By now it’s fair to say that most of us have heard of the It Gets Better Project, aimed at LGBT youth. Launched by out columnist and author Dan Savage and his partner, the organization aims to give young people experiencing harrassment some hope.
The Austin Police Department, with the Lesbian & Gay Peace Officer’s Association, made its own It Gets Better video. The LGPOA and the APD also wanted to reach out to young people, and they did. But they also reached a fair amount of adults who needed to hear the message in the video.
“The comments on the video were amazing,” said Jackie Garrett, a lead counselor with the APD’s victims service unit, and a member of the LGPOA. “Austin is a unique community – so open minded and accepting of anything. These other small towns in Texas, people are not out in their police departments. There’s not the same level of acceptance. There’s a fear about what would happen with their coworkers and the community if they were out. Some of the comments we got were from officers wanting the same kind of acceptance in their departments.”
Cassie Campbell, also a member of the LGPOA and a communications lead with the APD added, “Our main goal was to save a life. We said going in that if our video saved one life, then all the effort was worth it. And one of the comments on the video was from someone who had been contemplating suicide, and that our video had made an impact.”