Guest Blogger: Gabby Perez

Ignorance is defined as the lack of knowledge or education and unawareness of something, often something important. In western society, we preach so much about how much things have changed for people of different races, classes, genders, sexualities, etc. but in reality, some things are still the same. People shouldn’t have to become martyrs to get the point across that change is necessary for growth.

People like Seth Walsh (13),

Raymond Chase (19),

Asher Brown (13),

Tyler Clementi (18),

Billy Lucas (15),

Caleb Nolt (14),

Harrison Chase Brown (15),

and Felix Sacco (17)

fit this mold of martyrdom due to their demise. Each of them has committed suicide within the past three weeks due to bullying and harassment from fellow peers. What takes the cake is the fact that the media has not shown any attention to many of these boys; the only one that has received media attention is Tyler Clementi and this is because they are seeking legal action against the boys who terrorized him. There has been no immediate response to the suicides, but celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres have spoken up about the hate that has happened. One question remains: what will be done from a political level to reprimand people who tread the border between harassment and hate crimes?

What qualifies as buzz worthy news? Issues dealing with someone’s identity always seem to fall below the radar of the media. It is only when legal action is pursued that issues become worthy of news. This is where the internet comes into play– there are so many outlets on the internet to allow for communication, but most times it fails to be recognized. It is a shame to see that we have to search the internet to find out about these suicides because they are not publicized. It is time to get it together America; we need a stable system to react to issues of heterosexism. Society continues to allow historical precedent rule America and it needs to be changed. Some people need to learn to break out of the narrow scope that continues to limit their understanding of identity. With that, we can move past being reactive and learn how to be more proactive.

Rest in peace Tyler, Raymond, Billy, Asher, Caleb, Seth, Harrison, and Felix, you will always be remembered as the boys who opened the eyes of many Americans to the injustices of heterosexism. We are praying for justice to prevail.

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20 thoughts on “Guest Blogger: Gabby Perez

  1. Kylie B. says:

    I guess I will be the first to admit that I had not heard of these young men or the tragic ending to their lives. What does this say about our society? We openly discuss issues of hate crimes and bullying yet we do not hear that they are constantly occurring and are creating devastating consequences.

    The video spoke of one student whose middle school had anti-bullying procedures but they were not enforced. I wonder what the school will do now that they realize how serious bullying can go. These boys will never have the chance to grow into men, never given the chance to experience the world or be able to fight for their sexuality. Identity is a huge issue in America–a country that prides itself on diversity and equality. What is equal about the situations described in Gabby’s post? They were all teased to the point where their only option was to kill themselves.

    There needs to be an end to hate-crimes and bullying. Anyone should have the right to their own identity, which may or may not be what we personally believe in, but we do not have the right to impose our beliefs upon others to the extent that these other students did. How can we be comfortable with ourselves if we cannot express who we really are? It sounds cliche but its true that everyone is different…we need to accept difference as a part of our society and that we cannot all form one matching identity mold.

  2. Katie Smith says:

    These cases are far to prevalent in today’s society. What is most shocking to me is that we are constantly hearing that now more than ever society is accepting and appreciating difference; whether it be physical differences (transgender and/or cross dressing), sexual orientation, or other beliefs. However, if though this is the claim, clearly it is not as accepted as we think. These people ended their lives because others made them feel inferior and bad about themselves for these unique differences.

    This post really hit close to home to me, as last week a student from my high school (and one of my younger sisters good friends) ended his life in his college dorm room. No one is quite sure what happened, as he seemed like a very happy kid. Happy as he was, he was different. He was very studious and quiet, and not many people knew him from my high school (which only had about 375 students). I guess I can’t decide which is worse, to be bullied openly, or to suffer silently knowing that you are overlooked by those in a small community.

    I hope that justice prevails in the cases Gabby has written about. Society needs to open their minds to different possible personalities and beliefs. It is difficult for me to believe that in this day in age we are more accepting and open-minded about differences when I see so many blatant reminders that these beliefs and feelings are not shared by enough people. As terrible as these cases are, hopefully people will open their eyes are realize that maybe we are not as forward thinking as we think we are.

