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30 September 2010



I sat in a powerful meeting of various Rutgers staff and LGBTIQA student leaders today as we discussed the recent suicide of freshman student Tyler Clementi. While everyone is aware of the details of his passing, the thoughtless actions of his roommate and his friend, many forget that this is a campus of young people trying, with all that they have, to find their voice and their way. This is a devastating roadblock on their journey.

We've got to reach out and put our hands on our youth, again. It seems as though we played a masterful rule in forging ahead and helping clear the path for them to come out and be free, expressive and fully themselves. But, we have failed them because where parents and teachers may not always be able to understand their struggles, we, as members of the LGBTIQA communities do understand, and we have left them on their own, to their own devices. We have moved forward and grown up and out and struggled in our own ways, but we've got to reach back and get our youth, again.

When a beautiful young man like Tyler Clementi, and 11 and 13 and 14 year olders around the country don't have the strength OR resources OR vision to be able to move forward in their lives because they feel hopeless and scared, then perhaps we have failed them. We don't have the right website or books released or something that's getting to them. Maybe, speaking as the producer in my resume, we need to work with LOGO or GLO-TV or both in order to shape new images for our youth and move beyond NYC and California and speak to life on campus and in the 'hood and in real high school, but in such a way that they can see the way forward.

I was there when at approximately 2:45pm/EST, Tyler Clementi's body was officially confirmed as the body pulled from the Hudson River after he jumped to his death from The George Washington Bridge, which he tweeted. The energy, the fight in the room changed for just a moment and that moment is the moment we must be mindful of and confused upon in our daily living and efforts.

I am committed, today and everyday forward, to being available to the young people on Rutgers University's campus, as a LGBTIQA Liaison, as a champlain and as a resource for spiritual, personal and emotional guidance. We've got to make the real sacrifice to show up for our youth because the images that are beating up their spirits everyday are more vile and vicious than we can imagine.


We've got to put our hands on our youth again and show them that things do and will get better and until they do, we're here for them to lean on, scream at and talk to, so that they know that they are not alone.

Tim Lee

This is just a shatteringly sad story.


It is tragic to see a young man with an undoubtedly bright future take his own life. The inner turmoil that he must have been dealing with is unimaginable. I question however where to lay blame. Are his loved ones at fault for not recognizing that he was experiencing conflict, or perhaps self doubt, perhaps depression as a result of knowing that he had to work so hard to hide his sexuality? Is Rutgers at fault for not immediately extricating him from his presumably volatile housing situation after he reported the internet posting to his RA? I think the teens were wrong to share Clementi's intimate and private moments, but they alone were not the cuase of this death, nor do I think that they realized that their careless use of technology and outing of someone would have such dire consequences. I do however think Clementi's death will not be in vain, his death and the others these past couple of weeks are the alarm that should let us all know that it is time for society as a whole to be more sensitive and respectful of peoples differences. Gay is not something that will just go away, and if people continue to try to stifle it there will be more wrong than Eddie Long.


Rev, perhaps I am more paranoid than most, but I am willing to bet I am not the only one who feels the way I’m about to describe.

I believe that teaching comes naturally to me, and I think I would have made a good one. Being an “older brother” is also something that I think I would take satisfaction in, especially if it was for some kid who is something like I was.

But I am afraid. The pastors and other professional bigots have put so much effort into the campaign to equate gayness with pedophilia that millions of Americans believe that one implies the other. All I would need is a single disgruntled boy who is willing to lie, and my career would be ruined, or, with the wrong jury, something far worse. I am too fearful to take that chance.


These tragedies that have been reported in the last few weeks are unbearably sad. I am beyond disgusted about these two students who taped this young man and distributed it. The sickness in their minds has to be something of the most VILE! Its unfathomable and I hope that jail time is in their futures and most importantly that they LEARN SOMETHING!

Rev. Kev. has made as EXCELLENT point! I'm not a lesbian woman, but I will still reach out more to the youth. I am currently looking for ways to take action in my community, just to be ear for someone who needs to be listened to and encouraged. I don't want to see anymore LGBT youth take their lives because of the ignorance of others. I will try my hardest to have an impact on this epidemic. We have to try......



I feel you deeply! When I adopted by then 15-year old son, his mother's former partner, her own mother and others in my church QUESTIONED NONE TOO PUBLICLY MY INTENTIONS!

My reaction was to give him his own cell phone and personally give all of them the number AND I DEMANDED that they do more than just wonder: CALL HIM, CHECK IN ON HIM, QUESTION HIM, SUPPORT HIM AND SEE HOW THINGS ARE GOING WITH HIM!

