Wear Purple and Stand Up to Homophobic Bullying

October 19, 2010

I remember sitting in my brother’s room a couple weeks ago and seeing on Facebook that an eighteen-year-old student at Rutgers, Tyler Clementi, had committed suicide. I first thought, Oh, that’s a shame. I wonder if depression led to this. Interested in what had happened, I googled it. That’s when I found out that his roommate had used his webcam to record Tyler having sex with another guy. As if this weren’t enough of an invasion of privacy, his roommate livestreamed the images on the Internet for all to see. Understandably, Tyler was completely humiliated by this horrendous act of cruelty. A few days later, he jumped to his death off the George Washington Bridge into the Hudson River. I sat staring at my laptop in shock, and I felt the most disgusted I’ve ever felt in my life.

Stand Up to Homophobia, Wear Purple October 20

Before long, we all became aware that Asher Brown, Seth Walsh, Justin Aaberg and Billy Lucas had also committed suicide as a direct result of homophobic bullying.

A few days later, my friend sent me an invitation to an event through Facebook to wear purple on October 20 for these teens and the many others we haven’t yet heard about who committed suicide as a result of homophobia. Thousands of people have agreed to wear purple to honor them. I wear a uniform to school every day, but I’m going to wear purple bracelets and a hair piece to remember these young people. This is one way to spread awareness about homophobic bullying. If you’re reading this and you are interested in participating, check out these Facebook events here, here and here.

So here’s to you, Tyler, Asher, Seth, Justin and Billy and others. May you rest in peace.

—Sara Racek, 17, Staff Writer

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