WATCH: American Airlines says, ‘It Gets Better’

Posted on 09 Jun 2011 at 10:22am

Fort Worth-based American Airlines became the first airline to contribute to the It Gets Better Project by recording the above video through GLEAM, the company’s LGBT employee group. A full press release is after the jump.

AMERICAN AIRLINES SAYS “IT GETS BETTER”

First Airline and LGBT Employee Resource Group, GLEAM, to Join National Campaign for LGBT Youth at Risk

FORT WORTH, Texas – American Airlines, through the leadership of its longstanding lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employee group, GLEAM, today sent an eloquent message to youth everywhere that their lives matter and that their futures will be brighter. American Airlines is the first airline to take part in the far-reaching “It Gets Better” campaign (www.itgetsbetter.org) launched online last year.

An American Airlines seven-minute video message may be found online at: http://www.itgetsbetter.org/video/entry/dr7e1zhqukc/. It was created to answer the challenge made by the creators of “It Gets Better,” who observe that, “many LGBT youth can’t picture what their lives might be like as openly gay adults. They can’t imagine a future for themselves. So let’s show them what our lives are like, let’s show them what the future may hold in store for them.”

By launching their “It Gets Better” video this week, 13 American Airlines employees and managers stand up as examples of confident, openly LGBT adults or straight allies. The employees who decided to take part in this project bring unique stories, experiences and job perspectives throughout the airline, yet unite around the basic message that each of us is responsible for making our workplaces and communities respectful and caring for all.

Lauri Curtis, American’s Vice President – Diversity, Leadership and Engagement, endorsed the efforts by American’s employees. “The spirit behind this work embodies our philosophy that every individual is valued and respected. I take pride in the voluntary efforts by GLEAM as an example of how employee resource groups mirror how we do business as an airline too,” said Curtis.

Jeff Townsend, Chair of GLEAM, added, “GLEAM was the first American Airlines employee resource group formed over 16 years ago. By taking part in ‘It Gets Better,’ we are trying to mirror the best practices in our own workplace and to speak directly to young gay men and women to tell them that their lives matter to each of us.”

The personal message from American Airlines employees now joins thousands of other messages from ordinary individuals to the powerful and famous, including President Barack Obama, and celebrities like Anne Hathaway, Tom Hanks and Ellen Degeneres, popular sports teams such as the Boston Red Sox, plus the employees at Google, The Gap, Facebook and the Broadway community.

American Airlines will display the video, on a continuous loop, at its headquarters throughout June. In addition, photos and quotes of the participants now are on display in the corporate headquarters, along with a description of the “It Gets Better” project, as well as GLEAM’s banner and a traditional rainbow flag. The company is also sharing GLEAM’s message through its internal employee communications to reach its entire workforce.

Representative American Airlines participants also volunteer their thoughts:

“It’s tragic that so many LGBT kids feel unloved, rejected and alone because of who and what they are. If this helps save even one from hurting themselves, or just lets them know that they are ok and not alone, then it’s a success. I’m really proud that GLEAM and AA are telling our stories and showing our support.” – Todd Rice, GLEAM Communications Officer.

“As a straight ally, it was not only a privilege to be a part of the ‘It Gets Better’ video project but I considered it my responsibility as well. More straight people should stand up against the intolerance shown toward LGBT individuals. Here is a start.” – Michelle Simmons, straight ally.

“While I was very fortunate in my coming out process as a young adult, again and again I’ve seen saddening stories of gay men and women who struggle with acknowledging who they are against an unending wave of ignorance, hate and ridicule. We all hope to make a difference with our lives, and I will feel so rewarded if my contribution to GLEAM’s ‘It Gets Better’ video lifts the spirit of even a single person.” – Bobby Lewis, GLEAM member.

“If my words can make a difference to just one person so they don’t take their own life, then everything that I went through will be worth it.” – Beth Hotchko, GLEAM member.

For more information about American’s diversity efforts, visit www.aa.com/diversity and the employee section of the company’s corporate responsibility report in the About Us section of AA.com.

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