Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Asher Brown’s “Death By Bullies” Sparks Investigations, Demonstration

Asher Brown, Fox News 26 photo

Houston, Texas – Pressure is mounting for a fuller investigation into the reasons for the suicide of Asher Brown. After hundreds of mourners and supporters gathered on Saturday outside Moore Elementary School to pay tribute to Asher and support his family, Harris County prosecutors are investigating to learn all they can about the role school bullying played in the 13-year-old gay boy’s suicide at his home on September 13. On October 4, CBS and AP reported the release of a new study establishing that anti-gay bullying is a major contributing factor to LGBTQ depression and suicide. According to the report of the Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State University, the mental health of LGBTQ youth is deeply impacted in many negative ways by the harassment and bullying they receive in school. “Our research makes it crystal clear that anti-LGBT bullying is a major reason that youth who don’t conform to gender rules or expectations have poorer mental health later in life,” study co-author Stephen T. Russell, a consultant with the Project, said in a press release. Asher Brown’s death has also sparked pressure on school boards and administrations to do more to make school experiences safer for children and youth. A demonstration is planned for Tuesday, October 5, outside Hamilton Middle School in Houston where Asher was a student to highlight the need for safe schools and for zero-tolerance of anti-LGBTQ discrimination and bullying because of the real or perceived sexual orientations and gender identities of teenagers. One of new initiatives calls for the passage of a law being called “Asher’s Rule” in memory of the gentle, small, and much-tormented gay youth who no longer could endure the hell he faced at school. The Facebook notice announcing the demonstration and vigil for safer schools in memory of Asher includes this appeal to the public: “Please join us to help educate the schools, the school district, the parents, the students to help make schools a safer place for kids. We all collectively hope and dream for Asher and all kids who are/were bullied…. that the world becomes a better place with what they would have hoped and dreamed it would be. We need more sensitivity and compassion… not bullying and meanness in this world. Please find ways to get kids help. We need these special kids to grow to adults.”

October 4, 2010 Posted by | Anglo Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, Asian Americans, Bullying in schools, gay teens, gun violence, harassment, Hate Crime Statistics, Hate Crimes, hate crimes prevention, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, Legislation, LGBT teen suicide prevention, LGBTQ suicide, Protests and Demonstrations, Social Justice Advocacy, Texas | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Asher Brown’s “Death By Bullies” Sparks Investigations, Demonstration

Murdered NJ Transwoman Disrespected Even in Death

Maplewood, NJ – A 28-year-old transwoman who worked as a model was shot to death at a private residence in Maplewood, New Jersey on September 12.  Victoria Carmen White, 28, was beautiful, talented, and greatly beloved by her friends.  The transgender community and their allies are up in arms at the news of her murder, which is still under investigation, because initial reports by authorities and news media mis-identifed her by her birth identity as a male.  Only after an outcry from the public was Ms. White’s identity corrected by the Maplewood Police and the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.  This statement was released to the press: “Following an examination by the Medical Examiner and further investigation, it has been confirmed that the victim was a post-operative transgender female having undergone sex reassignment surgery.” Calling the act of mis-identification an act of gross disrespect and “erasure,” the trans community is launching an effort to educate both straight and gay communities about the demands of human dignity transpeople need and deserve in today’s world. As Bird of Paradox wrote following the act of mis-identifying Ms. White as male: “That a society has such contempt for transsexual women that the first thing it does after we die is attempt to impose on us an identity which isn’t even legally ours, let alone one in which we lived, speaks volumes about the depth and intensity of insensitivity and downright hatred which we face each and every day of our lives.” The facts of the case are few.  Ms. White was shot at approximately 5 a.m. on the morning of September 12 at an apartment complex located at 159 Jacoby Street in Maplewood, an upscale city of 22,000 named as “one of the most desirable places to live in America.”  Incomes are generally high, and numbers of people living in poverty in Maplewood are low.  The city is picturesque enough to be the setting for several recent films, such as Garden State, One True Thing, and Stepmom. Columbia High School, where Ms. White attended, is the birthplace of Ultimate Frisbee, and proudly displays a plaque to that effect.  While the crime has not been labeled an anti-transgender hate crime by authorities, it is difficult for Ms. White’s friends and the trans community to believe that a significant aspect of the motive for the murder could not be transphobia and gender hatred.  An outpouring of grief and admiration has come from friends throughout New Jersey for the beautiful woman many knew as “April.”  Her longtime friend, Angela DeRocco, wrote about her determination to be who she was, no matter the misunderstanding she received since her days as a student at Columbia High School.  “She did what she had to do to get through life and she didn’t care what anyone thought of her,” DeRocco wrote for Maplewood Patch. “If they did think negative, she just brushed it off her shoulders because she knew the ones who truly cared about her wouldn’t judge her and would always be there for her.” DeRocco continued, “I love her so much and respect her for keeping true to herself. She worked so hard becoming who she was, and it made her happy.” In the media frenzy since the death-by-bullying of Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi and so may other gay teenagers throughout the country, the outrageous murder and blundering (perhaps deliberate) mis-identification of Victoria Carmen White should not be forgotten.  Pam’s House Blend, as usual, has done a great service by lifting up this sad story in the days running up the the Transgender Day of Remembrance in early November.  Bird of Paradox leaves us with the question of justice for all transpeople in the wake of Ms. White’s murder: “If the authorities – having insisted we jump through all these flaming hoops in order to be considered the women and men we know ourselves to be – can then so casually dismiss everything about us except that we’ve undergone major abdominal surgery, and that we were once assigned identities which weren’t ours, then what hope do we have of ever being accepted as ourselves, dead or alive?” Rest in peace, beautiful sister. We have much work to do.

