Jamie Tworkowski, the founder of To Write Love...

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For the past week or so, I have been reading in the papers, online, and on TV about the rash of suicides across this country. The young men who took their lives were also identified as being gay, or accused of it. They were harassed to the point where they felt no one could help them and their only solution, most likely done in the height of extreme emotion, was to take their own lives.

They absolutely did NOT have to die. What I find even more despicable is the atttitude of people in response of all of this. Oh, it was the kid’s fault he killed himself, nobody else’s. Are you serious? So he made all of it up? All the attacks, the hateful diatribes against them, the threats, the alienation was fake? Not long ago, I was browsing the TWLOHA Facebook page and read one of the organizations latest posts on the suicides, and this one girl proudly declared that a boy named Asher Brown was in hell. Not only for taking his life, but because he was gay. Any of you know what To Write Love On Her Arms is about? It’s about suicide prevention, helping young people get help for depression, addictions. Of all places, someone has to make a statement like that? I don’t care if it goes against your religion, show some compassion and mercy, for crying out loud!  Then there’s Tyler Clementi, who took his life after some stupid kids decided to invade his private life and make it available to everyone. Bad enough if it happened to a straight couple, but because Tyler was gay, it made everything worse. We still have that ingrained horror of anyone gay trying to have their own lives. I cannot even imagine the grief his family is experiencing over his loss. No words I can offer could make the Clementi family regain their son. All I have is this rage at the cruelty done to this gifted young man, and what his loss has done to his family. Some others to mention here: Billy Lucas. Seth Walsh, who hung himself and finally passed away a week later. Do you really want me to add to that list?

See, this is where part of the problem lies. Religion, for most of us, has shaped our lives and our views on the world. Many still consider homosexuality an abomination, and waste no time to denounce it at every opportunity. They feel THEY are being discriminated when they are told they can’t make hateful speeches against gays and drag the whole freedom of speech bit into the mess. The fact is, that religion is not the rule of law in America. We have something called the Constitution and Bill of Rights that shape the rules. So which is more important? Religion or rule of law?

The fact that there are people in this country who are hell-bent on making gays an illegal species is frightening. They don’t see them as human beings, and have no qualms in regards to hate crimes or even murder. Recall the charming words of Virginia Foxxe? She declared that the murder of Matthew Shepard was a ‘hoax’. Shepard’s mother was sitting right behind this foolish woman. People think it’s perfectly acceptable to express that level of hatred against another person, that it’s their Constitutional right to do so under the First Amendment. Maybe it’s free speech in their eyes, but it’s in enormously poor taste and aimed to hurt others. They believe the GLBT community does not have the right to exist as human beings. If they were classified as human, that means they are entitled to equal rights, and in their religious views, that goes against God. Apparently their bible trumps the laws of this nation as well.

So, is bullying covered under free speech? Do any of you know what it’s like to be bullied? To be so afraid that you don’t even want to go to school?  To be reminded by bullies day after day that you are worthless, unwanted, hated, that you’re better off dead? Because you don’t fit in? And we have people saying those boys who committed suicide were selfish cowards who couldn’t stand up to a bit of teasing. Teasing is goosedown compared to bullying. Bullying is designed to destroy the victim, to break down every fragment of self-worth the victim ever had, with no chance of recovery. I’m sick to death of people blaming liberals and Democrats for making ‘wimpy’ kids. I’m fed up with people bashing teachers because they’re indoctrinating students to be weak. It’s total BS. It is NOT a rite of passage for children to suffer that kind of abuse. It is NOT acceptable behavior and kids should just ‘get over it’. It is absolute garbage. I was bullied from kindergarten all the way through high school. It wasn’t until I reached middle school that I began to have suicidal thoughts. I was bullied because kids thought I was retarded, because I was odd-looking due to my birth defects. I got called horrible names, but I was also physically assaulted by bullies as well. If I dared complain about it, it would only make things worse. Just picture getting up each day, wondering what will happen to you in the hallways. I would get hit, sucker punched in the back or arms, tripped, slammed into the walls. I had my lockers door shut on my hands many times when getting books out of my locker. Another time they slammed it on my head. Put another kid in my place, and it just so happens they’re gay. I’ll bet you it would be exactly the same. My dad put me in karate classes when he found out about my being beat up. At that point though, most of the damage was done. I hated my life, I hated what happened to me, I hated everyone around me. I was convinced I was a freak, that I was a monster, and that no one would ever love me. I wasn’t teased over sexuality, I was terrorized for being disabled, yet that fear is the same.

This has to stop. Is this what it’s going to take, to make a solid effort to declare that bullying is downright wrong and inappropriate? How many more young lives have to end before we say enough is enough? Go to To Write Love On Her Arms website, send them e-mails about how you feel about this tragedy. Let the founder, Jamie Tworkowski know how much this upsets you and what you can do to help prevent the loss of more young lives. Go to the Human Rights Campaign website and there’s a petition you can sign to urge Washington to take immediate action about this problem. I am doing this blog post because this is an issue that hits far too close to home for me, and I want to do something about it. Heck, if you read this and then check out the sites, maybe mention this blog! We cannot afford to lose our future in these young people.

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