Suicides of gay teenagers: Four dead in three weeks
Update, 4:45 p.m.
Dan Savage, a gay columnist in Seattle, began a YouTube channel in response to the suicides. He's asked people to upload a video talking about their experience growing up called "It Gets Better." So far, it's been watched over 500,000 times in the past ten days and over 200 videos have been uploaded to the channel.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students are three to four times more likely to commit suicide than straight students, a report by the National Education Policy Center and the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law says.
More than 85 percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students report being harassed because of their sexual or gender identity, and more than 20 percent report being physically attacked.
In the past three weeks, four gay students have committed suicide.
Tyler Clementi a freshman at Rutgers University jumped to his death last week off a bridge a day after authorities say two classmates surreptitiously recorded him having sex with a man in his dorm room and broadcast it over the Internet.
Seth Walsh, 13, committed suicide last week after years of being bullied. The police interviewed several of the students who teased Walsh but determined their actions did not constitute a crime, news reports say.
Asher Brown, also 13, shot himself after being harassed at his middle school in Houston. According to news reports, his parents said they had complained to the school authorities, but the bullying continued. The school reports that no complaints were made.
Billy Lucas, a 15-year-old in Indiana, hanged himself Thursday after being bullied. He never told anyone he was gay, but his classmates acknowledged that he was teased because students assumed he was.
In related news, Andrew Shirvell, a Michigan assistant attorney general started Chris Armstrong Watch, a blog to monitor the newly elected president of the student body at University of Michigan. Chris Armstrong is the first openly gay president in the school's history. Shirvell films Armstrong outside his house, tracks his friends comments on Facebook and wrote on the Internet that Armstrong is "Satan's representative" at the college. On CNN recently, Shirvell said he started the blog because he believes Armstrong has a "radical homosexual agenda," recruiting incoming freshman to the homosexual lifestyle.
While his boss, state Attorney General Mike Cox, said "his immaturity and lack of judgment outside the office are clear," Shirvell has not been fired from his position. Shirvell defended his actions to Anderson Cooper saying he was doing it as private citizen and University of Michigan alumni.
| September 30, 2010; 4:15 PM ET
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