Social Question

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

If gay is as normal as having red hair why kill yourself if bullied behind it?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (21300 points ) October 17th, 2010

You can always count on the media to jump on a hot button story. After the story broke about Tyler Clementi committing suicide because he was exposed as Gay by his roomy and a friend more and more stories have come out in the local news and paper. Like the spotlight being shed on some phenomenon of gay kids getting bullied, and/or driven to take their life.

That is tragic, however I have to think, logically if there is nothing more than being Gay than being born with freckles why kill yourself because of it? If a kid was teased for having freckles I don’t believe that fact alone is enough to make a kid want to end it. When a Gay kid gets outted is it coincidence that their suicide coincides with the exposing of the secret? Not all kids that off themselves are Gay, but the news I am hearing makes it seem like the fact they are Gay and/or exposed as Gay that the shame of it was the straw that broke the camel’s back causing them to end it.

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51 Answers

jonsblond's avatar

How can we judge someone when they don’t feel accepted? How would you feel? What would you do?

Winters's avatar

some people simply just can’t cope with it, the shame, these one’s are embarrassed about this revelation to others who in turn happen to make fun of, tease, bully, etc. the person in question. They have a tremendous amount of insecurity and well, they simply decide that the best way out is death so they won’t have to deal with it any longer.

Personally, even though I agree that its wrong to bully someone to that extent, but I also think that the one’s who do commit suicide are choosing the cowardly way out, suicide may be the “easier” way out, but rarely is it ever the right one.

YARNLADY's avatar

My sister actually said she wished she could kill herself because of the teasing she got over her freckles. She thought it meant there was something wrong with her.

DominicX's avatar

What makes you think that most gay kids who kill themselves do so because they were exposed as being gay? If that were true, then there would be absolutely no comparison to red hair and freckles because people can see red hair and freckles, but they can’t see homosexuality; it’s always something you have to tell people. (I’m of course insinuating that there is no comparison at all in the first place. The fact that you even try to compare the two shows your lack of understanding of this subject).

It seems to me that gay kids who commit suicide were driven to suicide by bullying (or by rejection from family and friends), thus people already know they’re gay and the reason they committed suicide was not because they were “outed”; they’ve already been outed.

Response moderated (Personal Attack)
FutureMemory's avatar

A lot of people hate gays. Ever hear of Matthew Shepard?

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
augustlan's avatar

This is just ridiculous. Seriously. Many young gay people are fucking tormented, day in and day out, even if they’re not “out”. Many of their families, churches, and peers condemn homosexuality… how are they supposed to feel in the face of that? Once they’re out, whether by choice or not, the torment only escalates. Now their opponents have a handy target to take out their hate on. I’m honestly amazed that more of these kids haven’t killed themselves.

The problem is not them, it is US. Until we insist on equal rights and humane treatment for all people, we are allowing this shit to continue.

Austinlad's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central, how can you possibly make such a judgment without living a gay life? How can you equate the color of hair with a sexual preference that religion, politics and society at large has branded, to the shame of us all, shameful and unnatural?

Deja_vu's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central Seriously??? You can’t fathom the torment a person endures by being gay? Then you compare it to being freckled?? There is no comparison.
If gay is as normal as having red hair why kill yourself if bullied behind it?
In your question it’s like you are saying there is something wrong with being gay. Is that your point? It’s in your question. You are asking if it’s normal? Are you homophobic?
Geez I’m seeing red.
All sorts of kids that are bullied kill have killed themselves. Why make this a question about gays? ahhhhhhhhhh

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I’m gay. I’m out. I’m 47 years old, and I’m just now beginning to heal from the relentless, vitriolic abuse I endured all through childhood and adolescence.

This question makes me want to be sick.

I never heard a preacher demonizing red hair and freckles. It’s not illegal for people with those characteristics to marry because of them. The list could go on and on.

jrpowell's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central :: This is where you delete your account.

downtide's avatar

It’s the bullying that causes the suicide, not the gayness. People DO get bullied over their appearance and they DO commit suicide over it.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@DominicX If that were true, then there would be absolutely no comparison to red hair and freckles because people can see red hair and freckles, but they can’t see homosexuality; it’s always something you have to tell people. Yes, which logically makes homosexuality more easy to mitigate because no one can just point you out in a crowd with 100% certainty that you are gay or not off looks (unless you are dressing way different and in a way that would make people think it).

The fact that you even try to compare the two shows your lack of understanding of this subject The comparison is quite germane to the line of thought a lot of Gays believe. When it comes to being Gay many believe it is no different than if they were born blonde, Asian, tall, etc, they did not choose it, it is just the way they are, and since it is just the way they are it is no more wrong than those who were born Asian, with curly hair, red hair, brown eyes, etc. because there is nothing wrong with being born with brown eyes, or red haired with freckles, etc.

Question has nothing to do with why they are Gay or how anyone other then them view it.

@augustlan Many young gay people are fucking tormented, day in and day out, even if they’re not “out”. I have no ideal. How many people are bullied and teased because they were born with Aspergers, albinism, turrets, dwarfism, etc? How many people who have them found it ingratiated them more to their peer group? Again, I don’t know, not important to the question. If only 1% of 1% of Gay kids kill themselves because they were Gay it is the reason why they did it that would be the question, not how many overall got bullied or had no support, unless it was the lack of support that contributed to them killing themselves.

@Austinlad how can you possibly make such a judgment without living a gay life? I made no judgment at all, reread the post. I did not say they should have killed themselves because they were doing abnormal things. Etc. Neither did I say they should get their ass beat everyday because of it.

How can you equate the color of hair with a sexual preference that religion, politics and society at large has branded, to the shame of us all, shameful and unnatural? I can equate it off logic provided my by Gay people themselves; that they believe they are not living a life style or a sexual preference they are born that way and that is just the way they are, no different than if they were born a dwarf. Being born a dwarf has no wrong or right value attached to it, it is what it is.

