Barney Frank, Jared Polis, Tammy
Baldwin and David Cicilline, Congress' four openly gay
representatives, reach out to gay teens in a new It Gets Better
The It Gets Better Project encourages
troubled LGBT teens to not cave in to bullies, because life
eventually gets better.
In the 3-minute video, the elected
officials talk about their coming out experiences.
“Coming out publicly was the most
frightening thing I've ever done and, also, the most freeing,” said
Baldwin, a representative from Wisconsin who is running for the U.S.
Massachusetts Rep. Frank, the nation's
longest-serving openly gay House member, said he has enormous
admiration for young people who come out in their teens.
“When I first came to Washington in
1971, I came down to work for a member of Congress, Michael
Harrington – a very good, liberal member of Congress – and I was
at the time 31 years old. And I had a good job but I spent nights
and weekends alone and terrified that someone would find out that I
was gay. As the years went by obviously that began to change. I
didn't have the courage to be honest about my sexuality until I was
47 years old and I had been a member of Congress for six years. And
then I volunteered to come out,” Frank said.
Polis, a representative from Colorado
in his second term, and Cicilline, a freshman representative from
Rhode Island, added their messages of encouragement to gay teens.
“If a video like this one can help a
scared young person who has been the victim of bullying or harassment
see past their painful present to a happier future, then this has
been worth it,” Polis said.
“Every young person, regardless of
their sexual orientation, must feel safe and respected as equals,”
said Cicilline. (The video is embedded in the right panel of this