Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Young Lesbian Dies as Deadly Rash of Suicides Continues

Marin County, California – Though few details are available, 19-year-old Aiyisha Hassan, native of Marin County and former Howard University student, committed suicide last Tuesday.  Her friends believe that Hassan’s death is related to ongoing struggles she was having with her sexual orientation, even though she clearly identified as lesbian on campus.”She was having a lot of trouble with a lot of different things, but mainly her sexual identity and just trying to express that,” Lauren Morris, a 21-year-old fourth year student at Howard University, told Metro Weekly.    Morris confirmed that she and Hassan attended regular meetings of C.A.S.C.A.D.E., the Coalition of Activist Students Celebrating the Acceptance of Diversity and Equality, Howard University’s LGBT student group.  Students on the Howard campus believe that recent news about the struggle for LGBTQ human rights played a part in Hassan’s death. ”I absolutely think that this is connected in a way to the failure of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ to be repealed,” Sterling Washington told Metro Weekly. Washington, who is gay, is a co-founder of the Howard LGBT group. ”What happens in a large group trickles down to the junior members… so in this case it’s members of society so it affects youth in general,” he said. ”Those straight-identified youth who already had a proclivity, who already had from their parents, their socialization, this idea that gays are less than, it sort of gives them permission and facilities this whole bullying thing so that those that are most vulnerable to it sometimes see suicide as an out.”  Records at Howard University indicate that Hassan attended there for the 2008-2009 school year, before returning home to California.  She is the child of a prominent Marin County, California non-profit executive, Makini Hassan, director of Marin City Community Development Corporation, according to The San Francisco Chronicle Blog, SF Weekly.  The blog goes on to detail that the elder Hassan once headed Career Services for Goodwill Industries in San Francisco, San Mateo, and Marin Counties.  Aiyisha Hassan’s memorial is planned tomorrow, October 13, in Los Angeles, but the family is planning a Saturday memorial service in Marin County, as well.  Students at Howard University are rallying tomorrow to remember their classmate and friend with a candlelight vigil.  The death toll of LGBTQ youth and young adults is mounting with a deadly steadiness.  As of this writing, it is unclear whether bullying played a role in Hassan’s decision to end her life.  By some calculations, she is the eighth young LGBTQ person to take her own life in the past five weeks, and the second African American.

October 12, 2010 Posted by | African Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, Bullying in schools, California, harassment, Hate Crime Statistics, Heterosexism and homophobia, Howard University, Lesbian women, LGBT teen suicide prevention, LGBTQ suicide, Remembrances, Washington, D.C. | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments


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