Friday, January 11, 2013
Video: 13 Dallas employees talk about growing up gay
The video was created to give hope to gay and lesbian kids.
City of Dallas: It Gets Better!
DALLAS The video you see above was just posted to YouTube by the city of Dallas — well, City Hall spokesman Frank Librio, to be precise. After all, he spearheaded the “It Gets Better” short film aimed at gay and lesbian kids bullied because of their sexual orientation.
Librio says this morning that the moving 13-minute film (which went through six edits just to get it down to that length) was inspired by a similar offering from the Austin Police Department posted in September. Librio credits Dallas City Manager Mary Suhm with the inspiration: “Mary saw the video Austin’s Lesbian & Gay Peace Officers Association produced and thought it was terrific. She approached the mayor, and the mayor and Mary were jazzed about doing it. So I produced it.”
The shoot, he says, took place over two days in November, after Librio “personally went and visited with people to see their participation.” Some folks declined, he says, but those who signed on were “enthusiastic” about taking part in the video, in which 13 city employees talk about growing up gay. Among those who signed on are many names familiar to readers of this blog, among them: chief historic preservation officer Mark Doty; Theresa O’Donnell, director of Sustainable Development and Construction; assistant city manager Joey Zapata; and assistant city attorneys Melissa Miles and Ben Rogers.
Librio’s also in the video, tearing up when recounting how he broke the news to his family that he was gay: “I remember feeling so lonely, and I couldn’t go home for Christmas. And I thought, ‘I’m just sick of this, sick of this. I know they know. I wrote my parents and my sister both letters coming out and telling them I’m gay and I’m safe and I’m happy and I love you.”
Mayor Mike Rawlings, a target of criticism from some gay and lesbian activists this time last year after he refused to sign the “Mayors for the Freedom to Marry” pledge, told the Dallas Voice why he was onboard: “Hopefully it says at the top of the city we believe in two things. One, acceptance regardless of someone’s sexual orientation. And second, as a young person that’s struggling, getting bullied or abused in some manner, that you can power through this and while it’s difficult other people have come through it.”
Librio says the video, which cost $4,100, was privately funded by former Dallas City Council member Ed Oakley, Caven Enterprises (owner and operator of, among others, Sue Ellen’s and JR’s Bar and Grill) and its president, Gregg Kilhoffer.
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