“It Gets Better” Phillies Style
Late last Thursday evening, the Philadelphia Phillies became the seventh professional baseball team to announce they will produce an “It Gets Better” video. The Phillies will join the Giants, Cubs, and Redsox (who have already made videos) and the Twins, Mariners, and Nationals (who have announced they will be making videos).
Bullying is an issue that is near and dear to my heart. As someone who was bullied in grade school and for a good part of high school, I understand the magnitude that words can have. If it were not for the supportive friends and family, I would not have been able to feel comfortable being who I am. That is why I started a change.org petition to get the Phillies to join the other ball clubs. As a lifelong Phillies fan and partial season ticket holder, there is no other organization I would have loved to see speak out against LGBT bullying than the Phillies.
Considering that LGBT youth who face bullying are increasingly likely to drop out of school, become homeless, use drugs, and even attempt suicide, I applaud efforts like “It Gets Better” that strive to make places like schools more inclusive. The unspoken greatness of this campaign is that it allows LGBT youth who are not out or may not feel comfortable coming out know that things do get better and they should not stop being who they are. And for those who are out and are feeling like there is nowhere to go, “It Gets Better” provides a beacon of hope.
Homophobia is very present in the sports world and when organizations take a stand against homophobia that speaks volumes. Seeing the professional athlete you admire telling you that things get better and not to hide what makes you unique is powerful. Through teams like the Phillies, LGBT youth are able to see that even in places where homophobia may be present, an inclusive and welcoming environment can be forged. Having straight allies do make a difference in creating an inclusive and welcoming environment and I am glad the Phillies have once again shown why they are an elite organization who truly cares about the community.
I hope that the momentum does not stop here and that other professional sports teams decide to take a stand against anti-gay bullying and homophobia. But today, I am even more honored to wear my Phillies red because I know that this organization values and respects its LGBT fans, like myself.