WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren has released an "It Gets Better" video, drawing upon her experience as a schoolteacher to reassure LGBT youth who may be getting bullied that their lives will improve when they get older.
"I'm Elizabeth Warren, and you may be wondering what I have to say to you," she says in the video, which debuted on Wednesday. "After all, I haven't lived your life. But when I graduated from college, I was a schoolteacher, and I watched what happens in hallways, on sidewalks, out in the schoolyard. I watched kids who pushed, who bullied. I saw how much pain some kids could inflict on other kids."
Warren tells struggling young people who may need help to call the Trevor Project, a national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services for LGBT youth.
"Because here's what you'll find," she says. "There are a lot of different people out there in this world, and a lot of people who celebrate those differences. That's what makes us strong. That's what makes us exciting. So, hang in there. It gets better."
The It Gets Better Project was started by sex columnist Dan Savage and his husband in September 2010 in response to the disturbing number of suicides by teenagers who said they were being bullied for being gay or perceived to be gay.
Warren's decision to film a video for the project puts her at odds with the man she is hoping to unseat in November, Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), who decided against making one last year.
In July, the entire Massachusetts congressional delegation -- except Brown, the only Republican in the group -- filmed an "It Gets Better" video.
When Brown faced criticism from Democrats and LGBT leaders for not participating, his campaign pointed to controversial comments Savage had made in the past about Brown.
"Senator Brown believes all people regardless of sexual orientation should be treated with dignity and respect. He has been a leader in fighting for anti-bullying legislation at the state and federal level. His main focus is creating jobs and getting the economy moving again," said Eric Fehrnstrom, an adviser to Brown. "In this case, the individual behind the video has made vile and sexually crude comments about Senator Brown. It's reprehensible for Senator Brown's opponents to associate with this person in order to score cheap political points."
In an interview with New England-based LGBT newspaper Bay Windows published on Wednesday, Warren said that repealing the Defense of Marriage Act -- which bars federal recognition of same-sex marriage -- would be her top legislative priority for the LGBT community if she is elected.
"I find it personally offensive that the federal government would pass a law to say that the terms of marriage should be left to the states; and then each state must recognize every other state’s marriage laws and then the federal government will recognize those laws except in the case of marriage equality. To discriminate against our own people and to enshrine that in federal law appalls me," she said.
UPDATE: 3:20 p.m. -- Kara Suffredini, executive director of the LGBT rights group MassEquality, praised Warren for the video.
"With the release of an "It Gets Better" video today, which is also Massachusetts's official "No Name Calling Day," Elizabeth Warren shows that she understands the needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Last month, Elizabeth Warren announced her support for marriage equality; repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, which discriminates against married same-sex couples; passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act with full protections for transgender residents; safe schools for LGBT youth; and full support for LGBT families. These positions are consistent with the legacy of the US Senate seat for which she is running, as well as the values of Massachusetts voters. Her thoughtful and comprehensive positions raise the bar on support for LGBT equality for every candidate in the senate race. MassEquality does not endorse in federal elections. But we are pleased to see Warren's support for full equality, reinforced today with her release of an "It Gets Better" video, and we will be educating voters, particularly LGBT voters, on where all of the candidates stand on LGBT issues.
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