Lament and Resolve for Victims of Hate Crimes

On September 22, Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old college freshman at Rutgers University in New Jersey, jumped from the George Washington Brudge in what the New York Times is calling an “apparent suicide.” Clementi’s 18-year-old roommate and another 18-year-old classmate have been charged with illegally taping and broadcasting video of Clementi in an intimate encounter with another man. Clementi was a promising young violinist, and for the perpetrators of this hate crime, “The most serious charges carry a maximum sentence of five years.” Three lives have been ruined, in addition to the ripple effect of grief on family and friends. Our response must be not only lament, but also resolve to speak out for the inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people at all levels of society.

The next day, on September 23, Asher Brown, a gay 13-year-old eighth-grader in Houston, Texas “shot himself in the head.”  As reported in the Houston Chronicle, his family describes him as being “bullied to death” by his classmates, in particular for his sexuality.  Asher was a straight-A student. Our response must be not only lament, but also resolve to speak out for the inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people at all levels of society.

On Friday, September 3, according to the Lincoln, Nebraska Journal Star, another hate crime was committed when a 19-year-old man verbally harassed and physically assaulted a 32-year-old man for being gay. Our response must be not only lament, but also resolve to speak out for the inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people at all levels of society.

This short, but devastating, list reflects only the hate crimes documented this month alone at The Unfinished Lives Project website, “a place of public discourse which remembers and honors LGBT hate crime victims, while also revealing the reality of unseen violence perpetrated against people whose only ‘offense’ is their sexual orientation.” Our response must be not only lament, but also resolve to speak out for the inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people at all levels of society.

About Carl Gregg

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