Help Reduce Teen Suicide: The Case of Tyler Clementi

In Current Events on October 13, 2010 at 17:28

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
(856) 225-1766

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

Tex Shelters

  1. With the general level of what Homo sapiens has wrought with wars, hatred, ignorance, greed, cruelty, savagery, egotism, bigotry, dishonesty, hypocrisy, one more horror is a surprise?

    Yes, expel those two fuckers. Do you mean that they’re still enrolled? What the fuck. Are our universities now as dumb as the general population?

    Tex, we’re so fucked.

    I’m in PFlag. Also HRC (the one with the yellow = logo). I’ll follow your links.

    I’m disgusted with Homo sapiens. No more shocks possible.

  2. Overall, a person gets to thinking it’s easier now for gays and lesbians to come out and accept their sexuality. Then something like this comes along and it makes you realize just how hard it really must be. Add to it the ever present movie-taking phone device and callous movie takers and you have the tragedy you have described. Thanks for writing.

  3. Im going to have to take the low road on this one tex. A few of my friends killed themselves because they got picked on and another one hung himself in the basement because he was mad at his mom. I never blamed the kids mom and I never blamed the bullies. Lifes tough. Suck that shit up and move along. Now were going to prosecute bullies? Gee maybe we can prosecute the people at the bar who were mean to me, or how bout that drill Sargent who called me names. BOO HOO. Everybodys life is tough mine included deal with it.

    • Chris,

      So you don’t mind people spying on you and filming you and posting your private sexual moments all over the internet, moments that much of America will look down on? If you don’t mind, you are in the minority here. The point of this wasn’t that we should prosecute bullies, but that these students broke the law when filming a private encounter and posting it.

      And pushing, shoving, threatening are also illegal activities. Should we just ignore the laws now? You like what happened at Columbine, do you? It was a result of ignoring the bullying of some troubled teens. Is it all the fault of of the bullies? No. But they are part of the problem and ignoring it can lead to tragedies. I would rather address this.

      Tex Shelters

      • Columbine didnt happen because of bulling tex. It happened because society is going down the toilet. If I do something wrong then blame bullying is it me who did something bad or am I just a poor victim of circumstance. If we shouldnt post videos of people doing things that are unacceptable then how will we hold anyone accountable? If a congress man is having sexy time with a hooker should we not post it to avoid hurting his feelings?

        Oh and this society runs on violence. Do you vote? Then you also participate in violence. The gov by definition is violence to achieve political goals. If you dont believe that stop paying your taxes and find out.

        People are killing themselves in record numbers, so much so that they stopped publishing the suicide rates. Failed ideologies, failed economic system, failed education. Society is way out of control. So lets not go on which hunts of who done it until we address the core underling issues. And I guarantee you bullying is not one of them.

        • Chris,

          Actually, bullying has been cited as one of the cause of the Columbine shootings. http://www.alternet.org/media/24801

          Also refer to Michael Moores movie on the subject. Society is going down the toilet, and acceptance of bullying is one the symptons.

          You are comparing illegal sex with a hooker to a consensual sexual encounter between men. That’s pathetic. I am talking about a private sex act. Apperantly, you won’t mind your private acts being posted on the internet.

          This is not about voting. It’s about homophobia and privacy. Society is out of control? Bullying is one of those things. But I guess being on others, threatening and name calling is okay with you.

          How about the murder of gay men, is that okay with you? Mathew Sheppard? Recent rapes and murders in New York. That is what homophobia leads to. Bullying is a cause of many ills in schools. This blog is NOT about the whole society and all our problems. I await your blog to solve all the worlds major problems Chris.

          Tex Shelters

          • My blog to solve the worlds problems.

            laws dont stop crime. Lets not pretend they do.

            Its a hard knock life. Lets accept it.

            Other people do not have your best interests in mind.

            Even if you elect them on the pretense that they do.
            Its not contractual.

            Problems solved.


            Why didnt people get shot in the 70s when they found little kids and spanked the shit out of them with wooden paddles. Bullying just didnt start 10 years ago did it?

            Well school yard shooting have.

            So if your and micheal moores theory is correct school shootings should be fairly constant since the invention of guns. (since bullying has been around since the caveman days)

            I will be waiting for an apology or correction.

  4. I think the majority of teens and young adults are insane, it’s kind of a prerequisite. Like I was when I was a teen sitting on my bed with the shotgun barrel in my mouth and my toe on the trigger because I was so lonely, couldn’t get a girlfriend, etc. I think there ought to be adult supervision in schools, with a zero tolerance for bullying, but I also think kids should be taught over and over and over ad nasuem, to stop giving a rat’s ass what anyone else’s opinion of them is.

    • Temy,

      “I also think kids should be taught over and over and over ad nasuem, to stop giving a rat’s ass what anyone else’s opinion of them is.”

      I can’t agree more with you. When I stop giving a damn, school became fun again.

      And zero tolerance for bullying is one start.

      Tex Shelters

  5. Help Reduce Teen Suicide: The Case of Tyler Clementi « The Daily ……

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

  6. Thanks for being such a staunch and thoughtful ally, Tex.

    It has been nice to see more people speaking out against homophobia in recent times, but I have to say, I wish people would stop using minimizing terms like “bullying”. Not that bullying isn’t an ugly enough phenomenon all by itself. But, in this case, “bullying” is really an extremely inaccurate term to apply to the rising tide of anti-LGBTQ violence which increasingly includes severe physical violence, stalking, sexual assault, and a level of mental/ emotional terrorization that most simply do not/ cannot envision when they hear the word, “bullying”.

    Violence? Many may say they hadn’t heard about the vast increases in violence against LGBTQ folks in recent years, especially against our children. No, you probably haven’t. Why? Most cases are still not reported. And if they are, not reported as the hate crimes that they are. Why? Because in many many many parts of this nation, if victims of such crimes reported what has happened to them, they are extremely likely to be even further victimized by the systems which should be there to help them.

    Because I am a lesbian who volunteers in a variety of capacities and because I work with kids, I directly witness the rising tide of blood on a regular basis. My counterparts across the nation report a similar increase.

    To the homophobes and their silent co-conspirators who might pass by here:

    I hold each and every homophobic adult directly accountable for the rising tide of anti-LGBTQ violence I witness regularly in my work. I also hold every politician who panders to homophobes directly accountable and every citizen who stands by and says nothing when the homophobes spew their venom. All of you have blood on your hands just as surely as if you wielded the fists, the chains, the bats, the plungers… All of you. Yes, YOU.

    I wish I could force each and every one of you to look into the eyes of just ONE of the kids I’ve tended to in recent years after they were beaten (and worse) for being LGBTQ or looking to some confused, hate-lost thug like they MIGHT be LGBTQ. I doubt this would phase the truly empathy-impaired sociopaths among you, but perhaps those with still a shred of humanity left might reconsider the venom you spew and/ or ABET with your silence.

    If you are going to promote violence, if you are going to take part in the deaths of other people, particularly the deaths of children, you really need to start taking responsibility for the very direct, real, and bloody results of YOUR actions and inactions.

    Do not try to pretend you are not promoting violence when you say, “Well, I don’t have anything against gays, I just don’t think they should be able to marry or have equal job protections or have equal housing protections, or….” YOU are indeed promoting violence. Own it. Stand up and stay, “I promote and support violence against LGBTQ people. I promote and support violence against children.”

    Own it. Or stand up and do your part to STOP it.

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