The Tampa Bay Rays have announced their intention to film an “It Gets Better” video by late August, becoming the ninth team in professional sports to join the nation-wide campaign in taking a stand against anti-gay bullying and homophobia.
The Giants, Cubs, Red Sox and Orioles have all made “It Gets Better” videos after being petitioned by their fans to do so on Change.org, and the Phillies, Twins, Mariners, and Nationals have announced that they are making videos as well.
“We believe in the impact these videos can have upon LGBTQ youth in all communities,” said Brian Auld, Senior Vice President of Business Operations for the Rays. “The Rays are proud to join fellow baseball clubs in taking a stand against bullying.”
The Rays’ decision came after Jacksonville resident Ben Douthett started a petition on Change.org asking the Rays to make an “It Gets Better” video. More than 2,000 people — mostly Floridians — signed Douthett’s petition.
“We are thrilled and grateful that the Rays are joining the movement to stop the bullying of kids who are gay or perceived to be gay,” said Eden James, Director of Organizing at Change.org. “This sends a clear message of support to LGBT teens in Florida; it also helps to create a safer playing environment for LGBT athletes, from high school to professional sports.”
The momentum behind these videos is especially notable as there are currently no openly gay athletes playing in any of the four major professional sports.
More than 20,000 “It Gets Better” videos have been produced since syndicated columnist Dan Savage and his partner Terry Miller launched the project in September 2010 in response to an epidemic of teen suicides by gay kids and kids perceived to be gay. Through “It Gets Better” videos, President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and corporations like Apple, Google, Microsoft, Pixar and other major organizations and leaders have provided hope to kids struggling with sexual orientation and gender identity.