URI LGBTQ students to create It Gets Better video

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KINGSTON, R.I. –April 28, 2011–Growing up isn’t easy for many young people. But if you’re gay, lesbian or transgender, you could face daily torment and bullying simply for being yourself. It can feel like there is nowhere to go and no one to turn to, which can lead to depression or thoughts of suicide.

In response to the rash of suicides by gay, lesbian, and transgender youth during the fall of 2010, the It Gets Better campaign, www.itgetsbetter.org, was launched. Two months later, it became a global movement, inspiring more than 10,000 videos viewed more than 35 million times.

The University of Rhode Island plans to create its own video. The URI It Gets Better video is the brainchild of a group of undergraduate and graduate women who have met at URI’s Women’s Center during the past year to discuss LGBTQ issues.

The group is seeking faculty, staff, students, graduate students, alumni and allies to share their personal stories and words of encouragement, which will provide support and hope to youths struggling with their sexuality or gender identity by sending them a message that life can and does get better.

“The video is important because it will use stories of perseverance, hope and success to bring the URI community together,” says student Kimberly McGuiness, an active group member. “This campus needs a chance to unite around positive attitudes and this video has great potential to initiate that. The unbelievable support we have already received demonstrates that we are on the right track.”

“The video can identify ‘safe’ and supportive faculty and staff throughout the campus in order to create a more welcoming environment for students,” adds student Jennifer (Jen) Kaye, another member of the group who is helping plan the video. “It provides positive insight regarding the issues that LGBTQ students experience.”

Filming will take place during the weeks of May 2 and May 9. The finished video will be a compilation of 2 to 5 minute videotaped segments.

Anyone interested should contact Carolyn Sovet, director of the Women’s Center. To schedule an appointment, email sovet@uri.edu or call 401.874.5412.

When completed, the video will be shown to the campus community on national Coming Out Day, held annually on Oct. 11. It will also be posted to YouTube and linked from various campus websites.