It Gets Better

SAN FRANCISCO (July 24, 2012) – San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center created a video with inspiring messages of support to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth who may be struggling with rejection, bullying or even thoughts of suicide.

The video is part of the national It Gets Better Project that began in 2010 in response to several teen suicides related to bullying. Thousands of videos from celebrities, politicians, organizations and others help LGBT youth see the potential to have happy, successful lives despite the problems they may be facing today. San Francisco General is the first hospital in the Bay Area to participate with its own video.

The video will debut Tuesday, July 24th at 1pm in the hospital’s Wellness Center featuring stories from five staff members who once struggled with coming out to family, bullying, thoughts of suicide and failed attempts at conversion therapy. Dozens more staff members join in a chorus of supportive messages that working through life’s challenges pays off.

“We regularly see teens who have been harmed simply because of who they are, so it was important to send a message that San Francisco General is a safe place where LGBT people will receive quality health care with compassion and respect,” said Kathryn Fowler, nurse manager in the emergency room, who initiated the video project at the hospital.

San Francisco General was recently recognized for its LGBT-supportive policies by the Human Rights Campaign’s 2012 Health Care Equality Index. Patients and employees are protected from discrimination, same-sex couples and parents have equal visitation rights and staff are trained on LGBT patient-centered care.

Sue Currin, CEO kicks off the video with her call out to LGBT young people. “Our mission is to provide quality health care and trauma services with compassion and respect to all patients, including the most vulnerable,” she said. “We were pioneers in providing health care to the gay community during the early years of the AIDS epidemic, and that culture of respect for diversity carries on today for our patients and staff,”

One psychologist, Lee Rawitscher discusses how he went through conversion therapy four times a week for two years, but found that coming out as gay was the turning point in his life. He is now happily married to his husband of 12 years and has two children. A transgender man, Nate Sharon, discusses how he experienced rejection and homelessness, but went on to complete medical school, foster a supportive community and develop a positive relationship with his family.

San Francisco General is one of only a few hospitals to create an ‘It Gets Better’ video, and the first in the Bay Area. The hospital is committed to an environment of support for LGBT patients and staff members. As one emergency room nurse, Kris Mizutani, recalls her positive coming out experience, she adds, “it continues today, that my work place supports me in being gay and in being queer.”

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