The nine young men listed below are members of a tragic fraternity. They were all tormented, teased and/or bullied for being gay.
They all killed themselves— most of them just after a particularly bad bout of teasing or social humiliation.
All nine boys ended their lives during the month of September 2010.
Billy Lucas (15) September 9, 2010. Indiana
Cody J. Barker (17) September 13, 2010. Wisconsin
Seth Walsh (13) September 19, 2010. California
Tyler Clementi (18) September 22, 2010. New Jersey
Asher Brown (13) September 23, 2010. Texas
Harrison Chase Brown (15) September, 25 2010. Colorado
Raymond Chase (19) September 29, 2010. Rhode Island
Felix Sacco (17) September 29, 2010. Massachusetts
Caleb Nolt (14) September 30, 2010. Indiana
As Time Magazine reported last week:
According to a study from Penn State University, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and “queer” youth (a catch-all term for gender and sexually non-normative people) are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers. Of all American teens who die by their own hand, 30% are LGBTQ.
This newest heartbreaking and alarming rash of suicides is prompting conversations about what can be done to help young men and women, like the above 9, before things turn tragic.
Programs and events are also springing up to address the issue. In the last few days, MTV has done interviews on the topic with young stars like Daniel Radcliff (of Harry Potter fame), who has been involved in something called The Trevor Project, a 24-hour hotline for LGBTQ kids who need help or are hurting.
This past Sunday at Emerson College in Boston, 800 students gathered for what they called a Love Is Louder rally.
Writer Dan Savage launched the “It Gets Better” project on YouTube, where he invited gay adults to tell kids about how much better their lives got after they graduated from high school.
In LA on Tuesday night, a candlelight vigil is being held from 7 – 8 pm in West Hollywood at the West Hollywood Park, 647 N San Vicente Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069
Each of us, however, can participate by doing whatever it takes to make sure that, in our individual circles, the voices of love, caring and acceptance speak much louder to our children than the voices of bigotry.
It would be nice if our lawmakers found the moral courage to do the same.