By Annie Hollenbeck
Originally published on Advocate.com July 19 2014 5:12 AM ET
It Gets Better.
It’s a widely unchallenged mantra of the gay community — a reassurance to young (or not so young) closeted members of the LGBTQ community emphasizing that while coming out isn’t always easy, there truly is no greater gift than the feeling of personal honesty.
Brooklyn Nets center Jason Collins risked his entire career to come out publicly just a little over a year ago. The NBA veteran became the first active male athlete from one of the four major North American professional team sports to come out publicly following the 2012-2013 NBA Season. Former Grand Slam Martina Navratilova called the announcement a “game-changer.”
It’s been more than a year since Collins came out publicly, and since then, the world has seen a number of public personal outings by major professional athletes. Most notably, Michael Sam, who came out prior to the NFL Draft, was drafted and subsequently signed by the St. Louis Rams. Now, Collins joins a handful of openly LGBT celebrities, including Jane Lynch, Laverne Cox and George Takei, in a new series sharing their personal stories.
This Sunday, the Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival will screen the series, appropriately titled, “It Got Better” at the Directors’ Guild of America. Following the screening, a panel of LGBT celebrities and activists will engage in a lively discussion about the state of the LGBT community in America, and featured among them will be Takei and Jason Collins himself. More than just an affirmation of a more fulfilling life out of the closet, the panelists will delve deeper into reflection about how it got better and where to go from here.
The panel will be July 20 at 3:30 p.m., and tickets are still available.