Saturday, October 2, 2010

Tyler Clementi

The news covers again the tragic loss of life of another gay teenager who chose to take his own life. At 18, he was a promising music student, his friends spoke highly of him, a great person. But where are we as a society that a young man chooses to take his life because people have found out that he's gay?

Then there's the kids that we never hear about, who quietly take their lives without the fanfare of global news coverage. How many gay teenagers have watched the news this week and seen Tyler's plight and the choice he made? I imagine there are many thousands. I worry that they see this as perhaps their only way out of the humiliation they feel, the bullying they suffer at school and the fear they have about sharing with their family and loved ones that they're gay.

One of my favourite online gay columnists, Dan Savage was horrified at this story as with any story of a gay person taking their life. So, he and his husband put together a YouTube Channel called It Gets Better. He's invited others to contribute and share their stories about high school, the bullying and coming out to parents. The general consensus being that life really does get better when you leave high school.

Of the news coverage I read, from the US, Australia and Canada some of the most enlightened comments from readers came from Salt Lake City, Utah. Comments like:

"tribtalksense says: One of the people in my office has a great saying posted it states, "Never take a person's dignity. It means everything to them and has no worth to you." - Frank Barrow.  This despicable act, (by those taping it), demonstrates this."

"nungwa says: Self-loathing is a bitter and cruel thing. The shame and embarrassment Tyler must have felt had to be excruciating."

If you know any young people who are struggling with their sexuality, take a moment to send them an email with a link to It Gets Better and maybe share you're own story with them.

Click here for Australia News Coverage

Click here for Canadian News Coverage

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