- Tyler Clementi (18): A brilliant violinist, in New Jersey, jumped off a bridge.
- Billy Lucas (15): Hanged himself in Greensburg.
- Asher Brown (13): Shot himself in the head in Houston.
- Seth Walsh (13): Hanged himself in their own backyard at Tehachapi, CA.
- Justin Aaberg (15) last July was found dead in his room, he hanged himself.
Is this what we became as a society, intolerant and ignorant? Where kids harass and bully other weaker kids just because they are different? And where do these kids get the sense that it is acceptable to bully others, and that it is acceptable to be prejudice, and discriminating? The answer is simple; they learn it from their parent or at school.
Bullying teen agers especially the gay teen agers or the ones that are still questioning their identity is becoming an epidemic. Gay teen agers are called names like: Fag, queer, dyke, Lesbos and the worst part is that the teachers and the school don’t address these issues, or don’t know how to address these issues, sweeping them under the carpet will not make them disappear.
The poor teen agers, are tormented, feel isolated, unloved, hated, not accepted, ridiculed and mostly shamed for who they are. They have no idea where to turn, how to look for help. Most School administrations don’t have any designed system in place to address the gay issue in schools, teachers don’t know or are scared to face these issues, or feel documenting the bullying or harassing situations to the office is enough.
Some schools have anti-bullying programs mentioned on their curriculum, but it is just to be politically correct, and they don’t intervene to stop the bullying as in the case of Walsh where they were made aware of the torment, he was going through.
This is also a wake up for the parents; Parents should realize that they are the first gate of knowledge for their kids that absorb totally how they act, including their prejudice. In fact, children learn to discriminate in the same way they absorb a new language, learn to dress in a certain way, or to use a toy. Early child and family experiences shape children’s attitudes and behaviors. Bullying is a product of the home.
Parents of teen gays, accept your children, love and support them, embrace them for who they are, you are their first line of defense and you might make all the difference in saving their lives.
The solution is within us, we can save unnecessary loss of young teens. We need to make these teens know that there is hope, that there is help Dan Savage: It gets better project is a start, campaigns should be designated to let these teens know that there is nothing wrong in being gay, that being gay is not a choice, it is who they are; and they are loved for who they are; regardless of who they choose to be with.
Legislation laws have be scripted to protect these teen agers, school administrators should impose very strict rules regulations for zero tolerance for bullying and harassment, offer counseling to these teens, in safe environment with total privacy. Teachers should get a thorough training on sexual orientation and harassment.
Other resources are:
- SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education) offers many resources on suicide prevention and depression information. Their phone: 952-946-7998.
- Another suicide prevention information organization is Trevor Project. The organization offers resources specifically for the GLBT youth.
I do stand for the freedom of choice and the rights of everyone to live their lives the way they want it. Who are we to judge anyone or judge that being gay is wrong or shameful? Hatred never bring any positive changes, it just generates more hatred. Just think if it was your child that lost their lives how would you feel?
Please advocate for zero tolerance for prejudice and discrimination, let this be a wake up, let these tragedies be a candle light that illuminate our path to recovery and healing. Let us stand up and speak up; it starts by each one of us saying no more bullying and no more discrimination. We need to make our voices heard- Enough loosing promising young lives!
Diversity starts at home,
Diversity Consultant – Social Media Strategist
Sahar Consulting, LLC.