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Gay Suicide Spate in America

Ilona Burton

The homophobes are out in force in America. Yesterday I came across the shocking story of a young and talented musician who took his own life after some thoughtless idiot posted a secret video of him embracing another man – there was, of course, also a background of mocking and abuse towards him, all due to his sexuality. I was stunned, then, to discover that this was not an isolated case and so have since read in horror, three more similar stories just this month alone. Seth Walsh, 13, Billy Lucas, 15, Asher Brown, 13 and Justin Aarberg, 15 have all been, some might say, bullied to death.

How can children be so cruel? We are looking at a pretty young age group here, but that is no excuse to not know right from wrong or to treat any human being with such hate and malice. That is, unless, they have been brought up with the understanding that it is wrong, sinful or disgusting to be gay – and that I can imagine must be the only explanation for such extreme and widespread anti-gay bullying. To be bad enough to back these poor souls into a corner from which the only way out they can see is to jump from a bridge, hang themselves from a tree in their grandparents back garden or to hold a gun to their head and pull the trigger, the bullying in all cases must have been intense, cutting and relentless. Hateful.

Acceptance seems to be something that not enough people can grasp despite so much being done to alleviate such narrowminded, pig-ignorant behaviour. With regards to America in particular, these deaths provoke questions about the entire country’s attitude towards gay people. I found that The federal Government of the United States does not recognise the marriages of same-sex couples and is prohibited from doing so by the Defense of Marriage Act. Nationwide, same-sex marriage is legal in three states as a result of a court ruling and in two others plus a district through a vote in their respective legislatures. In May, 2010 Gallup Poll found opponents of legalizing same-sex marriage outnumbered supporters in the United States, by 53% to 44%. But what use are polls that apparently illustrate a decrease in numbers opposing same sex marriage when there still such tragic stories in the news? Although the statistics could provide some explanation as to why public opinion is divided about the gay community and proof that over half of the states’ residents do not agree with same sex marriage, all these numbers are somewhat meaningless when it comes to the loss of young, innocent lives.

Something needs to be done to challenge whatever beliefs these people harbour, to eradicate discrimination and to stop this childish, disgraceful bullying. I only hope that anyone else in the same situation as those boys can reach out for help before it gets too late.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ben-Sutton/36807987 Ben Sutton

    It is actually 5 teens that have killed themselves in the last month. The musician you mentioned was Tyler Clementi aged 18.
    Furthermore, there is no federal law providing protection from employment discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation (the promised but not delivered ENDA), and the senate failed to pass a bill last week that would have allowed Gay service members to serve openly in the military.
    Many grassroots republican and Tea party organisations also viciously oppose any attempts to teach school children about anti-gay bullying on the grounds that it is part of the “homosexual agenda” to turn kids gay.

    A really positive step that is worth broadcasting is Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better Project”, where LGBT adults are posting videos on YouTube to encourage those struggling with bullying in school that life does in fact get better, and that it is entirely possible to have a happy life as an openly gay person.

  • Tell_it_straight

    There are 1500 gay teenage suicides in USA every year. I hold the entire society collectively responsible. That’s a frightful statistic.

  • orwhatuwill

    Being queer in the States is a very difficult thing. Between the national DOMA, national military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell(exactly what it sound like), and all of the local laws prohibiting LGBTQ marriage, acts, expression and the refusal of the national government and many state governments to define “Sexual Orientation” or “Gender Expression”…as protected classes…the fact is that, for the most part, gay marriage and other CIVIL RIGHTS items(protection laws) are made decided by LOCAL ELECTIONS(state and sometimes even city by city)-making the rejection so public and personal… sometimes, frankly, it doesn’t seem like our government and countrymen WANT us around…Make no mistake, there are people in the US that are HAPPY that (now) 6 young gay/queer men are dead. From private citizens to very public figures(google 50 cent and gay suicide-it made me sick). Its better than it was…but there is so much more that we need. we need help.

    thanks for posting about this, mate.

    -Anna from Maine, USA, New England(but went to UEA in Norwich for a bit)

  • orwhatuwill

    Being queer in the States is a very difficult thing. Between the national DOMA, national military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell(exactly what it sound like), and all of the local laws prohibiting LGBTQ marriage, acts, expression and the refusal of the national government and many state governments to define “Sexual Orientation” or “Gender Expression”…as protected classes…the fact is that, for the most part, gay marriage and other CIVIL RIGHTS items(protection laws) are made decided by LOCAL ELECTIONS(state and sometimes even city by city)-making the rejection so public and personal… sometimes, frankly, it doesn’t seem like our government and countrymen WANT us around…Make no mistake, there are people in the US that are HAPPY that (now) 6 young gay/queer men are dead. From private citizens to very public figures(google 50 cent and gay suicide-it made me sick). Its better than it was…but there is so much more that we need. we need help.

    thanks for posting about this, mate.

    -Anna from Maine, USA, New England(but went to UEA in Norwich for a bit)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ryan-Andrew/272900363 Ryan Andrew

    Another gay teenager from Florida, Raymond Chase, killed himself this week. Reasons still unclear, but it’s alleged his Mother had recently found out and disowned him. It really is just so awful.

    I have looked at the “It gets better” project on youtube, and I’m really impressed by the message. I hope it can provide some support to gay teenagers going through difficult times.


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