It's one thing to read statistics or opinions on blogs about kids killing themselves.
It's something altogether different when you put a face to the name and realize that yes, this is a real person who will never know love, will never have a career, will never get to have his or her own family, will never get to pet another cat or dog, will never see a sunrise, will never get to take state boards, will never get to meet a celebrity, will never give a surprise birthday party, will never open a Christmas present from someone special and will never eat an extra piece of red velvet cake even though they don't need it.
Here are the known LGBT suicides over the past few weeks. There are probably more. There will be more unless attitudes and policies in our country change.
13 year old Asher Brown of Cypress Texas shot himself in the head on Sept. 23, 2010 after enduring constant harassment at school according to his parents. Complaints to the school went unheard. He looks so happy in this picture.
13 year old Seth Walsh of Tehachapi California died on September 28 from injuries resulting from hanging himself from a tree on September 19. He was tormented and school officials would not address the problem.
15 year old Justin Aaberg of Anoka, Minnesota died on July 9, 2010 of hanging after being bullied at school.
He was an accomplished cello player. He wrote and played the background music in this memorial video for him.
At his high school 5 kids have killed themselves in the last year. Three of those are tied to sexual identity issues. That school chooses to "remain neutral" on the subject.
Raymond Chase was 19 years old and was a student at Johnson and Wales in Providence, Rhode Island. He hung himself in his dorm room. He had an interest in culinary arts, but will never get to use the skills he was developing.
Tyler Clementi was a student at Rutgers and a 2010 Festival of Young Performers Scholarship recipient when he jumped from the George Washington Bridge into the Hudson River on September 22, after his roommate and another person broadcast webcam footage of Tyler in an intimate moment with another man. He was an intensely devoted musician who was described as sweet and shy.
15 year old Billy Lucas of Greensburg, Indiana, hung himself in their barn on September 9 after enduring torment at a school that did nothing. He was called "fag" one too many times.
Billy loved horses. That he hung himself in the barn around the animals he loved is touching. I'm pretty sure he felt he was loved by his horses, I understand the human animal bond. He was surrounded by love. Here is Billy with one of his horses, Nic.
Hate messages have been left on his memorial page.
19 year old Aiyisha Hassan of Southern California took her life in her home on October 5. She was struggling with identity problems. She must have loved this little dog, speaking of the unconditional love our pets give us. They don't care if we're lesbian or gay, if we wear a dress, if we cut our hair in an odd way, if we sleep with a guy one week and a girl the next. Animals have a better outlook than many humans.
Her mother was asked if it was hard to accept Chloe. "No, no. It's hard to accept that she is gone," she replied crying.
Update: On the previous post I mentioned 19 year old Zach Harrington of Norman Oklahoma who killed himself a few days after attending a "toxic" city council meeting on September 28 where hateful individuals degraded the gay community. I watched a video of those proceedings. Part of what I heard was equal to what I and others have described as spiritual terrorism. I guess bullying occurs in places other than schools.
Will my community of Bessemer do something to protect the kids in our schools before something tragic happens? Will our school board pass an inclusive anti-bullying policy? We will soon find out.
What about the school board in your community?