  3. Merrill Amos says:

    I first read about 13 year-old Asher Brown’s suicide while researching LGBT culture for another class and just happened to come across a blog discussing the incident. The next day I was watching the news and heard about Tyler Clementi. The rest just kept coming. I can’t help but think to myself, “these are just the ones we know about.” After doing only some surface-level Googling around, I’ve read that LGBTQ youth are 4 times as likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual peers…and that was in a 2006 study, so those numbers may have fluctuated in the meantime. I think that bullying is only part of the issue here.
    Particularly in these publicized cases, yes, bullying and harrassment played a huge factor in most, but that is only part of the issue. Some LGBTQ individuals may have never personally experienced a hate crime, yet a heterosexist culture seems enough to do the damage. By this, I mean that for so many kids, being considered “abnormal” by society is enough to send them into a depression induced by self-consciousness and depleted self-worth. Our popular culture is, luckily, beckoning a larger gay presence (tv shows with gay characters, LGBT issues being more publicized, etc.) but many young people have to be particularly diligent in seeking out gay culture and resources. I’ve noticed that in a lot of news articles, etc., hate crimes/bullying/homophobia are referred to as cases of “intolerance,” implying that the opposite, “tolerance” would be the condition in which these incidences would not occur. However…tolerance suggests that there is something present to be tolerated. It suggests that there is something negative present to be looked past. Acceptance, respect, and understanding are, I think, much better terms to employ when referring to an ideal environment, or one with the absence of discrimination or oppression. This can be applied to all social justice causes…not just LGBT rights.
    On another note, why are there no stories of girls’ suicides? We have the tragic stories of 6 young boys here, who as Kylie said, will never have the chance to grow into men, but what about the girls who will never have the chance to grow into women? I definitely think that the type of homophobia surrounding gay men is vastly different from that surrounding gay women, but it is still nonetheless present. Take Tyler Clementi’s case: if an explicit video was taken of a female college student with another female and she committed suicide as a result, how might society react and view this incident? Would this have been an attack on her sexuality or her
    homosexuality?? It’s difficult to say…but the tragic result would still be the same.

    A good crisis/suicide prevention site I came across: http://www.thetrevorproject.org

    Also….a blog entry I found interesting pertaining to the suicides, responses, future action, etc: http://www.autostraddle.com/the-gay-teen-bullyingsuicide-crisis-how-were-living-now-61587/

  4. Tom Michaud says:

    What happened to these boys is absolutely ridiculous. Its 2010 and we still can’t get over the fact that there are gay people?!?! WTF?! Its a normal, natural thing. stop giving people shit about their choices. and those of you who are homosexual, stand up for yourself! If there are cases of bullying, it doesn’t need to lead to suicide. Suicide is a really tough issue for me to read about. I hate it so much. that should never be an option for anyone. If you or anyone you know is being bullied about anything really, stand up. Make it known that what they are doing is bad, and you dont like it and wish them to stop. now i know, easier said than done, right? but not really all it takes is saying something. If the bully doesnt back off, find someone in the administration you can talk to or even straight up the police. I really don’t want these boys deaths to seem like a way out for everyone elese who is being bullied. I think its very cowardly to just kill yourself. I know, they were under a lot of mental stress and anguish and maybe even physical, but ending your own life is not the right answer, and it never will be. If i read about more kids committing suicide in near future its really going to piss me off because A) people should not be criticizing someone based on their romantic choices or their sexuality and B) there are much better avenues that these troubled teens can take. I know on our campus they have a counseling center; and its free. If you go to Hobart&William Smith and are troubled by any of this our if you are experiencing this kind of treatment, go to the counseling center. get help in a healthy way. Being dead might end the pain, but in the end it just adds more pain to those you love. And there are much better ways off telling people how you feel than just a desperate cry for help when its too late. which is really all suicide is anyway.