@Deja_vu You can’t fathom the torment a person endures by being gay? I can’t any more than either of us could imagine what it would be like to be tormented for having albinism, but that is not the crux of the question. I have not been bullied for being Gay, I have been bullied for being one of only kids in a school of 260 to 300 kids to wear glasses. You get picked on, picked last for teams, have your stuff tampered with, get called tons of names, etc. Each person has their own bullied experience and no one can really imagine what the person has gone through because there is logically no way. We can get pass that point.

In your question it’s like you are saying there is something wrong with being gay. Is that your point? Point out where my question says that no confusion and I will eat a pile of earth worms. That is not what I said or was saying.

Are you homophobic? Great Caesar’s ghost……..anytime a person ask a question about Gays other than how do I sign up it has to be homophobia? I have had Gay friends in the past until they moved away from where I was, so I doubt I am afraid of homosexuals.

Lets follow the logic, just the plain and very simple logic. Many Gays I have spoken with (as well as many I have read about) believe their being Gay is just how they were born, nothing unnatural about it, as natural as if there were born with red hair and freckles but you can say dwarfism, turrets, etc. When a person is born with turrets or with red hair most would not say “you are wrong, not right, etc” simply because they were born with a trait they did not choose, it chose them. You following me now? With that IF a person or teen who is Gay commits suicide near or about the time they are outted as being Gay (which they believe is as natural as any other trait or whatever the rest of us are born with) was it mere coincidence or was it because they had their covers pulled? If it was do to the fact that their covers pulled WHY would they when there is nothing wrong with being born Gay, when they did not chose it, it chose them_? Did you follow that? Are you clear now on the logic of the question?

stardust's avatar

This is a ridiculous question. Unless you have any insight into the mind of a suicidal person – gay or not – you cannot make judgements based on why they feel that way.
On another note, conditioning would have us beleieve that being gay equates to being different. Most kids internalise this archaic notion and the wheels of self torment begin. This may not be the case for everyone. Society needs to change. If we were all more connected with ourselves, none of this would matter.

downtide's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central I don;t know whether more LGBT teens are bullied because of their sexuality, than other teens bullied for other reasons. I don’t have access to those sort of statistics. From personal experience my sexuality/gender identity was coincidental; I was bullied mainly becauseof my disability and I did get suicidal about it. Statistically (if I’d followed through with it) I may have been another transgendered teen that committed suicide but the assumption of that being the cause wouldn’t have been correct.

However. There is a big difference. The bullies somehow think gayness is worse than red hair, worse than wearing glasses, worse than being fat or short or disabled. LGBT kids (and adults) endure more persistant, more violent and more pervasive bullying and prejudice than many other minority groups. Also in many cases, especially in the USA, a LGBT teen can’t get protection from adults in the same way a disabled kid can, because the adults may be religious and they may think the kids’ sexuality is evil, whereas they wouldn’t think that about a disabled kid. With bullying based on sexuality, the bullies think they have God on their side. What teenager can defend him or herself against that, day in day out for years and years without any adult protection?

Deja_vu's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central I’ll quote @hawaii_jake I never heard a preacher demonizing red hair and freckles. It’s not illegal for people with those characteristics to marry because of them. The list could go on and on.
What with the wording of your question if you don’t have a problem with gays???

As for the suicides it wasn’t just because they were gay!? It must of been lots of problems. Needless to say, there’s hate in this world and the bullys probley just pushed them over the edge. The fact is they were tormented for being gay and thats sick. aaaaaaaaaaahhhhh

nebule's avatar

sheesh!!! Well, as someone who has been bullied extensively for having red hair I can honestly say that it has had me, at times on the verge of suicide. And as someone who came out as bi-sexual not too long ago and who hasn’t been bullied for that… in my experience the two are not equatable but that’s not to say that they can’t be at all. Any form of bullying, for whatever reason is wrong and it shouldn’t be a question about choice either… whether I choose to have red hair or be gay. If I chose to die my hair green does that give people the right to bully me? I don’t think so.

@Hypocrisy_Central IN all humility I do think the wording of your question is a little confusing as to where you stand and what you are trying to say here. But that’s just my opinion x

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@nebule Well, as someone who has been bullied extensively for having red hair I can honestly say that it has had me, at times on the verge of suicide. Whoever did not like it didn’t for whatever reasons they had. However, I don’t believe you thought you were somehow wrong or not correct because you had red hair did you? And would you have started to think you were wrong or of the Devil if you had heard some Bible thumping preacher saying that people with red hair are ungodly and Hell bound, or would you have dismissed it and continued to believe there was nothing wrong with you?

IN all humility I do think the wording of your question is a little confusing as to where you stand and what you are trying to say here. That is why you have to just read the question not add stuff into it off emotion, just deal with the facts. I could have gone into very finite detail but I was going on the assumption that Flutheronians were smarter than ABers and I did not have to drop bread crumbs at every step that reading just the facts Jellies were smart enough to connect the dots, guess I was wrong. Next time I will have to spell out and explain every syllable to leave no room for people missing what’s important because emotion blinded them. ;-)

FutureMemory's avatar

Flutheronians

augustlan's avatar

Let me be perfectly clear. There isn’t anything “more wrong” about being gay, than having red hair. However, everyone knows that you have red hair, from birth or shortly afterward, and only dickheads who don’t care about you at all are likely to make fun of you for it. (Full disclosure: I have red hair. I was teased. No one ever told me I was going to burn in hell for it. No one ever beat the shit out of me for it.) Your family, church and friends are highly unlikely to A) believe you are evil due to your hair color and B) even if they did believe such nonsense, they wouldn’t tell you so to your face, because they love you.

Conversely, gay youngsters are conditioned from a very early age that there is something wrong with being homosexual. People who would never dream of saying hurtful things to someone they know is gay, are still likely to say disparaging things to those who haven’t come out yet. That means your homophobic dad/religious sister/macho best friend are fucking you up, even before YOU know you’re gay sometimes!

So, imagine it: according to messages you’ve received since early childhood, being gay is terrible. It’s even a sin. You go to hell for it! And here you are, a boy developing crushes on boys. What a terrible internal struggle that must be! And if you manage to work through all of that in a healthy way, and come out… well along comes someone to kick your ass. Repeatedly. Perhaps even sodomize you against your will. Maybe even kill you. (See Matthew Shephard, above.)

