N.J. student's death becomes touchstone for those fighting bullyingNEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) — “Things will get easier; people's minds will change,” Ellen DeGeneres pleads in an Internet video, staring into the camera, her voice breaking. “And you should be alive to see it.”
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) — “Things will get easier; people's minds will change,” Ellen DeGeneres pleads in an Internet video, staring into the camera, her voice breaking. “And you should be alive to see it.”
Just as the murder of Matthew Shepard galvanized the gay community around hate-crime legislation more than a decade ago, the suicide of a Rutgers University student whose sex life was splashed on the Internet has activists rallying around their latest cause: telling tormented gay teens they just need to hang on for a while, that they'll live through it.
Bullying and harassment of young gays and lesbians, and the suicides they have caused, have long been a major topic in gay publications and among activists. But celebrities and others have seized on Clementi's shocking suicide to call attention to the issue.
Prosecutors say Clementi's roommate and another student used a webcam to broadcast on the Internet live images of the 18-year-old Rutgers University freshman having an intimate encounter with another man. Clementi jumped off the George Washington Bridge three days later. His body was identified Thursday.
“To this poor kid, it's better to be dead than to have people know he's gay,” said Jean-Marie Navetta, a spokeswoman for Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. “Therein lies the real tragedy here.”