    Another thing that really bothers me about this situation is that some of these kids were like 13 years old! What does that say about our society when 13 year olds are killing themselves? What kind of morals are we instilling in our children? The fact that 13 year olds killed themselves because of bullying is just wrong. where do they learn that suicide is their only or last option? hormones are raging inside a boy at that time in their life, and they still live with their parents probably. so parents, WTF?! do you not care about your kids at all? You can definitely tell when someone is really down, especially your own child. and the fact that even any of these suicides are happeing to middle-schoolers is really disturbing to me. no age is right to kill yourself, but when you’ve just barely become a teenager, thats too young and i think this problem is more than just the bullying; its also about how to respond to that pressure.

    • JoJo Ragon says:

      I know this blog is meant for discussion, but I am assuming it is for interpretation as well. I would like to respond to Tom’s comment with a few comments myself that stood out to me. I am in no way mocking Tom’s statements and I give him credit for writing what was on his mind. However, I would like to think about a few phrases in a different way.

      1) “Those of you who are homosexual, stand up for yourself!”

      At first glance, this statement can be one of empowerment and encouragement towards the LGBTQ community. On the other hand, as I had read it, I took it as an oversimplified, privileged assumption that those who identify as LGBTQ and struggle can and simply should “come out” and be who they are. This is ignoring the institutional, cultural, and social pressures placed, norms that as heterosexuals, we cannot begin to imagine the feeling of being called “a phase” or who we are attracted to as “impossible.” In this case, I feel that as a heterosexual, I would be in no place to use my privilege and criticize those oppressed to simply do something about it and stop being silent.

      2) “I think it’s very cowardly to just kill yourself.”

      This was a statement that I automatically dropped my jaw at simply because I feel that it is very bold. I accept Tom’s opinion; however I personally believe that no one has the right to determine whether another person’s plights are bad enough to result in such a death. I have an Aunt that committed suicide along with a friend from high school and although those around them loved them, that is not a justification towards being selfish and cowardly to simply end your life. In reality, ending your own life is something I cannot being to fathom and therefore believe cannot be judged by in any way.

      3) “Go to the counseling center. Get help in a healthy way…”

      Lastly, this statement was something that made me think. On the one hand, it is a great encouragement to remind the LGBTQ community that there are people out there who do care and do support their identity. However, I did feel that the way this was stated was another way of using privilege and simply “having the answer” to this big mystery.

      Ok, I am going to stop now because I do not want Tom or anyone else to think that I am bashing him and find his opinions ridiculous and unacceptable. I did however want to shed a different light on some things that were said and I hope that I did so without being offensive. Tom is a good friend of mine so I hope he will understand—as I hope those who read this do.

    • Jillian McCarthy says:

      I take issue with some of Tom’s comments as well. In his response, Tom asks the question, “Where do they learn that suicide is their last or only option?” I don’t think that anyone really views suicide as an option; parents don’t teach their children that if things get too rough, it’s best to simply end things. People commit suicide when they find no meaning in their suffering, when they see no end to this suffering, and when life is so unbearable that death is the only escape of which they can conceive. I agree with Jojo in that I don’t think that a non-suicidal person could possibly understand what that level of desperation entails and I don’t think it’s our place to blame the person who kills himself or herself for being too weak or shortsighted to find some other solution.

      On another note, in my ethics class last week, during our discussion of Kant we examined the Rutgers suicide case and tried to pinpoint exactly what made the perpetrators’ actions wrong at the beginning when they did not know that Tyler Clementi would kill himself. We concluded that in posting explicit videos of him online the perpetrators intended to cause harm and violated his right to privacy. Kant also believes in universalizability; basically, if you wouldn’t be willing to apply the motive behind your decision to similar situations, you shouldn’t do that action. For example, in this case: “It is morally acceptable to violates one’s rights to privacy and cause harm if doing so will give me a good laugh.” While these reasons obviously make the decision wrong from the start, it seems that these two ideas don’t reach the heart of the moral problem. My professor asked us if we thought that, given the cultural climate towards gays in the U.S., the perpetrators should have known that what they did would risk Tyler’s life by opening him up to discrimination and embarrassment for being outed in that way. I think that they should have. If we’d just treat people the way we want to be treated there would be a lot less heartache in our culture.

