You've probably heard of the "It Gets Better" campaign, started by columnist Dan Savage in response to the spate of gay teen suicides across the country. Savage encouraged both famous people and everyday people to record web videos to encourage gay teenagers to hang tight, to let them know that their lives will improve, and that they won't always be subjected to bullying and persecution. The campaign ended up getting videos from even the President himself. And now a woman named Gabrielle Gorre has posted a petition online asking the Cowboys to make one of their own. Here's a portion of the letter she wrote to the Double J:
Greetings Mr. Jones,
After two ugly, high-profile incidents highlighted the widespread culture of homophobia in men's professional sports, San Francisco Giants fan Sean Chapin had an idea.
Sean started a petition asking the Giants to make an "It Gets Better" video, like the more than 10,000 videos that have been made by public figures, organizations, and corporations to fight the epidemic of suicides by kids bullied for being gay or perceived to be gay... This simple act by the Giants can catalyze a cultural shift in both pro sports and American society. But it's only a game-changer if other pro teams follow their lead. And that's where you can help.
Gorre also posted a similar petition for the Texas Rangers to make a video. Only 61 people have signed the petition thus far, which is probably due to a lack of awareness but also signifies once again that, despite the massive success of Savage's campaign, the sports world still remains a fiercely heterosexual enclave. We saw it earlier in the year, when Grant Hill of the Phoenix Suns made a PSA encouraging people to not use the word "gay" in a derogatory fashion, and was subsequently razzed on Twitter for it.
Sports are like kryptonite to the gay rights movement. Every time there's an outing on the periphery of sports (as with Suns President Rick Welts earlier this year), people always think we're on the verge of some giant gay sports breakthrough, when an active player finally comes out and more follow in his footsteps. But that hasn't happened yet, and it's something that I think the gay rights movement desperately wants to see happen, because sports are so central to the lives of teenagers across the country. What's more, a lot of gay rights campaigning in sports gets blowback, like the kind Hill experienced with his PSA. You get a lot of, "Why can't we have one thing that isn't GAY?" complaints from sports fans who feel like it's their right to have sports be this macho pillar of the community that remains immune to progressive issues like this one.
But that's an awful lot of arguing over a relatively simple matter, namely asking people to be more civil to one another. I don't think it would be a huge deal for the Cowboys to make an "It Gets Better" video, and it's not like the team would somehow SUFFER as a result of doing one. The only people it would really help are the people who need to hear the message the most.