Or, you haven’t worked through your internal struggle yet. Or maybe you’re just not ready to break the news to your parents. Maybe you’ll never tell them, because you know they’d disown you. Well, here comes some asshat who thinks it’s hilarious to tape your sexual encounters without your knowledge and posts it on the internet, for the fucking world to see.

Do you honestly not see that it’s not the fact of being gay, but society’s reaction to it that drives these kids to suicide?

And, I’m pretty sure you knew exactly what you were implying by asking this question.

thekoukoureport's avatar

I don’t think we should ask anyone to delete their account. A collective should have all ideas out in the open so when we encounter an opinion we disagree with. We can foster intellegent conversation and perhaps shed light on a subject in a way that was not thought of before and perhaps change that opinion.

@augustlan Bravo!

ducky_dnl's avatar

Actually the kids that kill themselves, whether gay or straight, had a mental illness. If a straight kid kills themselve, they had a “mental illness.” If a homosexual kid kills themselve, it was because they were bullied or rejected. No, for both parties, they had some type of chemical imbalance. If they were okay with themselves and their lifestyle, they wouldn’t have killed themselves in the first place. A chemical imbalance has to be factored in there somewhere.

Kayak8's avatar

There are a few “actors” in the scenario and their relative actions are being confused and complicated in both the question and some of the answers above. There is the gay kid, there are the bullies, and there is society.

The gay kid’s action in the scenario is taking his/her own life presumably as a response to torment (and possibly as a result of being outed to others who may or may not know or accept the situation of the kid’s being gay). The gay kid may or may not have indicated to others that he/she is gay, but bullies will pick on someone based on THEIR perceptions (not necessarily facts). It is also known that teens, developmentally, may or may not completely appreciate the scope of their actions (the impacts of development may be seen both in the behavior of both the gay kid and the bullies).

The bullies are picking on the kid for something he/she can’t do anything about (like having red hair), but the level of torment may be significantly variable based on the “differentness” of the perceived “flaw.” Perhaps only one person teases you for being gay or having freckles and you are able to tolerate it. This is an additive equation and torment from multiple angles may significantly reduce the ability to cope with the torment. The scale of torment may also be variable ranging from simple teasing to flat-out violence against the individual perceived as different (think lynching in relation to race or the case of Matthew Shepherd as pointed out above).

On top of this, throw in society. The society may ensure reinforcement of the negative of the perceived difference. For example, hair coloring may be available for red-heads to change their hair color, but I have yet to see messages specifically targeted to red-heads implying that they NEED to change because having red-hair is just wrong.

Race, religion, gender normative behavior, and sexual orientation all seem to be greeted with much stronger messages regarding conformity. The tenor of these messages can also vary from the mild to the extreme. Hatefilled, vitriolic speech is not typically focused on hair-color or freckles.

So you take the kid who, developmentally, may feel that his or her torment may never end. The bullies’ actions are underscored by the societal behavior and hope may completely disappear. This has nothing to do with a chemical imbalance

The difference in coping, for most gay youth, is that being gay is the one trait (for which you can be abused) that you don’t share with your parents. If someone is bullied at school for being Black, they often go home to their (at least one) Black parent who can help moderate the collective struggle. Obviously there is the exception of adoption (white folks adopting Black kids), but these parents enter the relationship knowing they are going to have to work twice as hard to make sure their child is accepted.

For many gay kids, the typical role models to which one turns in times of emotional upheaval (parents, guidance counselors, pastors, etc.) can be just as much a source of hate as the bullies. Who does the kid turn to for support?

I came out as a lesbian in 1978. I have been out for more than half my life at this point but it takes very little effort to recall how I felt as a confused teen with nowhere to turn. My parents were not a good choice (for a number of reasons including the fact that my dad was actively dying while I was a senior in high school). Representatives from my church simply were not a valid and affirming choice at the time (but they are today).

I was incredibly lucky to have a high school teacher who I felt comfortable talking with (who, as it turns out, was a not-so-obvious gay man). He didn’t out himself to me at the time, but he certainly supported me and he and his partner of 45 years have continued to be my well-spring of support over the years. The harassment I received was likely moderated by the fact that I exhibited a gender-normative physical presence in high school.

The message that “it will get better” is the single thing I heard as a teen that gave me hope. The “It Gets Better” Campaign targeted at gay youth is brilliant and shares the singular message that these kids need to hear.

Facade's avatar

Although I’m not a lesbian, I can see that it is very difficult to be gay in a society that, for the most part, thinks it’s “wrong.” Imagine being told the way the core of yourself is is wrong or disgusting. Imagine not being accepted by people because of something you can’t change. Being tormented for any reason can cause a person to want to just end it all.
@Hypocrisy_Central I’m not really sure where you’re going with this question, but as you can tell from our responses, it’s not looking good.

Seaofclouds's avatar

It’s not just about the bullying, it’s also about the lack of support from people around them. Some of these kids grow up in areas that are so anti-gay it’s scary. Their parents, teachers, preachers, and sometimes even friends speak badly about gays, so who are they suppose to turn to for support, understanding, and even help when they start feeling like suicide is the only answer? Some of these kids are told to kill themselves because of being gay by the people bullying them.

Children that are bullied because of their looks or a medical condition usually have family that will support and help them, along with friends, teachers, and preachers. They have people to go to to help them when they feel like they have hit rock bottom.

It’s really sad that gay children can grow up in areas where they have no one to turn to when they hit rock bottom. That is the problem. That is something our society as a whole needs to work on. Plain and simple.

absalom's avatar

Can’t believe I’m about to do this again.

Mamradpivo's avatar

It’s very rare for bigoted people to beat you up, rape you or murder you because you have red hair. However, this happens far too often in America to gay people.

Nobody’s family ever disowned them for looking a little to Irish. But in the 21st century, gay men and women are still sometimes afraid to tell their families who they actually are.

I think here’s your answer. Being gay is no different from having red hair, at least on a biological basis. But there’s a whole industry (church and political) devoted to fomenting hatred toward gay people, so it’s different socially.

syz's avatar

You know, guys, it’s actually a good thing that questions like this get posted.