October 4, 2010 Posted by | African Americans, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, gun violence, Hate Crimes, Law and Order, Media Issues, New Jersey, Social Justice Advocacy, transgender persons, transphobia, Unsolved LGBT Crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Anti-gay bullying is a theological issue

Here at the Unfinished Lives Project we would like to a moment to say thank you to  Cody J. Sanders for the best treatment of the bullying crisis from a theological perspective we have seen!

The article is entitled: “Why Anti-Gay Bullying is a Theological Issue” and it was published on religious dispatches. This article is a must read for all people of faith.

Thanks again Cody for this compelling argument.

Cody J. Sanders is a Baptist minister and Ph.D. student in Pastoral Theology and Counseling at Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth, TX. Cody was a Fellow in the inaugural class of the Human Rights Campaign Summer Institute for Religious and Theological Study and is a participant in the Beyond Apologetics symposium on sexual identity, pastoral theology, and pastoral practice.

October 3, 2010 Posted by | Anglo Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, bi-phobia, Bisexual persons, Bullying in schools, Campus Pride, death threats, gay men, gay teens, gun violence, Hanging, harassment, Hate Crimes, hate crimes prevention, hate speech, Heterosexism and homophobia, Human Rights Campaign, LGBT teen suicide prevention, LGBTQ suicide, Media Issues, Politics, Popular Culture, Public Theology, religious hate speech, religious intolerance, Remembrances, Social Justice Advocacy, South Carolina, Special Comments, stabbings, stalking, Stomping and Kicking Violence, suicide, Texas, transgender persons | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Anti-gay bullying is a theological issue