Jim, the POWERFUL TRUTH FOR ME is that I knew my own intentions and was able to articulate that to the people in such a way that I DARED THEM TO PAY ATTENTION TO ME! Watch me love him, support him, nurture him, admonish and punish him, guide him, direct him and grow him up!

His own grandparents gave me a Christmas present and a card (AND AN APOLOGY) the following year and I took it with no grudge because I understand their pain and confusion and I overcame it by my actions!

Jim, we have to come to the table HONESTLY and EARNESTLY and say LOOK I LOVE MEN NOT BOYS, SO YOU DON'T HAVE TO WORRY! But we can only say that IF WE MEAN THAT! We've got to be clear about NON-PREDATORY MENTORING so that some disgruntled young man saying something only sounds disgruntled, not plausible!

When we know better, we MUST do better: THAT TIME IS NOW!


My heart aches for all these young men. That's all I can say at this moment.


Thank you so much, Rev, for your response.

The openness you describe is easier, for sure, when you know the adults who might be your accusers. When you are a public school teacher, say, it may not be so easy.

But then, I’ve known a few openly gay public school teachers, and they were willing to take their chances, so my fear may just be my personal problem.


Jim, it may also be your personal journey to take. How many young men are being denied a brilliant mentor in you because of what you think might happen? Again, if you are open in your LIFE (personally) but not open in the school system, then maybe it wouldn't be an issue.

For those boys who might come to you directly and "come out," then maybe there would need to be some discretion and perhaps conversation with their parents, but how many great teachers aren't teaching because of something (money, other opportunities, no patience with students)? Don't they deserve YOU!? They should have a fighting chance. Maybe at a Charter School?

Mitch Wright

I guess I sit on the other side of the fence. When you have a roommate and you decide to bring another person into the room to have sex you need to think that your roommate may tell a few people and in turn they will tell people. I really believe parents are failing to provide their children with teaching moments. I still remember my mother telling me "whatever you do in the dark will come to light" and "nothing is ever a secret when another person knows" So at a young age, I knew whatever actions I chose would have a consequence (good or bad). So he jumps off a bridge because someone saw him having sex? I am getting tired of folks using every suicide case as a situation of some form of "Gay" bullying. At some point, we are going to have to address some serious mental health issues were impacting a few of this cases. We are attempting to make up all these rules and regulations on what people can say. Bottom line, people have to deal with life. Life is not easy. At any day, someone may or may not like you. Someone or a group may do something that is not nice, but you have to find the inner strength of love for yourself to continue on. This is what most of us do. For those not capable of forging on, I think they really needed serious counseling before it got to this point.


@ Mitch Wright; NOt everyone is so strong to deal with these situations In addition there is a differnec between someone gossiping about seeing you have sex with a man and SHOWING you having sex with a man LIVE.

The latter clearly is FAR more damaging.
Important things to think about :

1.18 is a vulnerable age ( although most 18 year olds dont think so)

2.Homosexuality is still very much frowned upon.

3. A sex tape broadcasted on the internet has great potential to make life very difficult for you ( unless u intend to be in the sex or entertainment industry and of coursee you look amazing doing it)

4. What support services were made available to this young man after the incident

5. PRIVACY!!!!!

so I think you are being to dismissive of this young mans situation!

Kevin Perez

Mitch Wright, you sound like a apologist or religious fundie trying to act like "netural" to cover their own biases. Spare your self-rightous tirade, it's so easy for others to tell one to "man-up" or "that's life". I'm tired of it. I'm tired of the likes of you and bigots trying so hard to trivialize the seriousness about these issues and pin pointing the blame to the victim. Suicide never struck me as an option but cleary this kid was humilated. Did that really justify FILMING something private for everyone and the world to see. That Ravi intentionally did this to humilate him. Are you straight by any chance? Your mother's cheesy advice sounds that of a bible-thumping bigot because by that logic, that would mean anyone having sex behind closed doors "will come out to the light" problem is, no one is going around setting up cameras to film someone's most personal and inmitate moments for the world to see. How was the kid suppose to know he was being filmed.

I'm tired of people like you complaining about being tired about something you probably not little about. I'm tired of the likes of YOU and others not giving a crap, making a single comment like you know so damn much. Mental health issues? Probably another way for you and others to LGBT have mental problems.


"But I am afraid. The pastors and other professional bigots have put so much effort into the campaign to equate gayness with pedophilia that millions of Americans believe that one implies the other."

Two of my church's little girls raced each other almost half a block to be the first to give me flowers this past Easter Sunday and that is the first thing that went through my mind. Many of the children in my church are children of same sex parents so they would not and did not hesitate. I check by eye contact to see if it's okay with the parents when kids climb on me on Marta also. Most of the time it is.

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