‘It Gets Better’ Tour in Des Moines This Week Empowering LGBTQ Youth
DES MOINES, Iowa — Members of the San Franciso Gay Men’s Chorus are in town this week for their “It Gets Better” tour. The tour’s goal is to remind the next generation of LGBTQ+ youth that hope is out there. Their talents go beyond the stage, engaging with the community all week long.
When Des Moines Performing Arts booked the group months in advance they had no idea how relevant it would be today. There are several bills in the Iowa statehouse right now that many consider anti-LGBTQ+ and directly involve transgender youth, and gender identity education in the classroom. The community said this show’s message couldn’t come at a better time.
“It’s going to be okay. You have more friends than you know.”
“You are exactly who you’re supposed to be.”
“You’re not alone.”
These are just some of the many messages that cast members are singing throughout Des Moines Public Schools this week.
Members of the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) in both Des Moines middle schools and high schools are sitting down and engaging with cast members of an artistic tour all week long.
“It does get better, but you don’t wait for it to get better, you make it better,” Mario Mosley, a cast member for the tour said. “So find that support system. Find those people in your family who are going to love and support you regardless, and the teachers, and the friends and stick to them. Run to the love.”
Listening to real-life stories and having an open dialogue about the culture in classrooms here in Iowa, the Des Moines Performing Arts felt this was a message that needed to be heard.
“I think it’s very important for us now more than ever to provide pathways of moving forward of positivity and hope. Young people are so often in their own world. They feel so singular and isolated, and if this helps one LGBTQ identifying student find their voice, find their path, find resources, this whole project is worth it,” Eric Olmscheid, the Director of Programming and Education for Des Moines Performing Arts said.
And it was worth it to the students who said they left the program feeling empowered.
“For so long I’ve just felt so alone and there’s just nothing I can do. I was just not accepted and just wanted to give up, like what’s the point. Then I come here and I have a family who will accept me for me and I don’t have to hide who I am. It means a lot,” McCombs Middle School 8th Grade Student, Keira Riggan said.
These classroom assemblies are just one of the many engagement activities the tour is conducting this week. It all culminates on Saturday night at the Des Moines Civic Center with their “It Gets Better” public performance. Local singers are getting involved, joining the cast on stage as a part of the community chorus.
Click here to purchase tickets and get more information for Saturday night’s performance.