  5. Out of the Tyler Clementi tragedy I have seen a fixation on Cyberbullying. Cyberbullying as defined by the STOP CYBERBULLYING website as “when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones.” (http://www.stopcyberbullying.org/index2.html) This definition also can extend to adults, but it is in the teenage years where this has proven to be most destructive and prominent. Laws are slowly and cautiously being formed to protect and defend victims of this tech terror, but there is a maelstrom of information to sort through such who is the sender, how much communication exists, what is the severity of the threats or insults, the age of the recipient verse the send…ect.
    What is also difficult is balancing one’s own social network of tweets, facebook, myspace, blogs and any other social networks with the concern of privacy. For example if I google my own name random people can find me on facebook and myspace and can send me messages….while you can put up privacy blocks for this, sometimes you don’t catch the leak and this can be turned into a chance for someone to invade your virtual nook.
    Cyberbullying is without a doubt a major issue and needs to be addressed and focused on and there had to be a prosecution tactic that deals with it and does not hesitate due to the new nature of the cyberspace. The suicide of Tyler Clementi has shone a light on the severity of the state of cyberbullying.

  6. Evan Gove says:

    Theres a theory in the psycological world called “The Werther Effect,” which stems from a character in an 18th century German novel. In the story, Werther, the main character, sits at his desk dressed in an interesting way. He opens a book and then shoots himself in the head. After the novel was published, so many people dressed up like Werther and killed themselves that several countries actually banned the book.

    The Werther effect, also known as the copycat effect, is when a suicide serves as a model for the suicides that follow it. For example, when Kurt Cobain, the lead singer of Nirvana, commited suicide in 1994, it caused a wave of suicides in which the person either played Cobain’s music during the act, or in some cases they left suicide notes entitled, “Cobain.”

    It’s no secret that suicides occur in bunches. When someone commits suicide, it sparks a public outcry. The way we handle these suicides is a determining factor in the suicides that occur afterwards. When suicides recieve a large amount of attention, it sends a dangerous message to other struggling people; if you kill yourself, people will finally care about you.

    The need to be noticed in a positive way is a major factor in teen suicide especially. These kids that were bullied to the point of suicide were looking for one thing; for somebody to care. When we see things like memorial services for suicide victims, it tells us that commiting such a horrendus act will get us the positive attention we so vehemently crave. This is the reason we don’t see these suicides plastered all over the media; because like most things the news media does, it has a negative effect. We’ve realized this and that is why the media isn’t talking about these boys, because they would cause more harm than good.

    I’m not saying that we should just ignore these suicides. There is an obvious problem with bullying that most certainly needs to be addressed. But the way to go about it does not involve turning these kids into martyrs by giving them attention all over the news. They didn’t die for something they believed in; they died because they thought nobody believed in them, and they wanted that to change.

  7. Sarah Canavan says:

    I have to say that I hadn’t heard of any of these boys either, and that’s sad. That so many people died because of this issue in SUCH A SHORT AMOUNT OF TIME and it still went competley unacknowledged by the world is a tragedy. At HWS I have been lucky enough to participate in many social identity, inclusion and diversity discussions. But, I went to a large public high school (like some of these boys probably did) and I can tell you that there was NOTHING of the sort for younger people. I realize that it’s difficult to discuss social identity, especially if you do not feel safe or respected in the discussion forum. I have a hard time believing that the problem would be solved if high schools instituted a week of social identity workshops in homeroom–would people really be honest? I highly doubt it. I don’t know what the solution is but openness is certainly a big part of it and people who are being ridiculed, persecuted, abused, mocked, isolated, etc., certainly are not going to be open if they think no one is listening.

    We as a community have made big strides toward a more inclusive society. But clearly if incidents like these are still happening–and I’m sure there are more of them than these boys–those strides have not been effective. I think the problem is that “we” (whoever we is) are being too careful! We’re waiting to discuss these issues until college. We’re not talking openly about who we are when we’re young, and that’s the time when we need to be talking about it. High school, which is where the bullying took place that led to most of these suicides, is one of the LEAST inclusive places I can think of. How far do we want to push the excuse that “teenagers are cruel, it’s not just you..”.

