John Rodgers, an assistant city attorney in Dallas, says he has worked happily and openly as a gay man for almost 25 years for his employer. So, he seized the opportunity when city officials asked him to appear in a video posted on YouTube.com this month as part of the It Gets Better.org campaign. “It was a no-brainer. I instantly said, ‘Yes!’” Rodgers recalls.
Melissa Miles, who is chief of compliance litigation in the city attorney’s office, says she didn’t hesitate either when she also got a similar request. “From a policy standpoint, the city couldn’t be a friendlier place for gay employees. It’s not just about being tolerant; it’s a very affirmative environment,” says Miles, who has worked for Big D for six years.
The campaign began nationally in September 2010, when syndicated columnist and author Dan Savage created a YouTube video with his partner in response to a number of suicides by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students who had been bullied in school.
Miles discusses her own battles against suicidal thoughts as a youngster in her video appearance. She says, “I didn’t realize how personal it was going to be until we got into the studio.”
Rodgers, who talks on the video about a gay friend in college who committed suicide, says the video has a dual purpose: helping youngsters coping with being different and recruiting employees for the city. Both lawyers say they’re gratified by kudos they’ve received from friends and strangers for their online appearances.
This article first appeared on Texas Lawyer’s Tex Parte blog.