Homophobia kills. It kills. I don't know how else to say it. It kills. It kills. Homophobia kills.
Hate is killing young men and woman every day. Just this month alone the media reported 4 suicides because of anti-gay bullying.
Truth Wins Out reported:
- Seth Walsh, the Bakersfield, CA 13-year-old who hanged himself from a tree in his back yard after years of being bullied, died Tuesday afternoon after nine days on life support. Police investigators interviewed some of the young people who taunted Seth the day he hanged himself. "Several of the kids that we talked to broke down into tears," Police Chief Jeff Kermode said. "They had never expected an outcome such as this."
- Asher Brown, 13, an eighth-grader killed himself last week. He shot himself in the head after enduring what his mother and stepfather say was constant harassment from four other students at Hamilton Middle School in the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District in Houston Texas. Brown, his family said, was "bullied to death" -- picked on for his small size, his religion and because he did not wear designer clothes and shoes. Kids also accused him of being gay, some of them performing mock gay acts on him in his physical education class, his mother and stepfather said.
- Billy (William) Lucas, 15, a student at Greensburg Community High School in Greensburg, IN, was found dead in a barn at his grandmother's home Thursday evening -- he had hanged himself. Friends say that he had been tormented for years. "He was threatened to get beat up every day," friend and classmate Nick Hughes said. "Sometimes in classes, kids would act like they were going to punch him and stuff and push him. Some people at school called him names," Hughes said, saying most of those names questioned Lucas' sexual orientation.
On Wednesday Tyler Clementi took his life after his college roommate secretly broadcast webcam footage of Tyler making out with another young man without his knowledge. Tyler jumped off the George Washington Bridge in New York. He was an accomplished violinist, a son, and a young man with his entire life ahead of him.
What kind of society have we created that our children and teenagers think it is OK to torment their gay and lesbian peers to death? It is easy to point blame. From churches who preach that being gay is a sin, to a government that treats gays and lesbians and transgender people as second class citizens, to families who push their gay youth to the streets, to schools who refuse to stop bullying -- the list goes on as the list of the young dead grows longer.
I am tormented as I write this post because I know how deeply depressing it can be at that age. I was so afraid and sad and closeted that the simplest form of bullying could have sent me over the edge. I'm certainly grateful I survived. I have the love of my life sitting next to me now. I have a fulfilling career, supporting parents, and a network of friends that build me up. I would never want to give up my life as a gay man today. When I was a teenager, I could never have said that, but as Dan Savage and thousands of his fans have said on YouTube, "It Gets Better."
Sadly this message of hope did not reach them in time. I think of all the amazing gay, lesbian, and transgender people I know. Their lives are valuable and beautiful. Their contributions to humanity will last well beyond their natural lives. I could not imagine a world without them. What a loss that would be.
We have to save our youth now, so their light can burn on. Hate kills, but it doesn't have to if we were just brave enough as a society to hate once and for all.
But to reach an ideal that lofty we have to start somewhere. S. 3739, the Safe Schools Improvement Act is designed to end bullying in schools. It must pass now.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts there is help. The Trevor Project is there for you. Call 1-866-4-U-TREVOR.