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Watch LGBT Firefighters Share Their Stories in FDNY’s ‘It Gets Better’ Video

2 minute read

The FDNY has a message for LGBT youth: it gets better.

New York City firefighters filmed a nearly 8-minute PSA for the It Gets Better Project, and released it on Sunday, for National Coming Out Day. The video features 12 FDNY firefighters, paramedics and EMTs who identify as LGBT, describing everything from their difficulties in coming out to their pride in being emergency responders.

“This deep secret, this dark secret, that I was afraid of, that I didn’t want to be me,” firefighter Luke Allen said in the video.

Brooke Guinan, a transgender firefighter, also shared her struggles.

“I wanted to be just like everyone else,” she said. “I wanted to fit in, I wanted to be accepted, I wanted to be loved.”

The It Gets Better Project was started by sex columnist and LGBT activist Dan Savage in response to a wave of suicides of young people in 2010. Since then, it’s become a platform against bullying and promotes LGBT rights.

“As Firefighters, Paramedics and EMTs in the most diverse city in the world,” New York City Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said in a press release, FDNY members have the tremendous opportunity to inspire young people through their brave work every single day.”

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Write to Tanya Basu at tanya.basu@time.com