The Baltimore Orioles released an “It Gets Better” video Wednesday, becoming the eighth team in professional sports to join the campaign in taking a stand against anti-gay bullying and homophobia and the fourth to release a video.
The Giants, Cubs, and Red Sox 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.
“The Orioles are proud to support the It Gets Better Project and the Trevor Project,” said Orioles Director of Communications Greg Bader in a statement. “Bullying of any kind, for any reason, is unacceptable to our organization, and we are pleased to have our players speak out against this behavior in the hope it will provide encouragement to LGBT youth, and all children, who are facing hatred and prejudice.”
“You should never feel like you need to hide who you truly are,” said Orioles pitcher Jake Arrieta in the video. “The Orioles are just one part of a huge team of supporters that are here for you.”
The message has particular resonance for Mike Bernard, who started a petition on Change.org asking the Orioles to make an “It Gets Better” video. Bernard has been an Orioles fan since moving to Baltimore with his husband nearly two decades ago. He recruited more than 100 fellow fans to sign his petition.
“I am thrilled that the Orioles are supporting and reaching out to the LGBT community, particularly our young people who need heroes in their lives,” said Bernard. “When I was a young, gay child, I was terrified to tell anyone who I was and couldn’t dream of having a hero like a pro ball-player who would tell me that I’m okay exactly as I am.”
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.
"We congratulate the Orioles for their terrific video and their contribution to the It Gets Better Project,” said Eden James, Director of Organizing at Change.org. “This video sends a clear message of support to all Baltimore kids that it’s okay to be exactly who you are and that bullying someone for being LGBT is never acceptable.”
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 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.
Watch the Baltimore Orioles’ “It Gets Better” video:
More information on the It Gets Better Project:
Orioles fan Mike Bernard’s Change.org petition to the Orioles:
Watch the Boston Red Sox’ “It Gets Better” video:
ESPN story on Sam Maden, who inspired the Red Sox to make an “It Gets Better” video:
Sam Maden’s Change.org petition to the Red Sox:
Watch the San Francisco Giants’ “It Gets Better” video:
SF Chronicle story on Sean Chapin, whose Change.org petition inspired the Giants and sparked the “It Gets Better” movement in baseball:
Watch the Chicago Cubs’ “It Gets Better” video: