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TSS: Let’s Help Teenagers See that Suicide Is Not the Answer

Posted by Caitie F on October 3, 2010

I am pissed. No, pissed isn’t a strong enough word. I am FURIOUS. IN the past three weeks there have been six cases of gay teenagers committing suicide. Well, six that have been reported. There may have been more where the young adult was not out yet. Or the family is trying to hide that their child was gay.

But five is five too many. They thought that what they were was so horrible that they thought the only way to deal with it was suicide and that is making me tear up yet again as I type this. Five families mourning. Five networks of friends saddened and left wondering “What could I have done”.

The situation at Rutgers makes me sick. That two college freshmen would be dumb enough to think it is okay/funny to tape their roommate hooking up with someone is absolutely disgusting. It doesn’t matter what the person’s sexual orientation is YOU DON’T DO THAT. It is spiteful, cruel, and undignified. As of now, they can only get five years in prison at maximum. I wish they could get so much more. Some people have said that it will ruin them because if anyone googles them for the rest of their life…but it isn’t that hard to change your name. I don’t care what their lawyers say, they were responsible for Tyler’s death and they should have to face teh consequences.

There is more than anger and disgust. We all need to be thinking of what we can do to try and help these young people. It is something that needs to be addressed on every level. Here are just some ideas.

The entertainment industry: Yes, there have been strides. Glee, Modern Family, and many other shows have gay characters that are full characters and not jokes. It isn’t enough. It needs to be industry wide. People should suffer for making certain remarks. 50 Cent recently tweeted that gay people should commit suicide. He has tried to clarify his comment, but that doesn’t excuse anything. He should be punished. He should be disgusted. I know he is added to my list of artists I will never buy anything from again…but there needs to be more than that.

As Ellen said, “These kids needed us. We have an obligation to change this. There are messages everywhere that validate this kind of bullying and taunting and we have to make it stop. We can’t let intolerance and ignorance take another kid’s life.”

The government: Yeah, some people will say it isn’t their place, but I just say back of COURSE it is. Big change comes from the government. We wouldn’t be as far as we are with equality in race if it wasn’t for the Civil Rights Act. We need them to act. I know it is hard when politicians being assholes prevents things like “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (don’t get me started on that) from being repealed, but it needs to happen. If gay people can get married, adopt, and be equals in society, young people may be able to see more hope.

In California, a law was just passed that says, as long as a person from age 12-17 is deemed mature enough, they can get mental health help without their parents being notified. This means that a young person who is struggling with being gay, but isn’t ready to come out to their parents can get help and can talk to someone.

Our schools: Now we are getting to where the little things impact people. The word “faggot” is still used by students around schools – K-12 and colleges and universities. There needs to be a zero tolerance policy with that word everywhere in schools, including at football practice. If calling someone gay is an insult, then it makes people who are gay feel worse. Teachers need to crack down on it and it needs to be completely unacceptable. The off-hand comments are NOT okay. Bullying should be severely punished.

The churches: I know this is controversial, but can you imagine what it is like sitting in a church being told that who you are is an abomination? Especially when you didn’t choose to be gay and you are 14 or 15 years old? There should not be places you can go to have the gay taken out of you. There should not be signs at rallies brought by the church groups saying that being gay is bad. There should not be seven year old children preaching the message their parents have given them. It is a place where huge strides could be made.

Who knows if anything could have helped these young people – I think someone of something could have. I hope our society can change and that this issue doesn’t just go away in a week because of the next big thing.

Please take a moment to think of the young people and their families.

Justin Aaberg, 15

Billy Lucas, 15

Asher Brown, 13

Seth Walsh, 13

Tyler Clementi, 18

Raymond Chase, 19

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6 Responses to “TSS: Let’s Help Teenagers See that Suicide Is Not the Answer”

  1. Amanda said

    Sometimes I am so overwhelmed by this issue that I just want to hide in a corner and cry. Literally. 😦

  2. I agree with you – what those two students did at Rutgers is totally unacceptable. It is unfathomable to me and I can’t help but wonder how they were raised. We worked really hard to teach our son tolerance and he has always had friends who were different from him.

    • Caitie F said

      I think so much of it comes from the home – my parents always taught me that we are all more alike than we are different and it really resonated with my brother and I

  3. Zee said

    I so totally agree with you on all this. What has happened in the last week makes me want to cry!

  4. Erica Olson said

    I was never so ashamed of my state as when Wisconsin passed it’s One Woman One Man law. Thank you for speaking out. I’m pissed, too. And as the mom of two boys who I know will love with their whole hearts whomever they choose – I’m very, very sad for those whose lives are lost.

    • Caitie F said

      I was living in Ohio when they not only made gay marriage illegal, but also took their rights away. I was not old enough to vote and it made me so disgusted in my state.

      We just need loving parents who teach their kids that it doesn’t matter and makes sure their children know that bullying is wrong. I thought it was ending with my generation, but it seems like we have to hope for the next one

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