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LGBTI members of the New York City Fire Department have produced an inspiring It Gets Better video to deliver an important message to LGBTI youth around the world.

The video features a number of LGBTI firefighters, paramedics and others, talking about the challenges and issues they have faced, both before and after coming out.

The It Gets Better Project was founded in 2010 by Dan Savage and Terry Miller in response to the high rates of LGBTI teen suicides. The project utilises all forms of media to engagement with and reach LGBTI youth around the world to provide vital support and promote one clear message … that life does get better.


Commissioner Daniel Nigro believes that the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) has a great opportunity to spread the It Gets Better message.

“As firefighters, paramedics and EMTs in the most diverse city in the world, FDNY members have the tremendous opportunity to inspire young people through their brave work every single day,” Commissioner Nigro said.


The inspiring video has enabled members of the FDNY to talk about their professional experiences as members of the LGBTI community.

Paramedic Samantha Wilding explains “What people care about here is whether you can do your job, and whether you can apply yourself and be about giving yourself to other people”

Paramedic Samantha Wilding
Paramedic, Samantha Wilding (left) with work colleague, Louanne

“Being able to embrace who you are and say ‘this is me, I’m not changing for anyone, I love who I am,’ is such a powerful, empowering experience,” Lt Victor Berrios said.

“I was so uncomfortable for my first six months in the job, thinking that I had to maintain this façade and then one day someone just looked at me and went, ‘What are you doing?’”

Lt Victor Berrios
Lt Victor Berrios

Other members open up about times when they have contemplated suicide, as a result of the pressures and fears they faced before coming out.

Ann Kansfield explained “I remember very clearly not seeing a future for myself, or at least a future that involved happiness or peace.”

“Had I ended it I would have missed so many wonderful things in my life.”

Kansfield adds “If I can give a message to myself when I was a teen, it would be don’t give up on who you are.”

Last Updated on Oct 13, 2015

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