NEW YORK—Gay and lesbian members of the Broadway theater community have launched an online video campaign as part of a mounting nationwide drive of support for youth victims of anti-gay bullying.
The Broadway actors involved in the effort have created 40 moving video testimonials sharing their stories about the challenges of growing up gay—and how their lives as LGBT people have positively progressed in adulthood. Performers from Spring Awakening, Wicked, Chicago and Memphis—as well as the touring casts of Billy Elliot, Wicked and Jersey Boys— have contributed to the Broadway-based project.
“For those of you out there who feel alone and feel like there’s no one to turn to, there’s a community of people that care about you, that love you, that want you to be around for a long time,” said Mamma Mia actor Ben Gettinger in one of the testimonials.
The recent surge of suicides committed by LGBT teens has inspired robust advocacy efforts across the nation, including community vigils and protests; various viral online campaigns, such as a GLAAD-spearheaded “Spirit Day” initiative on Facebook that prompted millions of Americans—including Khloe Kardashian and the ladies of The View—to wear purple on Oct 20 in solidarity for LGBT youth; and a new YouTube channel called “It Gets Better” created by author and LGBT advocate Dan Savage to highlight the stories of successful LGBT role models who assure teens facing peer harassment that life, indeed, goes on. An emotional video of a Fort Worth, Texas, city councilman recounting his own tormented past and pleading with LGBT teens to “stick around” has gone viral; and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham on Wednesday released a video message decrying anti-gay attitudes and harassment.
“I have a message for all the young people out there who are being bullied, or who feel alone and find it hard to imagine a better future: hang in there and ask for help. Your life is so important,” Clinton said.