Thirteen United States senators released a group "It Gets Better" video today to address LGBTQ youth who face harassment, bullying, or discrimination by their peers and others. Watch the video below.
The participants in the video are Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).
All 13 Senators are co-sponsors of the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.
GLSEN responded with a press release about the video today, in which Executive Director Eliza Byard states:
We applaud these senators for sending a positive message about their commitment to LGBT young people. These Senators are among those leading the fight to address rampant bullying and ensure safe schools for all. Congress is currently considering two bills to make schools safer for all young people, and we hope other Senators follow the lead and push for these bills to become law.
The bills are the Safe Schools Improvement Act of 2011 and the Student Non-Discrimination Act.
Twelve of the senators are co-sponsors of the Safe Schools Improvement Act of 2011, which was introduced in the Senate in March. Senator Shaheen signed onto the bill yesterday, per GLSEN reports, confirmed by The Bilerico Project. Senator Coons, who is reportedly "leaning yes" on the issue, is not an official co-sponsor (Updated below). The Bilerico Project has been in touch with a representative for Coons, who reports that a decision of whether to sign on will be reached soon.
Trans advocates will notice that little reference is made to transgender individuals or gender identity in the "It Gets Better" video. However, the bills cosponsored by the participants and the accompanying print press release include references to trans equality.
Update 2:45pm: A representative for Senator Coons told The Bilerico Project that Coons is signing on to co-sponsor the Safe Schools Improvement Act of 2011 today.