    Last year I was in Adolescent Lit with Michele and we read several books that addressed “outsiders” in high school. Even if you haven’t read books like “Luna,” or “Perks of being a Wallflower,” do you watch Glee? I think one of Glee’s strengths is that it doesn’t try to paint a pretty picture of those who are typically considered outsiders to be included. The gay guy is still slushied in the hallway. But, the bullies are still the typical bullies. What Glee doesn’t do well is portray the indifference of the rest of the school/social network. Everyone knows bullying is bad. Some people–bullies–choose to do it anyway. What about the people who don’t OUTRIGHT bully people, but who don’t step in to help? Are they as bad as the bullies themselves?

  8. Isaias says:

    It is very unfortunate that a person feels forced to end their lives due to teens bullying him or her. This goes to show us how unfair and ignorant our society is. Some kids are raised to not be open minded. They are just stuck inside of their bubble their whole lives and do not understand that there are many other ways that a person lives. In this example a person being gay. I understand that religion says “god made adam and eve not adam and steve” but dont make fun of someone because a person’s preference is different from your own. what can we do from hereon out? People need to be enlightened on social justice. Learn that people are different from them and its ok. If we teach kids this when they are young they will grow up understanding and being able to relate to others. what do you think?

  9. Courtney Notte says:

    What I found myself thinking while reading this post was why are all of these victims boys? Clearly, the environment our society is creating for young gay men is not a healthy one. It is not accepting, it is not free of judgement and it is not safe. Why though are young gay women less susceptible to bullying about their sexuality than boys? It is because young gay women are seen as possessing a masculine quality that is somehow less offensive than young men who possess qualities that are perceived as feminine? What bothers me almost as much as the fact that in 2010 pockets of our supposedly progressive society are still on a gay and lesbian witch hunt is the fact that even those who don’t actively participate in heterosexism discrimination need to be reminded that, yes, it’s still happening, and yes, we are all implicated in it. Doing nothing is as good as throwing the first stone. We’re allowing the discrimination to happen. I personally don’t think it’s down to a lack of awareness – I think the biggest problem is people who choose ignorance. Why is it that we need celebrities to take action on an issue, to tell us what to think, before we will direct our attention an issue with so much resonance? Have we become so vacuous a society that we cannot turn our backs on heterosexism until a celebrity tells us it’s ok? I’m not against celebrities using their status to spread messages of encouragement or to try to discourage discrimination, but cases like the suicides of these boys point to a far greater problem than the cast of Glee can rightfully solve in a sixty second PSA. These deaths point to a problem within our societal structure, within the values and beliefs at the core of that structure and within the institutions that build and reinforce that structure.

    • Jillian McCarthy says:

      I think that Courtney’s comment about feminine traits in men being so much more offensive than masculine traits in women is extremely insightful and interesting. It also brings this discussion back to the heart of women’s studies: Why does the patriarchal structure of our society so undervalue and control the female gender role? When I think of gay bashing or hate crimes, I think largely of men. It seems that something about male homosexuality is extremely offensive to some members of our society; so much so that they have to humiliate and beat men who fall into this category. Because it is largely assumed that gay women take on masculine traits of “butchness,” or not looking “womanly,” a greater sense of self-worth (without a man), and independence, they avoid some of the abuse that gay men experience for taking on feminine traits. Gay men are thought of as prissy, fashion-loving, gossipy, physically weak, and generally partaking in activities better fit for women. Because “woman” is associated with “weakness” and “dependency” even today, it seems that gay men face much more discrimination for taking on these traits when they are biologically male; as if society is saying to them, “Why give up your natural masculine dominance by being gay and therefore acting like a woman?” I’m extremely offended that feminine characteristics are viewed in this way and that these young men faced so much discrimination that they took their own lives because they couldn’t take it anymore. God forbid we step outside our assigned gender roles, because when society finds out there will be hell to pay.

