Is gay suicide becoming some sort of trend? Regardless of your views on homosexuality, most people are familiar with one of the following names: Asher Brown, Tyler Clementi, and Seth Walsh. These young men are forever bound together by a tragic thread that has been all over headlines within the past few weeks. These young men were all victims of bullying; they were bullied for being gay. Each story is tragic and each story makes is more evident that gay suicide may be becoming a tragic and terrifying trend.
The suicide of Tyler Clementi, an 18 year old student at Rutgers University has really put a spotlight on teen bullying across the country. Tyler Clementi jumped off of the George Washington Bridge into the Hudson River a few days after he and another man had an intimate encounter. Clementi was completely unaware that his roommate, Dharun Ravi, and fellow classmate Molly Wei, were mentally disturbed and cruel enough to secretly film the encounter and then aired it onto the Internet, live.
Tyler Clementi is the fourth teenager within a three week period to commit suicide because of being bullied about their sexual orientation, whether it was for being, or even seeming, gay. Statistics show that suicide rates along with suicidal thoughts are far more common among teens that are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered. Experts however believe that it is the bullying that send these teens over the edge and therefore leads to this disturbing trend.
The case of Asher Brown, a 13-year old boy from Texas, was no less tragic. After being the victim of bullying, Asher shot himself in the head. Another 13-year old, Seth Walsh from Minnesota, was found in his backyard after hanging himself from a tree. 15-year old Billy Lucas from Indiana also killed himself. Each of these young men were reportedly victims of relentless bullying about their sexuality. The devastated parents of Tyler Clementi stated that they hope that the death of their son can bring out empathy, compassion and human dignity across our country.
According to research, harassment can have severe and devastating effects on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered kids in terms of their mental health and therefore their risk of suicide. According to Psychology Professor Michael LaSala from Rutgers University, we also need to acknowledge the fear that these children feel that is escalated because of being so determined to hide their issues from their parents.
Schools that have more of an openness about sexuality and offer a gay and lesbian curriculum and organizations seemed to experience less harassment and bullying when compared to schools that are more strict and close-minded.
Perhaps it would be a good idea for school administrators to start thinking about ways to support these groups by having support groups and also by educating the entire school about tolerance and anti-violence.
Bullying is becoming a very severe problem in our country. We all need to come together and stand up for each other against bullies. We need to stand up for each other’s children. There has been enough prejudice in this country over so many things. Now it is time that parents and teachers really start setting examples for children about being understanding and empathetic and tolerant. We do not all need to agree on everything. That will never happen, but we do not need to express our opinions and beliefs by making those who disagree with us feel small.
Woods, T. 2010. Young Gay Suicide is a Troubling Trend.