"It almost makes me angry when I hear 'it gets better.' I don't want it to get better; I want it to be better now."
That's just one of several eyebrow-raising sentiments expressed by Brady, one of four teens -- one bisexual, two transgender and one gay -- prominently featured in "Stories Project: NOW," a poignant new video aimed at creating a safer environment for LGBT youth in Cincinnati-area schools.
Produced by Piñata Productions for the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) Greater Cincinnati, the ten-minute clip also includes interviews with a number of area educators and social workers, who speak about their own experiences working with LGBT students.
But the segments featuring the four students from three different schools in Cincinnati and northern Kentucky are, without question, the video's most distressing. "When I use the bathroom, I feel like an outcast because I always get looks no matter what bathroom I go into," Jason, a transgender male, explains. "They want me to use the women's bathroom. I try to explain because it's really uncomfortable for me to be there... people question my identity when I use the bathroom."
Though anti-gay bullying has become a hot-button issue nationwide in the wake of a disturbing spate of LGBT teen suicides, GLSEN statistics suggest that the Cincinnati region has been slower than others to react to the trend. According to the group's Ohio Research Brief, fewer than one in 10 LGBT students attended a school with a comprehensive bullying and harassment policy that included specific protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression as recently as 2009.
In addition, one in four LGBT students was reportedly physically assaulted (punched, kicked or injured with a weapon) because of their sexual orientation.
GLSEN Greater Cincinnati co-chair Josh Wagoner told HuffPost Gay Voices in an email that his group was motivated to produce the video in an effort to better inform local educators. "We know that teachers are already incredibly busy and don't have enough resources," he said. "But we also know that educators really care about their students, and if they hear this message, they can be motivated to do that something extra."
He added, "I wanted to illustrate why we work for safe schools, and to root that in the actual issues that students and teachers are talking about." Since "Stories Project: NOW" was produced, GLSEN Cincinnati has launched a weekly group for high school students to network and organize, co-coordinated by Anne, who is featured in the video.
Take a look at some recent anti-gay bullying cases and teen suicides below:
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