I live in an area rich in higher education, and I associate pretty much exclusively with educated, open-minded, liberal people (in spite of what the OP would have you believe, liberal is not a dirty word). I am respected at work for what I can do, and don’t suffer any negative effects of my sexuality. So I have a skewed view of the world. I forget that so many people exist in what is essentially a different world than my own.

Best case scenario would be that the OP is a product of his generation or his environment, and yet manages to think for himself once he realizes his own ignorance. Worst case scenario would be that he is a provocateur, a bastion of bigotry and hate. The more likely situation is that he’s somewhere in the middle, someone who is convinced of his own truth but doesn’t see that he’s doing any harm.

In any of those situations, it’s a good reminder to the rest of us that our society hasn’t progressed a far as we would like to think.

absalom's avatar

So, @Hypocrisy_Central:

If gay is as normal as having red hair why kill yourself if bullied behind it?

How many mature adults bully others for having red hair? None, I should hope. People tend to learn sometime in high school that there is no reason to bully another for the color of his hair. And yet there are still plenty of ‘mature’ adults who bully or look down on homosexuality. Try to imagine it: gay people encounter bullies everywhere, at every age, and sometimes these bullies are impossible to avoid. Sometimes these bullies masquerade as peaceful religious organizations or as politicians concerned with upholding artificial family values. Sometimes these bullies are parents or employers. We are told that ‘it gets better,’ which is a nice message, but that’s not always true. And for youth in high school (or middle school) it’s especially difficult to imagine a future in which homosexuality is accepted, because for every positive and progressive message in the media there is another dissident one – usually louder – that refuses to accept the normalcy of homosexuality. There are no ‘churches’ that exclusively target red-headed people, there are no GOD HATES GINGERS signs.

the news I am hearing makes it seem like the fact they are Gay and/or exposed as Gay that the shame of it was the straw that broke the camel’s back causing them to end it.

I’d politely suggest that you’ve misheard the news.

…logically makes homosexuality more easy to mitigate…

No, homosexuality cannot be ‘mitigated’ – can you mitigate your being straight? It’s a sexuality, not a noise you can (or should have to) lower the volume of. And if you mean the appearance of homosexuality can be mitigated – as in children should have to hide who they are – then I think you’re hardly better than the bullies asking for the same thing. It’s like saying, ‘Well, if Tyler Clementi had just hidden his sexuality a little better than he wouldn’t have had to kill himself.’ And that of course is ridiculous because Tyler Clementi believed he had privacy when he was with another man, and it was his roommate who used a webcam to invade that privacy. Don’t you think it’s ridiculous that you are telling people to hide parts of themselves, then turning around and criticizing them for feeling shame? What else would you expect?

The comparison is quite germane…. Question has nothing to do with why they are Gay or how anyone other then them view it.

How they view it is very much informed by how others view it. I think that should be obvious.

You list other genetic traits that are causes for bullying, like red hair, and you imply that if homosexuality is genetic (as homosexual people often argue) it should not be a source of shame for an individual. I would point you to the first part of my answer above and remind you that bullying against homosexuality doesn’t stop. I would also remind you that the recent suicides have all been committed by young people – impressionable young people – who I can only assume were somewhat like me, when I was that age: uncertain. That uncertainty is what the bullies are exploiting in the first place. If gay youth were allowed to be more sure of themselves, then I think bullying wouldn’t affect them as much as it does.

Of course, it’s impossible to be certain. Many (though not all) straight people have the luxury of sliding blissfully unaware toward their sexual affinities. But for a lot of gay youth, sexuality is almost always addressed, at first, as a question that we have to answer. Am I gay? Am I straight? What am I?* And if the answer we discover is deemed ‘incorrect’ by our peers or by society generally, then further uncertainty is the inevitable result. This is what separates homosexuality from other genetic traits. A person with red hair can look in the mirror and have certainty and can know that she didn’t choose to have red hair. And no one is stupid enough to tell her, not even the bullies, that she has made the incorrect choice of having red hair. And yet we have knuckle-dragging Neanderthal idiots telling gay youth, every day, that homosexuality is not only wrong but a choice that they’ve made and need to reconsider.

*This question of selfhood, which is an act of discovery, should not be confused with the concept of choice.

I can equate it off logic provided my by Gay people themselves; that they believe they are not living a life style or a sexual preference they are born that way and that is just the way they are…

You’ve misunderstood @Austinlad‘s meaning. He is comparing the torment caused by gay bullying with the torment caused by other forms of bullying based on something as silly as hair color. As @Austinlad has said, having red hair is not something that ‘religion, politics and society at large has branded, to the shame of us all, shameful and unnatural.’ Do you see the difference?

I have been bullied for being one of only kids in a school of 260 to 300 kids to wear glasses. You get picked on, picked last for teams, have your stuff tampered with, get called tons of names, etc.

Gee, that sounds like a walk in the fucking park to me. Imagine if you’d been bespectacled and gay!

anytime a person ask a question about Gays other than how do I sign up it has to be homophobia?

Forgive us for reading into the rhetoric you seem to have employed accidentally. Examples:

1. Questioning the normalcy of homosexuality (If gay is as normal as having red hair…)
2. Dismissing the tragedy of the suicides (a hot button story)
3. Implying homosexuality is something to be hidden (he was exposed as Gay)
4. Rendering Tyler Clementi’s roommate somehow innocuous/ innocent/ normal/ relatable (by his roomy)
5. Suggesting this is anything more than tragic (really?) (That is tragic, however…)
6. See 3. (When a Gay kid gets outted)
7. Suggesting that concealing one’s homosexuality isn’t a bad idea (makes homosexuality more easy to mitigate)
8. More or less telling gay youth to endure bullying like others do (We can get pass that point.) (No, some of us can’t.)
9. Suggesting there’s a sign-up sheet for being gay, i.e. a choice (lol?) (a question about Gays other than how do I sign up)
10. Resorting to the classic gay friends argument. (I have had Gay friends in the past…)
11. Invoking natural v. unnatural (believe their being Gay is just how they were born, nothing unnatural about it) (Here’s a hint: it has nothing to do with belief; it’s natural.)
12. Invoking us v. them (them being gay people, even though you’re in a thread that will draw plenty of gay people) (whatever the rest of us are born with)
13. See 6, 3. (had their covers pulled)
14. Continually referring to logic despite apparent absence of said logic (everywhere)

&c.

