From Garden State Equality (NJ) comes word of a Rutgers freshman who committed suicide after a video of him being sexually intimate with another male was circulated by his roommate. The video was made without his knowledge.
For immediate release
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Statement of Garden State Equality Chair Steven Goldstein, cell (917) 449-8918
All of us at Garden State Equality are in a state of shock over one of the most unconscionable, hate-related deaths of a student in the history of the State of New Jersey. Today we learned that a Rutgers freshman committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge after his roommate and other students apparently broadcast the freshman – without his knowledge – making out with another man. According to reports, the other students disseminated the video widely by Twitter. The freshman was seemingly so distraught, he leapt to his death.
There are no words sufficient to express our range of feelings today. We are outraged at the perpetrators. We are heartbroken over the tragic loss of a young man who, by all accounts, was brilliant, talented and kind. And we are sickened that anyone in our society, such as the students allegedly responsible for making the surreptitious video, might consider destroying others' lives as a sport. As this case makes its way through the legal system, we can only hope the alleged perpetrators receive the maximum possible sentence.
That the victim's roommate was also a freshman, just months out of high school, demonstrates once again that our high schools are not doing enough to educate their students that harassment, intimidation and bullying of other students is unacceptable in every instance. It is grotesque to think that people such as these alleged perpetrators went onto college without, apparently, ever having been taught basic life lessons of decency – and that they made their way through the educational system before allegedly committing this unconscionable act.
Garden State Equality is currently working on a new anti-school bullying bill that if enacted, would be the nation's strongest such law. It would follow the three anti-bullying laws the state has enacted since 2002, all of which include bullying based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.
We have also reached out to the Rutgers University administration and LGBT campus groups. We will keep you apprised of developments.
We are sickened.
With more than 77,000 members, Garden State Equality is New Jersey's largest civil rights organization. Since Garden State Equality's founding in 2004, New Jersey has enacted 211 laws at the state, county and local levels. Garden State Equality is the only statewide advocacy organization in American history to be the subject of an Academy Award-winning® film.
Meanwhile, a 13 year old boy has died after hanging himself after years of bullying because he was gay.
And in Texas, another 13 year old shot and killed himself because of bullying about his gay identity.
Imagine what the 18 year old Rutgers' student endured prior to college? Or how much bullying his roommate got away with to get to the point of posting video on Twitter?
Thank God for grown men like Dan Savage taking a stand with his It Gets Better project on YouTube. It is a damn shame our educators and elected school board officials can't do the same. Damn shame.
This is the sort of thing that makes me quiver with anger when I think about so-called-allied elected officials dragging their feet to make the world better for gay people. You have the power to send a message that might, just might, get some idiot to rethink their opinion that we deserve to be bullied and you WON'T do it?
You basically suck.