California Assembly Speaker John Perez
talks about coming out gay in his It Gets Better video.
It Gets Better Project encourages troubled gay teens to hang in
there and not cave in to bullies because life gets better.
During his freshman term in the
41-year-old Perez became the state's first openly gay person to lead
“When I was a teenager, I never
thought I'd be able to live a happy and successful life as an openly
gay man,” Perez says in his nearly 7-minute video. “And now I
have the privilege of serving in one of the top positions in
Perez says he came out to his parents
during Thanksgiving break while attending UC Berkeley. Coming from a
traditional Latino household, he said, he feared the worst. Before
returning to school, he told his parents.
“The first words out of my mouth
were, 'I'm sorry,'” he says. “I must have said that 50 times.
Then finally I told them the words that would have such enormous
implications: 'I'm gay.'”
When he returned home, he had two
supportive messages from his parents on his answering machine.
“When I told my parents, they showed
me that love was much more powerful than fear. And in that moment, I
became closer to them than I ever thought was possible.”
“It got better for me,” he adds.
“And I know with absolute certainty that it will get better for
you, too.” (The video is embedded in the right panel of this