I’m quite sure these phrases are accidental, and I’m not saying they necessarily incriminate you, but they appear to me to be the product of a prejudiced person. Maybe I’m wrong. Your language is, anyway, demeaning in places.

You seem to have ignored @DominicX‘s quip, in which he informed you that some of these kids were already out and had been out at the time of their suicides. It has nothing to do with ‘cover’ being ‘blown’ or whatever idiom you’d like to use. It has only to do with the bullying. That’s it. The cause of the suicides is the bullying, mental or physical or emotional or otherwise; the cause of the bullying is the kids’ inability to understand that homosexuality is normal.

That is why you have to just read the question not add stuff into it off emotion, just deal with the facts.

Aha, no no. We will also read between the lines of the question. There is more information there, in this case, than anywhere else.

Next time I will have to spell out and explain every syllable to leave no room for people missing what’s important because emotion blinded them. ;-)

Then do that, and risk confronting your own prejudices.

Obviously this is going to receive emotional responses. To expect otherwise is plainly stupid. We’re talking, after all, about children committing suicide.

downtide's avatar

@absalom and @augustlan applause for both of your answers.

Mikewlf337's avatar

because people are bullied to hell and back for being who they are. People don’t have to agree with anything they don’t want to. That isn’t a golden ticket to be a complete ass and try to hurt people. This is why I hate people. They expect people to meet their standards and expect people to change the way they are and how they live their lives. This may contridict what I have said in the past but NOTHING IS NORMAL! it is all just a point of view. Nobody has the right to judge a person and make his/her life a living hell. wether a person agrees with homosexuality, gay marriage, etc is not important in this question. The fact is bullying someone because they disapprove of what they do with their lives is nothing more than being a douchebag.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, look at the nature of the situation. It wasn’t so much that he was gay, as the fact that they posted VIDEO of him having sex. I’d want to die of mortification if someone posted a video of me having sex. The gay aspect just made it that much worse for him.

Mikewlf337's avatar

@Dutchess_III I agree that was completely wrong what they did in so many ways.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Mikewlf337 That kind of thing should carry severe legal penalties.

iamthemob's avatar

The message that “it will get better” is the single thing I heard as a teen that gave me hope. The “It Gets Better” Campaign targeted at gay youth is brilliant and shares the singular message that these kids need to hear.

This is perhaps the main issue. It’s so easy to feel like you’re alone when you realize your sexuality doesn’t line up with what society expects, and see, for the most part, only hate hurled at you.

But I think that @Hypocrisy_Central‘s question is an important one. The problem with the way the media has and might continue to handle this is the focus on Tyler’s sexuality as opposed to the shame and embarrassment that would be associated with this happening to any young man starting college, or what should be associated with it. It ironically sends the message, potentially, that the reason why one would kill himself because of this would be because it was a homosexual encounter, rather than generally humiliating.

It’s a double-edged sword. We want to expose the problems unique to gay teens, and the reasons why suicide rates are so high. We also want to emphasize that the shame associated with it is internalized because of negative outside influences, and not because of any inherent shame associated with it. The thing that we want to look at as this goes forward is how much it tends to re-emphasize that Tyler would have automatically been shamed because he was “exposed as a homosexual” or a “homosexual act was exposed.”

Ironically, it may tend to reinforce the idea of a natural homosexual shame as much as the idea that there should be such a thing as the “gay panic” defense – that someone’s fear of their own sexuality should explain violent behavior against others, as it’s used here to explain violent behavior to oneself.

downtide's avatar

If kids are raised to think homosexuality is wrong, unnatural and evil, and to believe that all homosexuals go to Hell, then it’s natural for them to panic when they first start to suspect they might be gay.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@augustlan Do you honestly not see that it’s not the fact of being gay, but society’s reaction to it that drives these kids to suicide? What I see is that though someone with turrets, or aspergers might get picked on and also might get more sympathy and support, I see gay kids has having some of that. Maybe there is less support but the way it is being said here is that Gays have not gained any ground socially. When I was a kid you never had any celebrities, government officials or sports figures that would openly tout their homosexuality –at lean so few you could count them on one hand and not use all your fingers.—

And, I’m pretty sure you knew exactly what you were implying by asking this question. Sorry, your powers of clairvoyance failed you this time as it has many here, I want to know if a person who is Gay and believe they are like anyone else and their attraction for the same sex is who they are and not what they chose to be if that was the reason behind their suicide why? Now instead of guessing what is between the lines or going fishing for such one could say “It was the crush of society, It was the rejection of family, it was whatever” that would be at least something some opinion based off the question not trying to decide what the question what you think the question said of facts not in it.

@thekoukoureport A collective should have all ideas out in the open so when we encounter an opinion we disagree with. We can foster intellegent conversation and perhaps shed light on a subject in a way that was not thought of before and perhaps change that opinion. Thank you for a beacon of rational thought here. I would not delete my account for anything much less because people are fishing in a question for a bigot bass that isn’t in the pond. The only real dumb question is one that don’t need to be asked because the answer is so evident like “is the sky blue?”

@Facade I’m not really sure where you’re going with this question, but as you can tell from our responses, it’s not looking good. If you take a stroll through the woods at night and believe the boogey man is out there then every sound, every bush or shadow they throw is going to tell you the boogey man you believe is there is coming to get you. Thus causing you to miss the owl you could have seen or the sky full of stars. You get what you look for, and if an attack is what you seek you will find it. I am not apart of the group or individual that made your life hell, and I am not attacking anyone.

Here is what I say once again and I will simplify it to the ridiculous I would say dumb it down but someone might want to put words into my mouth for that. There are three ways it can be looked at:
1. Gay people’s sexual orientation is a born normal trait as anything else.
2. Gay people’s sexual orientation is an abnormality like albinism or dwarfism.
3. Gay people’s sexual orientation was by choice. (they were not born that way).

