Statement from Lambda Legal Deputy Legal Director Hayley Gorenberg on Four Recent Teen Suicides

"Sympathy is not enough."

Date

Date: 
09/29/2010
Hayley Gorenberg

"We must act urgently and do everything in our power to end the prejudice and protect our youth."

Today, as we heard news of the fourth apparent teenage suicide in recent weeks, following antigay bullying and harassment, we felt overwhelming grief and anger. Losing one young person because of bigotry and hate is too much—but two, three, four? Each person and story is unique and tragic, but taken together, they deliver a powerful and painful message: We must act urgently and do everything in our power to end the prejudice and protect our youth.

Our hearts and sympathies are with the families and loved ones of the four young people who took their lives: Seth Walsh, 13 years old, of Tehachapi CA, who hanged himself; Billy Lucas, 15, of Greensburg, Indiana, who also hanged himself; Asher Brown, 13, of Houston, who shot himself in the head; and Tyler Clementi, a college freshman in New Jersey who apparently jumped off the George Washington Bridge after classmates allegedly violated his privacy and webcast live images of him in a sexual encounter.

But sympathy is not enough—we all have a responsibility to take action, and to keep working until all young people are safe and respected, no matter what their sexual orientation or gender identity. We must push for laws on the federal level and in every state that prohibit bullying and discrimination. We must hold people accountable, and use the courts when necessary. And most importantly, we must love and teach all our children to be their best selves and to respect and support others to do the same.

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Contact: Leslie Gabel-Brett; 212-809-8585, ext. 245; lgabel-brett@lambdalegal.org

Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.

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