Tyler Clementi (AFP/Getty Images)
On September 22nd, after being outed as being gay on the internet by his university roommate, 18-year old Tyler Clementi killed himself by jumping off the George Washington Bridge. And what’s even more horrifying, he was the 4th gay teenage boy who took his own life in the past few weeks. The others all bullied by kids at school for being gay, were 13 year-old Seth Walsh, of Bakersfield California, 13-year-old Asher Brown of Houston, Texas, and 15-year-old Billy Lucas of Greensburg, Indiana.
My sincere condolences to the parents of those boys.
Ellen Degeneris said, “One life lost in this senseless way is tragic, four lives lost is a crisis.”
We have to put a stop to the bullying. Did you know that even straight kids are being bullied, because someone started a rumor that they are gay?
In her blog Life is Not a Reality Show (and death is forever), Betty Londergan wrote,
The statistics are searing – gay teens are four times more likely to commit suicide, and 9 out of 10 report being harassed.
What’s going on in our school yards? In our classrooms? When boys aged thirteen and fifteen die, because they were bullied into taking their lives, I want to know, “Where were the teachers? Why can’t they stop it?“, especially as there is nothing– NOTHING — wrong with being gay.
Thanks to Betty, I can pass on the information that there is an around-the-clock crisis-and-suicide prevention helpline in the United States for LGBTQ youth (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth) called The Trevor Project.
The Trevor Lifeline # is 1.866.488.7386 (1.866 4-U-TREVOR)
On March 26, 1985, PBS Frontline broadcast A CLASS DIVIDED,
Third grade teacher Jane Elliot tells her class: Blue-eyed people are smarter than brown-eyed people. They are cleaner than brown-eyed people. They are more civilized than brown-eyed people.
JOHN: Russell called me names and I hit him…
JANE ELLIOTT: What did he call you?
JOHN: Brown eyes.
NARRATOR: Tonight on FRONTLINE…the story of one teacher…her lesson…and what happened to A CLASS DIVIDED.”
It’s too long to include the transcript here. I hope you’ll read it.
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