That is basically how any person who is Gay can view it, how they decide to view it could be how their family and friends view it, and if that view was that homosexuality is wrong if they think they are or know they are they might never plan on sharing that.

They could view it as that is just who they are NO MATTER HOW FAMILY AND SOCIETY see it. And at one point they are going to ”come out” and be who they are with people of like minds or Gay like themselves. It might still be harder to be Gay but I dare anyone to say it is as hard as it use to be. Do you actually think there would have been a Gay Pride parade in 1963 or earlier that would not have ended with a riot?

A Gay person highly unlikely could say they were Gay by choice and they can turn it off whenever they please.

I am addressing those who would land more towards seeing it as that is just who they are. I would suspect they would see it as just a fact of their being not wrong or right no matter what anyone told them or what they thought. So, even if they were not going to make an issue of it, if it came out it would be no big whoop.

I guess what people are trying to say that if Clementi never had his privacy invaded and was exposed in such a public manner he would have jumped off the George Washington anyhow, his being Gay or the shame of it had nothing to do with it whatsoever. I guess he would have killed himself anyhow had he been straight and was caught boinking some coed on secret cam too? If that was the case then Ravi and Wei have it in the clear, all they did was a Boorish prank of invading Clementi’s privacy and Gay or not Gay had no factor in the equation.

But he did jump, and right after he was streamed Online having a Gay encounter, so it begs did his leap off the GW was due to just the fact he was secret cammed or secret cammed in a Gay encounter he did not want people to know about? If he did not want people to know about it why? Logically if it was just something he was born with and felt nothing wrong with being Gay it would not be something to kill yourself over because a few butt nuggets thought so and tried to use it to humiliate you and use you for the foil of their joke.

@Deja_vu What with the wording of your question if you don’t have a problem with gays??? Point them out, I will go through them syllable by syllable if need be. Just what problem with Gays do you feel I have? Give me some details because you seem to know more of what is in my head then I do myself which sadly is not true.

@syz I live in an area rich in higher education, and I associate pretty much exclusively with educated, open-minded, liberal people (in spite of what the OP would have you believe, liberal is not a dirty word). Excuse me, where in my post did I mention the ‘L’ word or what I thought of it? Another person trying to put words into my mouth I never said….jeeeez. You brought that one out of the hat, not me. And I never said anything about conservatives or liberals, if you can point it out where I said it directly and not off hunch or speculation I will mail you $50.

Best case scenario would be that the OP is a product of his generation or his environment, and yet manages to think for himself once he realizes his own ignorance. Ignorance would be to run off on a tangent with out the right facts. I have always given you the courtesy of not putting words in your mouth or speculating where and how you formed your opinion so please pay back that same courtesy. If you don’t hear me say it directly don’t guess, you’d be wrong 98.5% of the time.

@absalom Tyler Clementi believed he had privacy when he was with another man, and it was his roommate who used a webcam to invade that privacy. Don’t you think it’s ridiculous that you are telling people to hide parts of themselves, then turning around and criticizing them for feeling shame? A person feels shame over many different things. I can say if Clementi should feel ashamed or not, only he would know that. Some people are ashamed of their albinism, or their turrets some are even shame of being obese. Those who are comfortable in their skin be it dwarfed, super sized, Gay, or whatever can manage, make piece, not be fazed or whatever else you want to call it. Logically if Clementi was “OK” in his skin simply being revealed as Gay would have been a speed bump but something that could be gotten passed. Unless it was some other abuse or tormenting that caused him to kill himself and being exposed was just coincidence.

Gee, that sounds like a walk in the fucking park to me. Imagine if you’d been bespectacled and gay! I guess I should click my heels then? I never knew bullying was accepted more or less depending on what the bullying was behind. When did they start ranking bullying? So, if a person was bullied for being fat do they rank higher in priority than those who wear the wrong clothes or those who are Goth? Maybe if someone is picked on because they are taller by far than all their peers they should take a place behind others in importance of their bullying. Guess the fat kids better be told to man up because Gay bullying is more important than theirs.

Questioning the normalcy of homosexuality (If gay is as normal as having red hair…) As I say there are three ways it can be looked at:
4. Gay people’s sexual orientation is a born normal trait as anything else.
5. Gay people’s sexual orientation is an abnormality like albinism or dwarfism.
6. Gay people’s sexual orientation was by choice. (they were not born that way).
Which one do you choose?

Dismissing the tragedy of the suicides (a hot button story) If it gets people to tune in on the news it is a hot button issue, you do know that, right? Meg Whitman having a supposed illegal nanny is a hot button issue (at least around here).

Implying homosexuality is something to be hidden (he was exposed as Gay) So, all the Gays who have not come out of the closet should have because to not say to the world “I am Gay” is wrong? I never said any Gay should or should not come out.

Invoking natural v. unnatural (believe their being Gay is just how they were born, nothing unnatural about it) (Here’s a hint: it has nothing to do with belief; it’s natural.) Then why kill yourself over something that is natural? If you are revealed to be Gay that should not be any reason for suicide. Agreed then.

Continually referring to logic despite apparent absence of said logic (everywhere) Logical to those who take their personal history and selves out of it and attack it as a scientific problem. To those who want to inject themselves in it, it is illogical because no one see it they way they do.

@Dutchess_III I’d want to die of mortification if someone posted a video of me having sex. And some would be embarrassed as Pamela Anderson might have when her sex tape came to the surface, she could have thought her career was over and sleeping pilled herself to death or just grin and bare it until people lost interest –for some it even made them more famous. Maybe Clementi was so modest that having all those strangers see him was too much and it was that alone that done it, he is not here so we just have the opinion of those who learned of it if they can focus and stay on point.

augustlan's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central All bullying is bad, but it is not all equal. Do you know of any person who was murdered for wearing glasses? Ever?

