Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

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

   

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