Labor MLC Penny Sharpe (pictured) has become the first NSW politician to make a video for the It Gets Better project.
It Gets Better was started by American writer Dan Savage in response to a spate of suicides by gay teens as a way of giving young GLBTs hope for the future.
Sharpe posted her video in December after being encouraged to get involved by members of the Wear It Purple initiative.
“They encouraged me to make a video, so I did,” Sharpe told the Star Observer.
In the video Sharpe speaks about being the first openly lesbian member of the NSW Parliament, and being asked by a journalist to confirm her sexuality on the record. She tells how the decision to answer honestly is one she has never regretted.
Sharpe also talks about telling her parents she had a girlfriend, and how the same woman is today her partner of 17 years.
At the end she encourages any GLBT young person who is struggling to seek assistance and to contact her too if they feel that will help.
Sharpe encouraged anyone with a personal story that they thought would help to make a video.
“The internet has a good role to play in people being able to find information in a safe way,” Sharpe said.
“I think projects like This Is Oz and the It Gets Better project demonstrate that there is a way that you can support people online that is more difficult in real life, that traverses time and space, and helps in connecting people to people who have the stories to help them.”
The video is viewable on YouTube, Vimeo and Penny’s political website and will go up on www.ItGetsBetter.org once it has passed an approval process.
Other Sydneysiders to make videos for It Gets Better is 23-year-old blogger Rob Much.
Much, whose YouTube channel on gay news and issues has around 5000 subscribers, said he had initially been hesitant about making a video as his coming-out experience had been an easy one.
“My parents were very supportive and so were family and friends, so that made me feel I didn’t really have anything to say,” he said.
“But then I realised the project is more about giving support than anything else and there is a value in showing people that there are situations for young people where it is better already.”
And with US President Barack Obama and UK Prime Minister David Cameron having contributed videos, Much would welcome one from Prime Minister Julia Gillard too.
“I think adding her voice would be a great thing for the project,” Much said.