B.C. gay and lesbian Mounties featured in RCMP ‘It Gets Better’ video

Steve Mertl
National Affairs Contributor
Daily Brew

The RCMP has been getting a lot of flack lately, including in this space, on issues such the way they've handled sexual harassment within the force and in-custody injuries and deaths.

So when the Mounties do something truly praiseworthy, we ought to acknowledge that too.

I'm talking about an impressive video posted on YouTube as part of the It Gets Better project that aims to help young gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered men and women deal with the stresses and prejudices they face.

In what must have taken a lot of courage, several Mounties, flanked by a Canadian flag and the iconic red serge jacket and stetson hat, relate what it was like to come to terms with their sexual orientation.

The video, posted Monday on the RCMP's YouTube channel, had more than 13,000 views by Tuesday afternoon.

[ Related: It Gets Better, Cape Breton Health tells teens ]

As the Globe and Mail reported Tuesday, the officers provided often emotional accounts about when they realized their sexual orientation, episodes of bullying at school and the reactions of their families when they finally came out.

"When I told my mother I was leaving the priesthood because I was gay, she cried for three years straight," RCMP Cpl. Robert Ploughman says in the video.

Many battled stereotypes in their careers, the Globe noted.

"If you were gay you kind of had to be an artist, or a makeup artist or you worked retail," Const. Russel Olsen says in the video. "You kind of had a job that wasn't necessarily considered masculine."

Interestingly, the Mounties don't say anything in the video about how their fellow officers reacted to their sexual orientation.

Most said their families ultimately embraced their decision to come out.

"My dad just accepted me," one tearful officer said, adding that her father told her he always knew. "Before he died he said to me, he said, 'Kelly, I'm glad you are who you are.' It's hard but I'm glad he said it. He made me feel like it was OK to be me."

[ Related: Supporting gay rights is no longer taboo for Canadian politicians ]

The RCMP is the first large Canadian police force to submit a video to It Gets Better, joining the San Francisco and Austin, Texas PDs.

A post on the U.S. gay blog Homorazzi praised the RCMP video.

"Twenty RCMP officers and workers came together to share their stories in this video and I'm so blown away by how open and honest they all were," wrote a poster identified as Patrick.

Twitter also rained kudos on the video.

"Should Romney win, here's another reason to bring your family to Canada," said one tweet.

The It Gets Better projected was launched two years ago by U.S. syndicated columnist Dan Savage as grassroots campaign aimed at teenagers in reaction to a number of suicides linked to homophobic bullying.