  10. Gabrielle Perez says:

    What continues to bother me is the fact that Tyler Clementi still gets the shine in this whole situation. Granted, I’m not saying that his death doesn’t matter, but his death outshines everyone else’s suicides. Where is the attention toward the other teens who committed suicide? And where is the attention for Caleb, Harrison, and Felix? These 3 boys haven’t even surfaced on activist websites. I just happened to find their names on the website I found all the other suicides on. It just goes to show how the media becomes so intertwined with our lives that we only focus on what the media shows us. Even on facebook, we continue to get event requests and fan pages focusing on the death of Tyler and others. Why are they considered others? Because they haven’t received much public attention from the media besides the internet.

  11. JoJo Ragon says:

    The teen suicides….where do I start?
    First, I want to recognize Gabby as the type of person who I find an example for how incidents such as these can result in forms of social justice. Even if she stopped at her video, spreading awareness is what I’ve come to recognize as the most effective way to make someone reflect on their words and actions.
    I admitted this at the candlelight vigil and I’ll do it again on this blog. I’m disgusted with myself about the fact that, when I was in high school, I used phrases such as “that’s so gay.” It still does not make sense to me because I have an uncle who identifies as homosexual; yet I still would say it around school. Not once did I stop to think whom I might be offending, how I was oppressing them, and how I used my heteronormative way of thinking to take advantage of my own privilege.
    Speaking of my uncle, I remember when I was younger and he and his partner would always “do everything together.” I thought that they were the best of friends and simply hung out every day. When I finally realized that he was a homosexual, everything of course made sense. However, as much as I was brought up to accept those who are different than me, my choice of words and phrases were not correct. Ever since I started studying at college, I have completely changed my White, heterosexual, able-bodied, Catholic lens into one that is aware and understand the multiplicity of identities, intersectionality, and the dynamic of privilege and oppression.
    In addition, I have friends on this campus of various identities unlike mine that I have learned so much from and cannot possibly imagine my college career without. This is what also deeply saddens me is that my closest friends who are with me now have experienced such struggle that I could not even begin to imagine. Their courage to come out and be who they truly are is something too inspiring for words. You know who you are 😉
    What tragedies such as these allow us to do, whether as an individual or a collective, is to stop and think about the little things that we do on a daily basis—and make a change. The song “Man in the Mirror” is the perfect song for a time like this. If you promise yourself that you will attempt to stop one habit that you have come to realize is oppressive, you’ve done something.

  12. Gabrielle Perez says:

    I had to post again after I re-read some posts. Tom, I definitely agree with what you are saying, but who are we to say that it is cowardly for the victims to choose suicide as an outlet? Granted, suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem, but these students are in distress. When they are in distress they have violent and impulsive behavior, isolate themselves from friends and family, go through anxiety, and threaten to kill themselves. I could never speak for someone who committed suicide, but I don’t think it’s our place to place blame on the victims. It just shows that even though we may believe what was done is wrong, we are still socialized to oppress the ones who dealt with it.

  13. Connie Mandeville says:

    I would like to give a new perspective to this situation by giving an example from HWS.

    I am the president of Pride Alliance and openly gay. Many students look for me for guidance when it comes to LGBTQ issues. I did not realize how important my role was until this week.

    I received an anonymous email from a student here about him/her questioning his/her sexuality. The email was very alarming because him/her did not seem like there were any options on this campus. In the email, it was very apparent that counseling was not an option. I gave this person advice from my own experience and stressed how there are many faculty and administration who support the LGBTQ community and are great resources on campus. Despite my words, this student is reluctant to believe me and still feels very isolated on campus.

    With what Tom wrote about the counseling center, I was reminded of this situation. Here is a student who is seeking help as much as possible but does not feel like he/she can go get help. People are scared to go to counseling. I know that the counseling center is a great place, but it took me over two years to finally get help there. I had past experiences where counseling sucked and was awful and that is why I refused to go to the counseling center for so long. For this student, it is the fear of being judged that is preventing him/her. I have no idea who this student is which goes to show you that the fear of coming out is very real on this campus.

