Recent reports of teen suicide have focused on five recent Gay and Lesbian suicides and the causes of these deaths. (link)
The best known is the death of Tyler Clementi, a freshman at Rutgers, who jumped off the George Washington Bridge to his death suicide after being filmed making out (having sex?) with another male adult and the video posting online by fellow students Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei. (link)
Why did these two Rutgers students record and post the video? Do they have something against Gays and wanted to expose them? Did they have something against Tyler and they wanted to get him? Or are they just young and idiotically saw this as just a prank? They are charged with various counts of invasion of privacy. If convicted, they face up to five years in prison.
Before he killed himself, Tyler posted an angst-ridden note on Facebook.
An ABC news clip mentions Dan Savage’s website promoting Gay and Lesbian (and Transgender) self awareness and health as being, “itgetsbetter.com”. The real address is http://www.itgetsbetterproject.com/
Spread the word of hope in a homophobic world. Upload and share your own video.
Or check out Savage’s YouTube channel. http://www.youtube.com/user/itgetsbetterproject
The parents of Mr. Clementi called for the arrest and prosecution of Ravi and Wei for inciting the suicide. While they might have been the catalysts for the suicide, society as a whole bares much of the blame for this tragedy. (link)
Would Tyler Clementi felt so much shame over a sexual encounter, apparently they were just making out in the video, had our society not been so homophobic and hateful toward gay relationships? How many politicians who are openly gay are there in America as opposed to the number who rail on about Gay marriage and “special rights”? Now that Republican Jim Kolbe has left the House, we have Bernie Sanders, who’s also an independent, and the new Mayor of Portland, Sam Adams. Perhaps their are others?
What is it like to live in a society that does its best to prevent you from marrying, going to a prom, holding hands in public, telling you to not be so Gay and that it’s not okay? I hear the stories second hand from my friends, Gay and Lesbian, what a struggle it is. I have heard stories of sons who were kicked out of home for being gay, were beaten at home and in the streets, and sent to Gay conversion camps to stop being gay, as if it was some sort of mental or moral disease. I have heard the same from Lesbians with the added threats, or perpetration of, sexual abuse against them. While that happens to Gay males, it is more frequent outside the home.
If families, who are supposed to be a font of unconditional love, abuse their Gay and Lesbian children in such cruel ways, what can these children expect from society? Certainly, I have also heard stories of mothers and fathers who supported their children unconditionally. Non-abusive responses to the news of a Gay child range from, “Are you sure?” to “We know; it doesn’t matter.” Bless those families; may there be more.
The teen years are a time in life when one is facing their changing bodies, the challenges of impending adulthood, social relations and dating, sexuality, and academic loads that get larger every year. On top of that, Gay and Lesbian teens face being an outcast amongst their peers as a Gay member of society. This can cause conflict even in the most stable households with the most understanding parents. It can cause depression and angst to a higher degree than even a non-homosexual teen has. (pdf based paper on these issues)
Write Rutgers and tell them to expel Wei and Ravi (yes, as of this writing they haven’t been expelled):
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Camden, NJ 08102
Here’s the part of the message I sent them that might hit home:
“New Jersey students and others should stay away from universities such as yours who
don’t protect the privacy of its students.”
Join the Facebook page for the expulsion of Wei and Ravi
Sign an anti-bullying (against the LBGT community and in general) petition that is going to Senate Democrats.
Read more about teen suicide in general—it’s a decent site with lots of resources although I couldn’t verify the funders. Their information comes from health organizations, both governmental and foundation bases. And their list of links is a good primer. One caveat—it’s no replacement for therapy and an understanding parent. http://www.teensuicide.us/
Contact Wingspan in Tucson Arizona, donate or volunteer. http://www.wingspan.org/
They have many resources here, for the Tucson LGBT community and the nation. Read about their anti-violence project: http://www.wingspan.org/content/WAVP.php
Join PFlag (Parents and Friends of Gays and Lesbians
Read one paper about “Resiliance” for Gay and Lesbian teens