Friday, 1 October 2010

Death, Bullying and Homophobia

A storm of outrage, shock and anger is sweeping through America. The issue of homophobic bullying and its impact upon young people has been brought forward in the nations consciousness following the death of a College freshman last week.

18 year-old Tyler Clementi (pictured right) was a student at Rutgers University who killed himself last week by throwing himself off a bridge. His suicide followed the screening over the web of a sexual encounter between himself and another male. A webcam had been hidden in his room by his room-mate and together with another freshman, the room-mate transmitted the footage on the net. Two Rutgers students have now been charged and the full story can be read here.

Ellen DeGeneres, the out Lesbian actress, chat-show presenter and gay-rights campaigner has posted an extraordinarily powerful message on the Internet and you can view it at the bottom of this post expressing her horror at these events and challenging America to face up to them, and do something to prevent other young people dieing through homophobic bullying.

Her message is simple. Our culture - for yes we can't pretend we exist in a separate European ideal world - through it's tolerance of fear and prejudice, through its projection of sexual intolerance, is killing people. Young people are dying and Tyler Clementi is just the latest high profile casualty.

We can't go on like this. Yet, for us here in Britain, the forthcoming cuts in public expenditure will undoubtedly result in cut-backs to charities and community groups that have a vital role in our communities to protect young people. These are groups that offer a lifeline to people like Tyler and help prevent their deaths. When you hear of cuts to gay groups - as you will - don't just dismiss them, think what this means for the Tyler Clementi's out there.

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Wolfman said...

What a needless death. I meet people all the time with various alternative lifestyles and i would never be so heartless as to publicly out them and set them up for unending ridicule like that. As Ellen stated, its hard enough being a teenager without having to worry about the rest of the BS this guy had to endure. I too have an alternative lifestyle, and i sympathize. We may be different, but we are all human.

Law & Sexuality said...

Well said Wolfman. Thanks for your comment.

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