On September 22, 2010 Tyler Clementi felt he had no other alternatives than to jump off a bridge and end his life. At the tender young age of 18 when life should be nearly perfect for a musically gifted man just starting college at Rutgers University he chose to end his life.
Tyler starting his freshman year in college had told his parents before going off to school that he was gay, he was in the closet until this time, he kept his sexual orientation a secret for nearly his entire life. This is truly sad that he was not able to live his life openly as who he was due to rampant homophobia. Why it took him so long to tell his parents we will probably never know, but there had to be an underlying reason.
Tyler was a victim of homophobia, while Tyler made the decision to jump society as a whole let this young man down. When you have big political and government figures openly spewing their hate on the main media outlets it perpetuates homophobia. Unlike homosexuality people are not born homophobes, they learn it from such organizations as the westboro baptist church – perpetuating intolerance and hate.
Parents love your children no matter what and make sure they know that, talk with the about these sensitive issues and let them know they can always be open and honest with you and you will always except them as they are and support them. No parent should have to endure what Joe & Jane Clementi have just gone through – a trial of a person who contributed to Tyler’s decision to end his life.
Just imagine if Tyler was able to accept early in his life that he was gay, his parents gave him unconditional love and support so he was able to be open and honest to them, this most likely would have helped Tyler be more comfortable in who he was, had he had more confidence in himself he probably could have better coped with the bullying he ultimately received.
Teen suicide is a serious problem in both gay and straight youth and bullying plays a big role in this, below are some resources available to those who may be thinking about suicide or youth questioning their sexuality, remember that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem – MAKE THE CALL!
- If you are under 18 check out http://www.emptyclosets.com.
- The Trevor Project at 866 4U TREVOR. It’s a 24-hour, national help line for gay and questioning teens. You can learn more about The Trevor Project at their website: http://www.thetrevorproject.org.
- Angels and Doves is a nationwide anti-bullying non profit organization. Their website is http://www.AngelsandDoves.com
- The National Center for Bullying Prevention is helping to promote awareness and teach effective ways to respond to bullying. You can learn more about them at their website: http://www.Pacer.org/bullying
- The Matthew Shepard Foundation runs Matthew’s Place, an online community and resource center for LGBTQ youth. The website is http://www.matthewsplace.com
- If you are thinking about suicide please tell someone. You can also call the suicide prevention life line at 1-800-273-8255.