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@augustlan I have never known a person who was murdered for anything, not even cheating with another’s spouse. I did know someone who knew a person who was nearly killed for their sneakers, but that is another question. this question here is not a murder question but one of suicide.

augustlan's avatar

I asked if you know of such a person. I don’t. But I do know of homosexuals and blacks who have been murdered for nothing more than existing. My point, and I do have one, is that while all bullying is bad, some bullying is more extreme than others. Perhaps bad enough to make someone think they’d be better off dead. I highly doubt that the teasing you endured for wearing glasses, or I endured for having red hair, falls into that category.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@augustlan How much anyone can take before they whack themselves off I don’t know, there seem to be no cookie cutter method or reason. Being picked on for glasses and sprouting up a heads height above the rest was not enough to make me want to kill myself then back in that day it would hardly come to mind or made the news if it happened. There is always a reason though. Often times the bullying don’t involve the person being Gay, they are just rode hard, beat down cyberly and/or physically, have their stuff vandalized to the point they hate life. In the case of Mr. Clementi there was the extra element, he was gay. If he was just exposed or bullied and no one ever knew he was Gay less those he shared it with would he have jumped from the GW anyhow? Was exposed to the world against his will and having his sexuality put on display against his will add that last little nudge and if it did why? If answers can be made of those facts maybe we will have gotten further down the road nearer a solution.

iamthemob's avatar

Here’s the thing:

(1) I’m incredibly happy, personally, to see how many people defend gay people generally on this thread.

(2) However, much of it has been expressed as assuming intentions from the OP and arguing with the OP when attempting to clarify the true position.

Yes, it is easy to assume intent behind this. However, as @thekoukoureport stated, it’s not productive because it puts the OP on the defensive about what he or she believes and we don’t discuss the issue in a way where we can introduce new issues.

We’re missing out on an opportunity to discuss the real problem here, as I see it. @Hypocrisy_Central stated three main ways to view homosexuality. I think there’s at least one other way – it is immutable in the way asylum law describes immutability, as something that can potentially be changed (much like a religion or political affiliation) but that is so central to a person’s identity that they should not in any case be made to feel like they should change it. That makes the conversation moot.

The problem with the Clementi case is that it’s, in many ways, portrayed as a suicide due to the homosexual content, and not an issue of cyberharrassment or cyberbullying. By focusing in this way…we’re reinforcing the idea that homosexuality is a source of shame…which is problematic even if it was true.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@iamthemob The problem with the Clementi case is that it’s, in many ways, portrayed as a suicide due to the homosexual content, and not an issue of cyberharrassment or cyberbullying. That is because, as you see here, if you mention the word Gay or homosexuality people can’t see past that to anything else. The media knows that more than anything, Gay trumps most things.

Put the story in another light, a man is beaten and dies outside of a bar. Happens often enough around the nation and most of the time it is lucky to make the evening news. Let it be known it was a Gay guy then all of a sudden it is a leading story. If the Gay man was Black and a full ride scholarship winner and prize winning student film maker Gay would trump all of that, just as if the guy was straight then Black would trump that. If the guy was white then being a scholarship winner would trump, but no one would hardly care how smart he was, he was a Gay guy who died in a fight. What might have been left out (it might come out later once the story loses steam) was that the guy had a drug problem and the owner of the truck he was trying to break into came out and caught him, a fight happens, the truck owner gets the pry bar away from the man and bashes him with it and he died from the blow. You won’t hear that because it doesn’t get people watching as much as ”Gay man is killed in fight outside local pub”. Because you have so many people with the powers of clairvoyance they surely know the man was beaten and killed just because he was Gay not because he was a thief who picked a fight with the wrong guy while trying to rip him off. The media knows how to get peoples emotion button pushed and they do it quite well.

Here, is a prime example, no one tries to see the crux of the question because they go off seeing what they want is that I am a homophobe trying to backdoor some hatred of Gays in the question.

Yeah, having people or groups trying to change or save Gay people from themselves or the greater good can be a way to see it but that requires someone exerting force or pressure from outside.

Born that way: No outside personalities exerting opinion of force.
Choose to be that way: No outside forces in play.
An abnormality: Born that way no outside forces in play.

I was seeing it from ways in which no one was directly influencing how or why the person was Gay. Now people can try to convince a Gay person that they are not Gay but if a person believed that it is how they were made and that is that no convincing will get them to be straight. Some might be able to fake it (with a lot of strength too I might add) but they will never feel normal in it; and that is way more I could do, I could never fake being Gay because I could never kiss a man and pretend to enjoy myself.

If the role was reversed and I was in a predominately Gay community and they harassed me for not being Gay and being Christian they could say all they wanted but there would be no way they could convince me I was wrong and that I should dump God. I seen that illogical to include that eventuality because I could not see anyone making a Gay person not be Gay, the only way a Gay person can go and make peace coupling with the other sex they had to be bisexual from the start, IMO.

iamthemob's avatar

If the role was reversed and I was in a predominately Gay community and they harassed me for not being Gay and being Christian they could say all they wanted but there would be no way they could convince me I was wrong and that I should dump God. I seen that illogical to include that eventuality because I could not see anyone making a Gay person not be Gay, the only way a Gay person can go and make peace coupling with the other sex they had to be bisexual from the start, IMO.

The line above I think reveals the problem in the way you posed the question, and not the question itself. In the above, you propose being straight and Christian in a gay neighborhood. Why? The only identity at issue is the gay one. Why would they harass you for being Christian? What if they were gay Christians? Being Christian isn’t natural in that it’s something you’re born with, but it is something you shouldn’t be required to change…the same with being gay, even if it isn’t something that you’re inherently born with. So you’ve complicated the issue by bringing in this other aspect.

When you start bringing in whether or not it’s natural, etc., you bring in whether or not someone can be convinced and not the fact that it doesn’t matter – they shouldn’t be. This is what happens because you proposed it as “If this is as natural as being a redhead.” If instead, you had proposed it as “Is it appropriate for us to focus on his gay identity as the reason for his suicide” you avoid the issue of nature altogether. By including it, however, you bring in the possibility that the answer is “being gay isn’t natural, and that’s why he killed himself.” The fact that, also, it is clear why being gay is particularly different than being a redhead these days in our society because of the particular harassment they face, which has nothing to do with whether it’s natural or not. That’s why the reactions were what they were…if you had used an example of something like being black, or of a specific religious group, etc., then the groups would have been more similar perhaps in terms of the level of harassment faced, and we might have gotten to the issues you wanted to quicker.

