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Hillary Clinton to gay teens: 'Tomorrow Will Be Better'

By Ed O'Keefe

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks directly to gay and lesbian teenagers in a new video produced at the urging of State Department employees.

Clinton calls recent suicides by gay teenagers "a reminder that all Americans have to work harder to overcome bigotry and hatred."

"Hang in there and ask for help," she says to teens being bullied because of their sexuality. "Your life is so important -- to your family, your friends, and to your country. And there is so much waiting for you, both personally and professionally -- there are so many opportunities for you to develop your talents and make your contributions."

"Here at the State Department, I am grateful every day for the work of our LGBT employees who are serving the United States as foreign service officers and civil servants here and around the world," she says later. "It wasn't long ago that these men and women would not have been able to serve openly, but today they can -- because it has gotten better. And it will get better for you.

"So take heart, and have hope, and please remember that your life is valuable, and that you are not alone. Many people are standing with you and sending you their thoughts, their prayers and their strength. Count me among them. Take care of yourself."

The video was shot and produced quickly after members of the group Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies contacted State Department Counselor Cheryl Mills asking for the secretary to speak out, said Michelle Schohn, a spokeswoman for the group.

Schohn noted that Clinton was one of the first public figures to speak publicly about gay teen suicides, raising the issue during a Gay Pride Month speech at the State Department in June:

I think that each and every one of you not only professionally, particularly from State and USAID in every bureau and every embassy and every part of our government, have to do what you can to create that safe space, but also personally to really look for those who might need a helping hand, particularly young people, particularly teenagers who still, today, have such a difficult time and who still, in numbers far beyond what should ever happen, take their own lives rather than live that life. So I would ask you to please think of ways you can be there for everyone who is making this journey to defend not only human rights globally, but to truly defend themselves and their rights. The struggle for equality is never, ever finished. And it is rarely easy, despite how self-evident it should be.

A State Department spokesman did not return requests for comment on the video.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

By Ed O'Keefe  | October 20, 2010; 8:00 AM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments  
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Thanks Hil.

Posted by: grayjeremyj | October 20, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

On the one hand, I'm glad that she did it, because her importance as a public figure transcends her office, and she's put thousands of cracks in several different glass ceilings. But on the other hand, she seems a bit distant and not very warm; I feel like she's reading a text that she didn't write and didn't rehearse, and thus not really speaking from the heart and to the heart. There's a disconnect between content and presentation, in my view, that makes it seem like just another pro-forma campaign speech. I find much more sincerity and hope in the city councilman Joel Burn's "it gets better" speech. But still, it's good that she did it.

Posted by: flibbertiflab | October 21, 2010 6:31 AM | Report abuse

I published a blog this week about this issue (Bullying/LGBT) which maybe you'd find interesting:
Freely comment and share.


Posted by: diaghilev | October 21, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

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