Gay Minnesota Teen Hangs Self in Response to Anti-Gay Bullying

Justin Aaberg, 15, courtesy of his mother, Tammy

Anoka-Hennepin School District, Minnesota – A 15-year-old gay teen hanged himself after being continually hounded for his sexuality on July 9.  The story of Justin Aaberg, which was regional before the explosion in national consciousness on gay teen suicide in public schools and universities, has grabbed the country’s attention.  His mother Tammy Aaberg describes her son as “a very sweet boy who seemed to always have a smile on his face; he didn’t have a mean bone in his body…He was always a shoulder [friends] could cry on and would help them with their problems. He was also an extremely good cello player who even composed a few of his own songs.”  Justin was a student at Anoka High School, and a member of the school orchestra.  His mom told WCCO in Anoka, the CBS affiliate, “I actually thought he had the perfect life. I thought out of anybody I knew that he had the perfect life.  But I guess he didn’t think so.”  She found his lifeless body hanging in his room.  Justin’s friends related to her how severely he was harassed by anti-gay bullies in school, and how he had recenctly broken up with his boyfriend from the stresses he was facing. Mrs. Aaberg testified to the Anoka-Hennepin School Board that her son was harassed mercilessly by bullies at Anoka High School because of his sexual orientation.   “I’m not asking you to accept this as a lifestyle for you,” she told the Board according to The Colu.mn, an LGBT online newspaper in Minnesota. “I’m only asking that you please make the school safe for GLBT students still alive and in this district today they are people just like us and deserve to be treated like the rest of us. Suicide should not feel like the only way to take away the pain and shame.”  Mrs. Aaberg has been joined by Minnesota LGBTQ activists who are calling for the school district, the largest in the United States, to change its policies explicitly to protect students who are members of the sexual minority.  As EDGE reports, the district is finding it hard to deny there is a problem for its LGBTQ students, since this past year there were two other LGBTQ teen suicides in area schools in addition to Justin, besides the scandal of two district teachers who conspired to torment a teen because they knew he was gay.  The district has defended its responses as adequate, and tauted its “neutrality” policy that mandates no one in the employ of the schools will speak in favor or in opposition to the “LGBT lifestyle.”  Gay Equity Team members have criticized district officials for a policy of “neutrality” they believe is in place because of the conservative, disapproving attitudes of politically powerful citizens who loathe gay people.  Officials admit that their vaunted policy is hardly neutral when it comes to LGBTQ teens and their orientation.  The Minnesota Independent reports that Dale Schuster, a former student of the district, criticized the way district policy speaks openly their support of heterosexuality and opposite sex marriage, but only remains mum when gay concerns are at stake. “There is no way to be neutral on this issue, he said. “Either we support the GLBT students as we do their straight peers or we don’t. It’s impossible to explain why hateful rhetoric is wrong with a neutrality policy in place.  How do you stop the anti-gay rhetoric without explaining why it’s wrong in the first place?” Drawing a bead squarely at the School Board, Schuster added, “The time to remain neutral while our GLBT students are taking their own lives needs to end.”  Tammy Aaberg agrees that the policy of the School Board contributed to the death of her son, and she is not going to rest until the policy changes for the better, so that LGBTQ students like Justin can be safe at school, and no other family will have to endure the loss hers has faced because of unreasoning hatred and harassment.

October 2, 2010 Posted by | Anglo Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, Bullying in schools, Gay Equity Team (GET), gay teens, Hanging, harassment, Hate Crimes, hate crimes prevention, Heterosexism and homophobia, LGBT teen suicide prevention, LGBTQ suicide, Minnesota, Social Justice Advocacy, suicide | , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Asher Brown, Dead at 13: “They Ripped Him Up & Tore Him Down Everyday”

Supporters of Asher Brown at the Outdoor Memorial Service on Saturday (Stephen V. Sprinkle photo)

Houston, Texas – Asher Brown’s uncle told a big gathering of mourners and family supporters on Saturday that school bullies “ripped him up and tore him down everyday.”  A crowd of hundreds blanketed a Houston park beside Moore Elementary School to express grief over the death by bullying of 13-year-old gay boy, Asher Brown.  Bright balloons floated in the air as the line of friends patiently waited to sign the memorial book and get a chance to speak to David and Amy Truong, Asher’s parents.  His uncle, a Christian minister, MC’ed the memorial service.  “The bullies picked on my nephew because of the way he dressed, how he talked, and the fact he was small.  He was a David among Goliaths,” Rev. Truong told the large crowd.  “But Asher’s heart was so big! His heart made him a giant.”  Asher’s school friends, the few who stood by him no matter what, were present and spoke.  One of them said there was a “Bully Free Zone” sign at Hamilton Middle School where Asher faced torment every day for being different, for being gay, and for being vulnerable.  His friend said that the sign meant nothing.  Nothing was done by anyone to protect Asher, himself, or any other target of ridicule at Hamilton. the Truongs had repeatedly tried to get school officials to help their son, but the school basically ignored their calls and emails. Initially, a spokesperson for the school district denied that any appeals had come to the school about Asher and the severe bullying he was facing there.  Now the Cy-Fair Independent School District is acknowledging that “some communication” concerning Asher did indeed come from his parents.  The gay teen shot himself in his Dad’s closet on September 23 after bullying became unendurable for him.  When David Truong, Asher’s Dad,  found Asher lying on the floor of his closet, he thought at first that his son had fallen asleep reading a book–and then he saw the blood.  Referring to Asher’s six friends who spoke at the outdoor memorial service, David Truong said, “These kids are the true heroes of this whole thing.  They are speaking out, and we need to support them.”  Jolanda Jones, a city councilwoman in attendance told the crowd that she and Mayor Annise Parker were taking this senseless killing in Houston as a “call to action” for passage of a zero tolerance anti-bullying law that will be named “Asher’s Rule” as a fitting memorial to a good boy who just wanted to live his life–though bullies wouldn’t let him.  Many supporters from the LGBTQ community came to show their support for safe schools for all children, and to support Asher’s family.  Asher’s uncle declared that “gay and straight alike are perfect in God’s sight.  God doesn’t make any mistakes.”  What happened to his nephew was not going to be dismissed as simply a “gay issue.”  “This is a hate issue, and we are not going to rest until all children are safe from hate at school,” he said.  For more photos of the Asher Brown Memorial Service, click here.