  14. Emily Clemetson says:

    I’ve seen this advertisement on television several times recently: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8EkBVEQMvg&feature=channel
    There’s nothing extremely wrong with it, but in light of what’s been in the news recently, and everything that hasn’t been in the news but is going on that Gabby has mentioned in her post, I don’t think this advertisement is sending the right message. It is mainly the first line that the boy says that I think is sending the wrong message, “I don’t tolerate dorkiness very well.” I think they people that made the advertisement may have realized this because while I was searching for this video I came across another version of it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVxUhjqDDu8
    In this version the boy begins by saying, “here’s the deal, I’m global,” instead. However I have yet to see this version aired on television.
    I don’t think the content of the advertisement is really serious enough to cause problems, but do you think it will sell the Toyota Highlander?

  15. Ben Merberg says:

    I think issues such as these arising in the news are a very realistic reminder of the implications of the words we speak and a good reminder that we need to be more aware and accepting of certain people. It is always tragic when somebody loses their life but even worse when someone’s hatred and insecurity with themselves is the cause of someone else’s loss of life. I think it is important to make issues like these more public and have people be sensitive and aware to these issues for things like this shouldn’t go on in our country. The first step to penalizing the people who feel that this type of behavior is okay in society is making people aware of the issue of bullying and to make it known that it isn’t accepted in our society for obvious reasons.

  16. Jacqueline Murphy says:

    I believe that suicides in general are horrible. We don’t tend to hear much about them in the news and society unless they are “news worthy.” I feel as though all deaths no matter how that person died is “news worthy.” Now I can’t say that I have heard of all these boys because that would be a lie. I have only heard on Tyler Clementi as it was a huge deal because he committed suicide last September at Rutger’s University after his roommate videotaped him kissing another boy in their room. Clementi, only a freshman was musically talented and was caught in a bad situation. He was embarrassed at the live webcam streaming of his roommates computer and jumped to his death off the George Washington Bridge. He was a victim of bullying and felt there was no way out of his own life. Most people, including myself are fragile when people say something mean. I cannot imagine what it must be like to be called “gay” or a “homo” on a daily basis. That must be so hard for people to deal I don’t know as if I would blame them for wanting to escape that life. Having two gay family members I have changed my vocabulary so that I do not offend anyone using those terms. I understand that they had an extremely hard struggle in order to let others accept their identity. I was not aware of the fact that my uncles were “different” until I was 16 or 17. I was used to them having their “friends” around at family occasion. My opinion of them didn’t change one little bit. I just grew to have a new appreciation of all gay and lesbian people in my life. I think that each of these boys should be an example of the causes of bullying. These young boys had a whole life to live until they were bullied or harassed based on their sexual orientation. If only they could have made it past that tough stretch of life where people are ignorant and rude because they have no understanding of what it actually means to be a homosexual. It is sad that so many of these young boys flew under the radar enough to kill themselves and I am a little upset I didn’t hear about it or learn about it.

  17. Sasha Borenstein says:

    When I saw this post on teenage boys committing suicide because they are getting bullied at school I had to comment. My sister was a sophomore in high school last year and she called me twice during the year to tell me that a student at her high school had ended their life. The other students started rumors on why and how it happened but no one truly knew the real reason. This really got me to think because these students were fifteen or sixteen years old and they chose to end their lives. These students at my sisters school and these boys had their whole life to live, and because others thought they were different they believed that the best way out of the situation they were in was to just end there life. I think this is terrible and, it should be in the news more often when something like this happens so that we can raise more awareness and hopefully get this bullying to stop. I have not heard about these boys that committed suicide but when I was reading this blog and after I watched the clip about it I actually got a little teary eyed. The fact that other students, these boys peers, were so brutally mean to make these boys not want to live anymore is appalling to me. I know that there are anti-bullying organizations out there and that a lot of schools have them but they are obviously not doing enough to stop this issue. Also parents need to do a better job at raising their children to be more respectful of others and to treat others the way they want to be treated (I know that is cliche) but this is a growing issue that needs to be stopped.

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