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It Gets Better Blog

The Outspoken Generation

Almost six years ago, I witnessed one of the more touching moments between a father and daughter. It just happened to be between Ella Robinson and her gay father, who also happened to be Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church. After presenting her father with an award at our Family Equality Council dinner, the bishop, with tears streaming down his face, said the one thing that is singularly true for every parent I know: "Being Ella's father has been the best and most important job I have ever had." 

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Dear 15-Year-Old Me: I’m Writing to Tell You It Got Better

Just remember: you are unique. There's only one of you. If you ever worry that you are different, just think how boring it would be if we were all the same! You will take pride in expressing your individuality. You'll march in parades. You will fly the flag of pride. You'll witness states and countries around the world embrace change and embrace equality. You'll do your bit. You'll be part of it. You may even marry and start a family someday. They are your choices. You lost nothing. 

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John Carroll: Dancing Saved Me From Humiliation of Bullies

Broadway performer John Carroll (Women on the Verger of a Nervous Breakdown, Follies) recalls being relentlessly tormented by bullies as a kid and how he escaped and gained confidence by studying dance. 

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Why I Stood Up to My School District

Ebonie Richardson is a 16-year-old lesbian student who challenged the Anoka-Hennepin School District with a lawsuit that just ended with new protections designed to protect students like her from bullying. 

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The Anoka-Hennepin School District Settlement: A Sea Change for School Safety Nationwide

This week marks a historic paradigm shift in the way the federal government interacts with communities. The slow behemoth of federal justice moved at the breakneck pace of 16 months to create a blueprint for school safety that can be implemented nationwide, all in the interest of keeping children and youth safe, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression. The consent decree among Minnesota's Anoka-Hennepin School District, the Departments of Justice and Education, and students represents history in civil rights for youth and for LGBT people. It is also a huge win in the fight to promote health and psychological well-being of youth at school, as it emphasizes ongoing availability of counseling for students and evaluation of anti-bullying measures from a mental health perspective.  

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Taking off the Mask for Purim

This year's Purim marks three years since I started my incredible journey of coming out. Until three years ago I struggled in isolation with my identity as a gay man and an Orthodox Jew. I had spent the previous two years surrounded only by people who rejected themselves as gay and was part of the "ex gay" movement." 

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The Ideas of March

A gay conservative, a black transgender woman, and an out television journalist walk into a TV studio... sounds like the start of a good joke, right? But it was just my Friday at work at MSNBC. And you know what? Three LGBT people appeared together on a mainstream media cable channel talking news, politics, and common sense, and television sets across the country didn't explode! 

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Dignity for All: Why I Signed Same-Sex Marriage into Maryland Law

During the debate in Maryland's House, I joined same-sex marriage supporters outside of the chambers who were anxiously awaiting the vote. I met two moms and their 4-year-old son Will. After standing for hours, Will was tired and seemed a bit uninterested. I could only imagine how hard it would be to understand the complex discussions as a 4-year-old. But the next day I saw a photo of Will and his family taken right after the House voted in support of marriage equality. His little face was lit up with joy, and he was cheering as his moms hugged him with the love that only a mother can provide. Will may not have understood the debates, but his smile after the vote proved one very important thing: even a 4-year-old knows the value of human dignity. 

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