October 2, 2010 Posted by | Anglo Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, Asian Americans, Bullying in schools, gay teens, gun violence, harassment, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Legislation, LGBT teen suicide prevention, LGBTQ suicide, Texas | , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Asher Brown, Dead at 13: “They Ripped Him Up & Tore Him Down Everyday”

Unfinished Lives: It Gets Better Videos

Unfinished Lives Project would like to recognize author Dan Savage for founding the It Gets Better Project (http://www.youtube.com/itgetsbetterproject) in response to the tragic increase in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender teen suicides.  The point of this project is for people to upload videos to let these teens know that, yes, it does get better.

And here at Unfinished Lives, we are cognizant of the fact that part of this “better” is not just social love and acceptance, but spiritual love and acceptance.  To help meet this need, a group of Brite Divinity School students and faculty have recorded their own messages of hope for the It Gets Better Project:

Dr. Steve Sprinkle: Director of Field Education at Brite Divinity School

Sam Castleberry: Student at Brite Divinity School

Egon Cohen: Student at Brite Divinity School

DeSorrow: Student at Brite Divinity School

The Brite Student It Gets Better channel hopes to have more videos shortly. We would also like to encourage any and all LGBTQ faculty, staff, and students in graduate theological education to record videos and to let GLBTQ youth know that it does get better and faith can help not hinder the process. Also anyone else who wishes to record a video should do so as well. For more information on LGBTQ suicide prevention see The Trevor Project

In the meantime, please spread the word, and vote for your favorite video by sending an email with the video link as the subject line (just the link) to: IGBP@savagelove.net.

October 2, 2010 Posted by | ACLU, African Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Bisexual persons, Blame the victim, Bullying in schools, Domestic Violence, gay men, gay teens, harassment, Hate Crimes, hate crimes prevention, hate speech, Heterosexism and homophobia, Human Rights Campaign, Law and Order, Lesbian women, LGBT teen suicide prevention, LGBTQ suicide, National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, PFLAG, Social Justice Advocacy, Special Comments, suicide, transgender persons | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Body of Gay Rutgers Student Found; Furor Over Death Grows

