- September 9th: Billy Lucas, 15, in Indiana, killled himself over anti-gay bullying.
- September 13th: Cody Barker, 17, in Wisconsin, killed himself over anti-gay bullying.
- September 18th: Seth Walsh, 13, in California, hanged himself over to anti-gay bullying, then spent ten days on life support before being pronounced dead on September 28th.
- September 23rd: Asher Brown, 13, in Houston, TX, killed himself over to anti-gay bullying.
- September 29th: Tyler Clementi, 18, of Ridgewood, NJ is presumed dead after jumping from the George Washington Bridge after being humiliated online for his sexual orientation.
That’s five. Five people, five boys, who could have grown up to be part of our world, part of our community, part of gay activism, or who could have, at the very least, grown up. Five boys since school started less than a month ago.
This isn’t new, of course. That’s On July 9th, Justin Aaberg, 15, in Minnesota killed himself over to anti-gay bullying. His mom is attempting some activism in dealing with her grief, but clearly we need more.
Whatever we’ve been doing isn’t working well enough yet, because this keeps happening.
I don’t really know what to say about it, I’m just moved by these stories rolling in, and Kristen, a former middle school teacher, has been upset about it all day, and we’ve been thinking.
Here’s some resources I found, places working on specifically this issue.. If you’ve got money to throw their way, and if you’re moved and shocked and outraged and sad like I am, I’m sure they would not mind your support.
- I’m From Driftwood: true stories by gay people from all over
- The Trevor Project: help prevent teen suicide by promoting mental health and positive self-esteem. Nationwide 24/7 online chat or phone hotline 866-488-7386 for gay youth.
- The brilliant book, Hello, Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks, and Other Outlaws by Kate Bornstein (aka Auntie Kate). Read it, if you haven’t. Give it to a teacher you know. Send it to your high school’s librarian. Put it in the hands of those who need it. See also hellocruelworld.net and #stayalive.
- Dan Savage and his partner Terry have launched the It Gets Better project, which is a fancy way to say they have a YouTube channel asking for video submissions to gay youth telling them that it gets better. I know things don’t just magically “get better,” and that there are many, many factors keeping people oppressed, but it is so important that kids hear that life goes on, gets better, changes, that there is support out there for us. Below is Dan & Terry’s kickoff video.
What else? What can we do? What are you doing?