The news of a Rutgers University student’s suicide is still developing…the shock, horror and sadness is still fresh and raw.
A student and his roommate…the roommate’s friend…some sort of webcam device…a live broadcast of a private act that may or may not have been inspired by homophobia.
Followed by the apparent suicide of an 18 year old man, who jumped to his death off a bridge after saying goodbye on Facebook.
Some friends of the male suspect have come forth to say he was not homophobic…one even creepily defended the suspect by saying that it wouldn’t have made a difference if the roommate being videotaped without knowledge was a woman.
The truth…or at least some truth…will out.
And after this saga is over…after the investigation and speculation…after the media moves on…Tyler Clementi will still be dead.
Today is the first day of October...the first day of LGBT History Month…and I'm thinking of the nameless who endured humiliation, pain, bullying and relentless taunting.
I don’t know if Tyler Clementi committed suicide because of the humiliation of having his sexual encounter broadcast live or if he did it because that crime outed him or if it was a combination of both.
But I know that another promising life is over…that LGBT young people are at risk for suicide at a shocking rate…that far too many people turn a blind eye to bullying and harassment of LGBT youth and adults.
I know that comments posted to online news stories about this tragedy provide a window into just how hateful and vile many people can be…even now…even after this.
And I know that other comments...comments expressing compassion and acceptance...demonstrate how far we've come.
Today I remember the nameless who are part of a history that will celebrate the luminaries with hope that, by highlighting the achievements of LGBT people, we’ll somehow break down the fear and hate and engender respect.
May they all rest in peace.
May we always remember.
And may we be part of changing the path of history toward respect and equality…every month of every year.