Clementi was a gifted violinist

New York City, New York – CNN reports that the body of Tyler Clementi, gay Rutgers University freshman who jumped off the George Washington Bridge because of cyber-bullying, has been recovered from the Hudson River on Friday.  The body had floated in the river for a week after Clementi threw himself of the bridge near the New York side of the Hudson in a desperate act of suicide after being exposed as gay on the world wide web.  Clementi, 18, promising young violinist, was distraught over being spied upon during a gay tryst by a hidden web cam activated remotely by his roommate, Dharun Ravi.  Ravi shared the live stream images of Clementi and his lover with another Rutgers student, Molly Wei.  Ravi allegedly broadcast the tryst on the web September 19, and attempted to do so again on September 21.  The next day, Clementi carried out his suicide.  In a mobile Facebook status update on September 22, Clementi wrote, “jumping off the gw bridge sorry.” Ravi took apparent delight in exposing his roommate, whom he suspected was gay from tracing Clementi’s web activity to a gay hook up and chat site called “Just Us Boys.”  Later, on Just Us Boys, the day before Clementi jumped to his death from the bridge, a user called cit2mo posted a thread under the subject “college rommate spying.” Cit2mo wrote, “so the other night i had a guy over. I had talked to my roommate that afternoon and he had said it would be fine w/him. I checked his twitter today. he tweeted that I was using the room (which is obnoxious enough), AND that he went into somebody else’s room and remotely turned on his webcam and saw me making out with a guy.” Investigators suspect that Cit2mo was actually Clementi.  Respondents to the thread advised that the web cam was a violation of privacy, and should be reported to the dorm authorities.  A lawyer for Just Us Boys has told CNN that Cit2mo’s ID was traced back to Rutgers University.  News of the cyber-voyeurism leading to Clementi’s suicide exploded across the nation in the days since Clementi died. New Jersey Governor Christie has condemned the actions of Ravi and Wei in strong terms, saying he does not know how they sleep at night.  Presently, the two 18-year-old suspects are charged with invasion of privacy and face five years of jail time for every count against them, if proven guilty as charged.  The Governor issued a call to prosecutors to examine the case carefully to see is further charges can be brought against the pair of freshmen whose prank turned deadly.  The Clementi family has remained quietly at home, enduring their grief over the loss of their son with dignity.  They have issued this statement to the public: “We understand that our family’s personal tragedy presents important legal issues for the country as well for us. Regardless of legal outcomes, our hope is that our family’s personal tragedy will serve as a call for compassion, empathy and human dignity,” the statement said. On Friday, the President of Rutgers, Richard McCormick, pledged to meet with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students who are angry and fearful after Clementi’s suicide.  McCormick announced that the university will hold a candlelight vigil in Clementi’s memory on Sunday evening on campus, calling the vigil “an opportunity to come together in this difficult time to reaffirm our commitment to the values of civility, dignity, compassion, and respect for one another.”

October 2, 2010 Posted by | Anglo Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, Bullying in schools, cyber voyeurism, gay men, gay teens, harassment, Hate Crimes, Law and Order, LGBTQ suicide, New Jersey, New York, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Vigils | , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Body of Gay Rutgers Student Found; Furor Over Death Grows

Black R.I. University Student Hangs Self; Anti-Gay Harassment Suspected

Providence, Rhode Island – a Black, Gay Johnson and Wales University sophomore hanged himself in his dormitory room on Wednesday, September 29.  Raymond Chase, 19, was a well-regarded, openly gay student.  Vice President of the university, Ronald Martel, emailed the student body on Thursday to inform them of Raymond’s suicide: “Today I contact you with the deeply sad news of the passing of Raymond Chase, sophomore, 19, culinary arts major. The campus community is mourning the loss of this vibrant young man who leaves many JWU friends and teachers, and a loving family of Monticello, New York.”  As Steve Rothaus of the Miami Herald and Gay South Florida writes, Campus Pride, the nation’s largest LGBT university and college advocacy group, issued a statement of concern immediately upon learning of Raymond Chase’s suicide.  Shane Windmeyer, founder and Executive Director of Campus Pride, said to the press: “The loss of Raymond this week is the second college LGBT-related suicide in a week and the fifth teenage LGBT suicide in three weeks. The suicide of this openly gay young man is for reasons currently unknown; however, the recent pattern of LGBT youth suicides is cause for grave concern. Campus Pride demands national action be taken to address youth bullying, harassment and the need for safety and inclusion for LGBT youth at colleges and universities across the country. We must not let these tragic deaths go unnoticed.  Together we must act decisively to curb anti-LGBT bias incidents, harassment and acts of violence.”  Just last week, Campus Pride released a comprehensive report to lawmakers in Washington on anti-LGBTQ harassment and violence on college and university campuses in the United States.  Released through its Q Research Institute for Higher Education, the report, entitled, “2010 State of Higher Education for LGBT People,” drew attention to disturbing statistics such as: Nearly a quarter of LGBQ faculty, staff and students experience harassment on the nation’s campuses.  Of these, 83% say that their sexual identity is the reason for the abuse.  Transgender faculty, staff and students experience an even higher rate of harassment–39%.  Of these transgender people, 87% say their gender identity and/or expression is the reason.  33% of LGBQ faculty, staff and students, and 38% of transgender faculty, staff and students say that they have seriously thought of leaving their schools because of the abusive atmosphere.  43% of all LGBQ folk and 63% of all transgender people on campus say they hide their sexual difference to lessen the intimidation and danger.  The full report can be accessed in pdf form by clicking here. In response to the suicides of Raymond Chase, Tyler Clementi, Asher Brown, Seth Walsh, and Billy Lucas, Arne Duncan, President Obama’s Secretary of Education issued this statement on October 1: “This week, we sadly lost two young men who took their own lives for one unacceptable reason: they were being bullied and harassed because they were openly gay or believed to be gay. These unnecessary tragedies come on the heels of at least three other young people taking their own lives because the trauma of being bullied and harassed for their actual or perceived sexual orientation was too much to bear. This is a moment where every one of us – parents, teachers, students, elected officials, and all people of conscience – needs to stand up and speak out against intolerance in all its forms. Whether it’s students harassing other students because of ethnicity, disability or religion; or an adult, public official harassing the President of the University of Michigan student body because he is gay, it is time we as a country said enough. No more. This must stop.”

