It Gets Better!

     What is the “It Gets Better” Project?

In September 2010, syndicated columnist and author Dan Savage created a YouTube video with his partner Terry Miller to inspire hope for young people facing harassment. In response to a number of students taking their own lives after being bullied in school, they wanted to create a personal way for supporters everywhere to tell LGBT youth that, yes, it does indeed get better.

The It Gets Better Project has become a worldwide movement, inspiring more than 50,000 user-created videos viewed more than 50 million times. To date, the project has received submissions from celebrities, organizations, activists, politicians and media personalities, including President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Adam Lambert, Anne Hathaway, Colin Farrell, Matthew Morrison of “Glee”, Joe Jonas, Joel Madden, Ke$ha, Sarah Silverman, Tim Gunn, Ellen DeGeneres, Suze Orman, the staffs of The Gap, Google, Facebook, Pixar, the Broadway community, and many more. For us, every video changes a life. It doesn’t matter who makes it.

Here are two gutsy videos from Portland and San Francisco police in response to a national problem: an epidemic of suicide and self-hate going on among  LGBT youth.

The message is strong and simple for these youth: “IT GETS BETTER!”

These law enforcement professionals  come out of the closet and talk about their lives and their sexual orientation. It is a fitting tribute to the contibution GLBT men and women have made to policing. For my experience in Madison, I can attest to that.

Portland Police

SanFrancisco Police

This is a strong contribution and two of the qualities police need to practice: modelling and leading.

See my book for more insight and direction on these and other important police improvement issues.


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About improvingpolice

I served over 20 years as the chief of police in Madison (WI), four years as chief of the Burnsville (MN) Police Department, and before that as a police officer in Edina (MN) and the City of Minneapolis. I hold graduate degrees from the University of Minnesota and Edgewood College in Madison. I have written many articles over my years as a police leader calling for police improvement (for example, How To Rate Your Local Police, and with my wife, Sabine, Quality Policing: The Madison Experience). After retiring from the police department, I answered a call to ministry, attended seminary, and was ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church. At the present time, I serve a small church in North Lake (WI), east of Madison. Sabine and I have nine adult children, eleven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. She is also a retired police officer and we both continue active lives.

3 Responses to “It Gets Better!”

  1. I was with you generally with what you were saying about cops until the Savage endorsement. Dan Savage is a radical homosexual activist who called homosexual supporters of Romney “faggots.” This is a guy who wants to help?

    And there is a serious question if bullying is as bad as it’s been reported, especially among the homosexual community.

    Not this one, not this time. You’re wrong here.

    • I am not understanding what you mean about “the Savage endorsement? Tell me more and how I am wrong. Are we talking about the same blog-post? Thanks for replying…

      • Jeffrey P. Rush August 22, 2012 at 7:30 am

        So perhaps it wasn’t an endorsement per se of Dan Savage, more an agreement with his perspective. That said, his perspective generally is radical and he’s an angry homosexual activist who doesn’t, in my view, practice what he preaches regarding acceptance (again, see his comments regarding homosexuals who support Romney).

        Why is it that homosexuals, be they cops, but especially cops, believe they need to “come out?” Who cares what they’re sexual orientation is if they’re good cops? Shouldn’t that be all that matters?

        In terms of bullying, sure it exists, has throughout history. I’m not convinced that homosexuals are bullied any more than any other group. And yes, it does get better, whether you’re a homosexual or not.

        If we’re going to talk about the contributions of GLBT officers, what’s next? Who’s contribution is next? That’s where you’re wrong in my view. It’s not a fitting tribute to anything or anyone (especially if it involves Dan Savage). Cops are cops, how ’bout we let them be that first, foremost and always?

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