Increase in gay teen suicides needs addressing
Published Oct 9, 2010 6:23 AM
The recent number of lesbian/gay/bi/trans teen suicides requires all our
concern. In recognition of this, community vigils are being carried out
throughout the country.
New York vigil, Oct. 3.
Photo: Janet Mayes
Rutgers University held a silent vigil the night of Oct. 3 for 18-year-old
Tyler Clementi, a first-year student and serious violinist, who jumped off the
George Washington Bridge after he and a male friend’s encounter in his
dorm room was secretly streamed online. Clementi’s death is but one in a
growing number of teen suicides.
Another vigil hosted by New York University LGBT organizations and Delta Lambda
Phi was held in Washington Square Park on Oct. 3 for Clementi, as well as for
Asher Brown (Texas), Seth Walsh (California), Billy Lucas (Indiana), Justin
Aaberg (Minnesota), Jaheem Herrera (Georgia), Eric Mohat (Ohio), Carl Hoover
(Massachusetts) and Raymond Chase (a student in Providence, Rhode Island).
Any young person who is being targeted or bullied should be directed to the New
York City LGBT Center’s Youth Enrichment Services (YES), a Safe Schools
Program which provides staff training to middle schools and high schools
throughout all five boroughs, New Jersey and Westchester County. This service
and others like it (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) recognize and
intervene when any student is the target of ignorance or hate.
Sexual identity issues need to be discussed openly in our schools. Several
state lawmakers are beginning to introduce legislation to strengthen their
state’s anti-bullying laws and create stiffer penalties for invasion of
Clementi’s family said in a statement, “Our hope is that our
family’s personal tragedy will serve as a call for compassion, empathy
and human dignity.”
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