October 2, 2010 Posted by | African Americans, Anglo Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, bi-phobia, Bisexual persons, Bullying in schools, Campus Pride, gay teens, harassment, Heterosexism and homophobia, Johnson and Wales University, Lesbian women, LGBT teen suicide prevention, LGBTQ suicide, Social Justice Advocacy, transgender persons, transphobia | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Black R.I. University Student Hangs Self; Anti-Gay Harassment Suspected

Bullied Gay Teen Dies 9 Days After Suicide Attempt

Seth Walsh, posted by teen friends on Facebook

Tehachapi, CA – A 13-year-old gay teen boy, bullied beyond endurance, died nine days after hanging himself from a tree in his backyard.  Seth Walsh, a former student at Jacobsen Middle School, was tormented incessantly for years by school bullies for being gay and bisexual, according to KGET-TV News.  The bullying and name-calling got so bad that Seth’s parents pulled him out of Jacobsen and independently schooled him, but the bullies follow Seth with their mission to harass him.  The torment shifted from school to a park nearby Seth’s home in Kern County, California, according to friends.  They say he never fully revealed how desperate the verbal attacks made him feel, but instead kept his despair bottled up inside himself until he couldn’t stand another day.  On Sunday, September 19, he quietly went into the backyard, and hanged himself from the limb of a tree.  When Seth was found hanging from the branch, he was unconscious and barely alive. Parameds rushed him to a nearby medical center where he hung onto life supported by a ventilator and other heroic measures.  Nine days of struggle later, on Tuesday, September 28, Seth died.  Classmates from Jacobsen Middle School said to KGET-TV that though the school administration had an anti-bullying program in place, nobody at the school offered Seth any real guidance or protection from the bullying they knew he was going through.  Tehachapi police investigators interviewed students suspected of teasing and bullying the 13-year-old for being gay, but now say that nothing they did to Seth constituted a crime.  They will not be charged in his death, though the intensity of their torment was likely the factor most responsible for Seth’s desperate attempt to kill himself.  Police Chief Jeff Kermode told KGET, “Several of the kids that we talked to broke down into tears. They had never expected an outcome such as this.” A memorial service for Seth was held at the First Baptist Church of Tehecapi on Friday afternoon.  Towelroad reports that suicide prevention counselor Daryl Thiesen does not believe that acts of contrition and sorrow by the kids responsible for bullying Seth, or an outpouring of grief from the school and community now, will break through what Thiesen calls the “culture of silence” surrounding anti-gay bullying in the schools. Students who know about bullying incidents, or teens who are the victims of school bullying, are driven into silence about it out of peer pressure and the fear of being labeled “snitches” or “tattlers.”  From all reports, Seth was a sweet-natured youth who loved life and just wanted to be allowed to live it.  Deeply ingrained homophobia in the school and the town influenced those prone to bullying to harass this ordinary, loving, so-so-very-young kid to death.  It is good that friends and neighbors are rallying to support Seth’s family now.  What must be done to prevent further senseless loss of life among our young is an all-out effort to teach tolerance, acceptance, and anti-violence in our schools, churches, and families.

October 1, 2010 Posted by | Anglo Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, Bullying in schools, California, gay teens, harassment, hate crimes prevention, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, LGBT teen suicide prevention, LGBTQ suicide, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Slurs and epithets | , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

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