With students heading back to school, State Rep. Dan Frankel (D-Allegheny County) has posted his "It Gets Better" video in response to several high-profile incidents of bullying against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender teens.
The "It Gets Better" Project was started in September 2010 by author Dan Savage and his partner Terry when they posted a video to YouTube encouraging LGBT teens that bullying gets less frequent as they get older. Since then athletes, celebrities, and politicians such as President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Adam Lambert, Anne Hathaway, Colin Farrell, Matthew Morrison of Glee, Joe Jonas, Joel Madden, Ke$ha, Sarah Silverman, Tim Gunn, and Ellen DeGeneres have posted videos.
Frankel says the video is just the next step for him. "It really is a logical addition to my efforts to reform Pennsylvania's civil rights laws so that people who are lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and gay have the opportunity to the same protections that the rest of the citizens of the state do on the basis of race, religion, disability, and so forth," said Frankel.
The Pittsburgh legislator is sponsoring a bill to protect people who live and work in the state from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. He says Pennsylvania is in the vast minority of states without these protections. "What we see instead is communities across Pennsylvania, cities like Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, Scranton, York, Erie have done it themselves," said Frankel. "But it begs the issue at the end of the day. If I have my civil rights protection in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, what sense does it make to go over the border?"