is being tormented, you might not go along with it.
Posted by Sinclair on June 4, 2011 at 8:11 PM · Report this
razorclammer 14
The hardest thing about making it all the way to the majors is telling your parents that you're gay.
Posted by razorclammer on June 4, 2011 at 8:54 PM · Report this
It gets better.
Posted by It Gets Better Dot Com: It's Dot Org. on June 5, 2011 at 12:55 AM · Report this
Paul Pearson 16
@13 - Exactly. The heart of this project is encouraging LBGT kids, but the side benefit is the message it sends by association to the others. This project is taking multiple directions. It's great.
Posted by Paul Pearson on June 5, 2011 at 1:40 AM · Report this
Yesterday my 16-yo stepdaughter said she was "in love" with someone, and when I asked, "a guy?" b/c it wasn't really clear, she said: "Yes, I'm straight. Trust me, if I were gay or bi, everybody would know about it!" So glad to live in a world where we can have this conversation.
Posted by LisaD on June 5, 2011 at 7:38 AM · Report this
I can't help but wonder how much longer it will be before some usage of "It gets better!" were used as a schoolyard taunt itself.

I approve strongly of the project; I was a straight kid who got called "faggot" screamed at me every day---I finally realised that they just used the word to inflict pain, not as a specific insult...and then they started asking for sex. I got through it with the implicit "it gets better" of "someday this will be the past", which I think is what a suicidal kid might need to hear---"If you kill yourself, they've won."

But the ignored or approved student sadists who help govern our schools, much as gangs are used to govern our prisons, are enormously inventive, and will let no major trend go to waste, so I'm afraid that "It gets better," will become part of their repertoire.

I don't do "hope", I assess odds and make predictions---I think the damage done will be much less than the benefit received, because in the absence of "It gets better" they would have just used something else, though less useful---nothing beats using something that was supposed to help to injure, which is in fact the sin addressed in "Thou shalt not boil a kid in its mother's milk."
Posted by Gerald Fnord on June 5, 2011 at 7:39 AM · Report this
CBSeattle 19
I think it's great that the Sox are doing this. You would be hard pressed to find a place more racist and bigoted than Boston. Sure, the intelligentsia isn't so bad, but even among them there is a right wing faction. The people who file into Fenway are the people who have to hear this message. Great job Dan and Terry.
Posted by CBSeattle on June 5, 2011 at 8:02 AM · Report this
Brody 20
"It gets bettah"
Posted by Brody on June 5, 2011 at 8:54 AM · Report this
Glad to hear about the "It Gets Better" videos by these sports teams, but I am pissed by the reaction of anti-gay politicians and groups. I just read this wonderfully funny and snarky article at called "Confessions of a Blog Addict. Or Why I Love to Hate and"

From the section on

"On the heels of the suicides of gay teens Asher Brown and Tyler Clementi in October 2010, Terry Mattingly confessed that he too was bullied. "I was a pudgy, non-athletic boy in sports-mad Texas and, to make it worse, I was a musician who sang in classical choirs (boy soprano, no less)," he confided. But, he added, "these weren't the main reasons I was bullied. There was something even worse to those bullies--I was a preacher's kid."

That's their answer to Dan Savage's charge that the pandemic of anti-gay bullying is related to the hateful rhetoric of religious leaders. Their self-pitying, self-indulgent, morally bankrupt response to the suicides of gay youth would be shocking were it not so predictable."

Here's the url for the article:…
Posted by JayJonson on June 5, 2011 at 9:29 AM · Report this
I think what Dan's forgetting is that at this point, the IGB videos are doing two things- first, they are helping those young kids feel better about being who they are (which is why the normal, everyday folks videos are so good).

But the videos are also showing people who've never cared, nor thought about gay issues that this is something they should be caring about. That's where these celebrity videos can be helpful. Maybe they'll speak to the bullies, or to the people who've so far not taken a position on gay rights.
Posted by Eddie Vedder on June 5, 2011 at 9:35 AM · Report this
I agree stories from individual people are more powerful most of the time but also think we need these mainstream celebs and sports figures to send the IGB message, doing so may give insight to youth that participate in sports in school that picking on LGBT people or anyone for that matter to be cool. and you have to think that if you think it is hard coming out as an average student , imagine trying to come out as the star quarterback of lineman. now do I think some celbs just just on the bandwagon of a powerful movement for their own gain? absolutely but hey it also is a gain to the movement. and in response to #1= I hope nobody including Dan forget where they came from and take that minute to help another even if just to lend an ear. sometimes people gain great strength in themselves once they know they have been heard.
Posted by bimatters on June 5, 2011 at 11:57 AM · Report this
Y 24
If any team knows that it gets better, it's the Red Sox. I just wish that it got better for the Cubs, too.
Posted by Y on June 5, 2011 at 12:03 PM · Report this
Maybe we need a series of "it gets worse" videos showing what horrible lives bullies end up having? Unfortunately, since many of the personality traits and habits I've seen in bullies are those useful in other bad hierarchies---that is, almost all work-places---I'm not sanguine about the distribution.

My guess is basically a Gaussian peaked around "successful middle-manager" with larger-than-Gaussian heights for "unsuccessful criminal" and "extremely successful executive", but that guess probably has more to do with my biases than reality.

Roger Ailes evidently will seize any opportunity to make fun of someone's accent.
Posted by Gerald Fnord on June 5, 2011 at 12:17 PM · Report this
Just thought I'd share one of the comments from the Sons of Sam Horn, an online forum of the most die-hard Red Sox fans, in response to this news:

"There would be no more compelling 'It gets better' video than somebody saying 'I hid who I was for a long time. But now I play for the Red Sox.' Then he should get a shaving cream pie in the face."

Pretty awesome.
Posted by Funi on June 5, 2011 at 3:16 PM · Report this
There are more petition links here:…
Posted by cdm7 on June 6, 2011 at 1:41 AM · Report this
I would love it if, barring an actually gay player coming out, the Sox or the Cubs could use players with openly gay friends and relatives in the video and have them talk about the positive things those people bring to their lives. That would be a powerful message not only about a positive future, but also for any closeted athletes.
Posted by CPT_Doom on June 6, 2011 at 10:37 AM · Report this

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