The San Francisco Giants will become the first team in professional sports to produce an "It Gets Better" video taking a stand against anti-gay bullying and homophobia, supported by more than 6,500 fans and four San Francisco mayoral candidates. The development comes just a few days after Atlanta Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell returned to baseball after serving a two-week suspension for calling a group of Giants fans a "homo couple" and making lewd gestures before a game at San Francisco's AT&T Park.
"The Giants are committed to joining the 'It Gets Better' campaign and appreciate our fans' support for this important cause," a spokesperson for the team said in a statement. "The team is currently in the process of coordinating the production of its 'It Gets Better' video and will post once it is final."
Lifelong Giants fan Sean Chapin encouraged the World Series champions to make an "It Gets Better" video by starting an online petition on Change.org, the world's fastest-growing platform for social change, following recent controversial incidents involving McDowell and basketball star Kobe Bryant. More than 6,000 Giants fans -- including San Francisco mayoral candidates David Chiu, Joanna Rees, Phil Ting and Leland Yee -- signed Chapin's petition.
Additionally, Chapin created and distributed a YouTube video with a heartfelt message to his favorite team explaining why the "It Gets Better" video was so important to him.
"This is a watershed moment for baseball and for LGBT youth," said Chapin. "By joining the 'It Gets Better' campaign, the Giants are showing us why they are World Champions, both on an off the field. If every pro sports team joined the Giants in taking a stand against homophobia and anti-gay bullying by making these videos, it would have a tremendous impact on the lives of millions of kids and their families. It would also contribute to a safer playing environment for gay athletes, from high school to professional sports."
Chapin spoke to the San Francisco Chronicle and shared this:
Chapin, a native San Franciscan who came out as gay in high school, said he would like to see a day "when LGBT people can go to a pro sports game and be themselves, not feel like they have to hide who they are." He said he never really felt threatened himself, but noted that he wouldn't feel comfortable holding a boyfriend's hand or giving him a big smooch when the "kiss-cam" came around.
Currently there are no openly gay athletes playing in any of the four major pro sports, as the New York Times recently highlighted in an article about New York Rangers hockey player Sean Avery announcing his support for marriage equality in New York state.
More than 10,000 "It Gets Better" videos have been produced since syndicated columnist Dan Savage and his partner, Terry Miller, launched the project in September 2010 in response to an epidemic of teen suicides by gay kids and kids perceived to be gay. Through "It Gets Better" videos, President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and corporations like Apple, Google, Microsoft, Pixar and other major organizations and leaders have provided hope to kids struggling with sexual orientation and gender identity.
The Giants have a long history of supporting the LGBT community. In 1994, the Giants became the first team in Major League Baseball to dedicate a game every year to "Until There's A Cure" Day, raising money for HIV/AIDS research at a time when victims were still being stigmatized.
Click the link below to join Sean Chapin and other fans in thanking the San Francisco Giants for pledging to make an "It Gets Better" video.
Cross Posted on Change.org