JustmeAman's avatar

I hope many on Fluther and even a few that answered really looks at their actions. There are bullies here that put down others for their beliefs and for the experiences and yes it does influence others and not always for the good. Apply this to some of your actions about what people say here and how many will not speak about their experience because of so many that attack what they say and feel. Let’s not be the Pot calling the Kettle Black. Hugs to all.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@JustmeAman Amen to that.

@iamthemob In the above, you propose being straight and Christian in a gay neighborhood. Why? Maybe it was closer to work, cheaper rent, near my mother’s place, why not? There is no official Gay Ghetto just as there is not official Japan Ghetto, we have Japan Town in many cities because people like to live around like people; but do live intermingled with each other.

Why would they harass you for being Christian? Maybe not for the same reason atheist would harass Christians but many Gays think as a Christian I hate them and wish bad upon them, which is not true. God commands me to love all people and I try my upmost to do that, even if I am not down with their actions and that goes further than just Gay or not.

Being Christian isn’t natural in that it’s something you’re born with, but it is something you shouldn’t be required to change…the same with being gay, even if it isn’t something that you’re inherently born with. I don’t know about anyone else but I was not born Christian, I choose to be Christian. With that, I feel it is OK, so no matter where I was or who was trying to tell me that I was brain damaged and a lot of atheist think I must be to follow a mythical god, I am not going to feel bad or wrong just because they don’t like it.

When you start bringing in whether or not it’s natural, etc., you bring in whether or not someone can be convinced and not the fact that it doesn’t matter – they shouldn’t be. The before part, my reference to natural or not was as I said about the three ways one can see about being Gay. If the person who is Gay, not others thoughts of him, but him himself. It could be anything, if a person was living in a area populated 89% by little people and they told the person of usual height it was she that was wrong if she thought the height she was born to be right and natural she would not be fazed by what any of the little people told her. Which ties in to the latter of that statement that if that is who you are you can’t be convinced of it otherwise unless you were brainwashed.

By including it, however, you bring in the possibility that the answer is “being gay isn’t natural, and that’s why he killed himself.” That is the $55,000 question, isn’t it? It is plausible he did. If he didn’t kill himself because of that he might have done it anyhow, and if so, why? Maybe he did it only because he was expose having sex (no matter what the sex), maybe it was because it was the final nail of years of something else going on. He is not here to tell, all that is left is the facts that might provide clues to the mystery. But it is plausible he believed he was not normal and thus killed himself when the secret was out. Why is it so wrong to put that into the realm of possibility when it is?

The fact that, also, it is clear why being gay is particularly different than being a redhead these days in our society because of the particular harassment they face, which has nothing to do with whether it’s natural or not. Thinking outside-the-box here, how being Gay is treated by observers has no baring or shouldn’t on how the person who is Gay see it. If person who is Gay see their being Gay as no different than having red hair (and I only used red hair because they are small in number compared to the color of hair most of the population has normally, the only reason), or you could say people over 6ft. 5in. size 14 feet whatever that fact alone would not be, or should not be enough for them to end their life over. Not that single instance anyhow.

iamthemob's avatar

But it is plausible he believed he was not normal and thus killed himself when the secret was out.

Not what I was saying. That possibility was already one that was inherent in the other posts above – he was made to feel that it was unnatural, wrong, etc. I was commenting on the fact that the phrasing suggested that an answer of “Homosexuality is NOT natural and that’s why he did it” was possible – where it was claimed that he should have killed himself because there was nothing natural about being gay. “If it is as natural” suggests that it may or may not be natural, and therefore can be wrong, evil, etc. in and of itself.

Thinking outside-the-box here, how being Gay is treated by observers has no baring or shouldn’t on how the person who is Gay see it. If person who is Gay see their being Gay as no different than having red hair (and I only used red hair because they are small in number compared to the color of hair most of the population has normally, the only reason), or you could say people over 6ft. 5in. size 14 feet whatever that fact alone would not be, or should not be enough for them to end their life over. Not that single instance anyhow.

But if those observers are your family, your parents, your church, your teacher, your friends, etc….it does matter. It prevents you from getting over the shame fully. If your parents were telling you that being gay was evil your entire lives, and then it was revealed to them that you were gay, being afraid of being rejected by them, hated by them, is an understandable reason for suicide.

I brought up the Christian and straight issue above because the example is confusing with Christianity in it. If you’re straight in a gay neighborhood, being harassed won’t make you feel like killing yourself if you’re okay with being straight. If your parents raised you to believe it was something evil, it might very well drive you to it.

You stated: I don’t know about anyone else but I was not born Christian, I choose to be Christian. With that, I feel it is OK, so no matter where I was or who was trying to tell me that I was brain damaged and a lot of atheist think I must be to follow a mythical god, I am not going to feel bad or wrong just because they don’t like it.

Great. I don’t know of anyone that was raised to be gay. Anyone. Many people were, however, raised to believe that it was wrong, something their parents didn’t approve of, etc. Raised with the sense of pride you were probably raised with being a Christian, then this wouldn’t happen. However, parents, society, friends…all of those people who help form who you are as you grow up can mean the difference, in these cases, between life or death.

nebule's avatar

I am not sure I’m entirely following what’s going on herebut I think an important point is that IF you are going to start a question with ‘IF’ then whatever is included in that following statement must be taken as given for the rest of the conditional statement to be analysed. So if you want to ask

If gay is as normal as having red hair [then] why kill yourself if bullied behind it?

…you are saying that being gay is equatable with having red hair, which as I see it a lot of people don’t agree with. I don’t think we can say any form of bullying is worse than another. I know a girl than was force fed bleach because she was ‘pretty’!! She suffered years of post-traumatic stress..other things were done to her also.

Furthermore, your title suggests that you’re either born with it or not…and I would disagree with this tacit premise too. It seems like your’re making a lot of assumptions about gay people, which again, in my understanding isn’t goign to be taken very well.

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