Vt website a hit with gay youthBy Kevin O’Connor
STAFF WRITER | November 29,2012The website is called WorstThingAboutComingOut.com. Students and faculty at Vermont’s Champlain College have created it with the best of intentions.
Supporters of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth made news two years ago when they responded to a rash of suicides by posting Internet videos with the message “It Gets Better.”
What happens until then? Log onto WorstThingAboutComingOut.com and you’ll see and hear a growing group of people with Vermont connections sharing the challenges of discovering their personal identities.
“We’re trying to bring comfort to those who are struggling inside,” says Champlain film student Sam Buford, “and to show others what it feels like so they can become more understanding and supportive.”
Champlain is a small college often overshadowed by its Burlington neighbor, the University of Vermont. But the website, promoted through the project’s Facebook and Twitter pages, boasts viewers from every continent.
Assistant professor Robert Schmidt Barracano, directing a crew of about a dozen students, offers the project both expertise and exposure. The professional filmmaker shared the online effort with friend Eliza Dushku, an actress on such shows as “The Big Bang Theory” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” She, in turn, tweeted about the site, driving up use to as many as 30,000 hits a day.
Seeking to expand further, supporters have spliced the website’s interviews into an hour documentary they’ll test screen on campus today at 7 p.m. They’re also seeking more first-person stories.
“We get emails all the time from people saying the website has helped them,” says Buford, a junior filmmaking major. “We want to grow and help as many people as possible.”
One of the best ways to do that, creators believe, starts with their site’s “Worst” name.
“The title was selected to attract folks who are frightened and searching the Internet for the very worst things that will happen to them if they come out,” says Barracano, a teacher in the college’s Division of Communication and Creative Media. “The title was created to save them from fear.”
As one participant confides in a video: “It took a lot of courage to have the 20 seconds of bravery to start talking.”
But by doing so, hundreds upon thousands are beginning to listen.
kevin.oconnor @rutlandherald.comMORE IN Vermont NewsCOLCHESTER — The Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival opened Sunday with one of the most... Full Story
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE:Chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing that pollute ground water and the air we breathe come under scrutiny by researchers who find at least eight fracking chemicals toxic to mammals.
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: The craze for Omega-3 fatty acids as a dietary supplement in its most popular form, fish oil, has led to depletion of fish stocks in oceans throughout the world. Is this the beginning of the total collapse of global fisheries?
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Suspects arrested in Killington bear death, Bryanna Allen and Kevin O'Connor report along the Back to School front, Rutland Plywood site remains an active fire scene as debris continues to smolder.
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: Forests around Chernobyl, even though dead from massive irradiation after nuclear accident 30 years ago, still have not even begun to decompose, natural balance disrupted at microbial level.
- Dogs have their day at White's Pool
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: In 1609, Galileo demonstrates his telescope to Venetian lawmakers; during the same year, the Spanish Inquisition begins Basque witch trials, Henry Hudson sets sail from Amsterdam to North America, Shakespeare's sonnets published.