Five suicide deaths by students bullied because of being GLBT or Q is a tragedy — each life lost was important and significant.
Each life matters to their mother and father, family and friends. Each person had hopes and dreams of a life of love and acceptance. Each child deserves to feel safe at any school.
I know teachers and staff that work hard to help in Madison schools, as I saw recently with a transgender child in elementary school.
But more needs to be done. Each and every student deserves to attend safe and welcoming schools, even in rural or more conservative towns. They deserve to have us speak up when homophobia or bigotry occurs — whether it is seemingly innocent or blatantly malicious.
No matter your religious viewpoint about sexual orientation or gender identity – each of us in this nation should come together to agree on this fact: Kids committing suicide is tragic and should not happen.
Eugene Cho, a pastor that I know via his blog, wrote this today:
When the issue of GLBTQ come up, it’s easier to keep the conversation about theological and biblical interpretations and well, the issue of the subject in hand but in the meanwhile, we forget there’s people behind the issues.
There’s always people behind the issues. But regardless of interpretations and views, we should all agree: This needs to stop. But when we are silent, we are complicit.
I implore each person reading this to speak up about this horrendous tragedy. Express how wrong it is that kids are resorting to suicide.
There is no wrong way to humbly listen and learn from a GLBTQ friend. Listen to them and hear their story. See them. They could be, may be, your brother, sister, child, parent, aunt, uncle or friend who is sitting silent and afraid. Make it safe for people to be with you. And remember these young men:
- Raymond Chase was 19, an openly gay sophomore studying culinary arts at Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island. He killed himself Wednesday after a fellow student in his dorm wrote, “You are gay, get out of Barlow [Hall] before you regret it” on his dry erase board.
- 18-year-old Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi threw himself off of the George Washington Bridge on Sept. 22, after his roommate had broadcast secret video footage of his sexual encounter with another man over the Internet.
- On Sept. 23, Asher Brown, 13, shot himself in the head at his parent’s home in Cypress, Texas.
- On Sept. 19 in Tehachapi, Calif., 13-year-old Seth Walsh hanged himself from a tree and died Tuesday after nine days of life support.
- 15-year-old Billy Lucas of Greensburg, Ind., also took his own life earlier in the month.
My heart is heavy tonight.
GLBTQ issues In the News: http://www.glaad.org/bestandworst
- Homophobia & suicide: A wake up call for parents and educators (psychologytoday.com)
- Gay 13-Year-Old, Bullied to Death in California (gayrights.change.org)
- LGBT Community Mourns String of Suicides (chicagoist.com)
- Tonight: National Moment of Silence for the 5 Youth who Recently Died by Suicide (prnewswire.com)
- Bullying, Harassment of Gay/Lesbian Teens: Expert Q&A (webmd.com)