A couple of days ago I received a Facebook event invitation to wear purple on October 20, 2010, in memory of the six recent suicides linked to gay abuse. As some of you may know, purple represents the spirit on the LGBTQ flag, hence the choice in color. I was curious about what was going on, because at the time I had only heard about one boy who took his life. I learned that the purpose of the day was to wear purple in memory of Tyler Clementi, Asher Brown, Seth Walsh, Justin Aaberg, Raymond Chase and Billy Lucas, who all allegedly committed suicide because of abuse they received over their sexuality. All of these boys suffered some form of anti-gay abuse in their lives. Many of them were teased and taunted at school.
I‘m not homosexual or bisexual, but I do have a lot of close gay friends. I wore purple yesterday in memory of the young men, and in hope that some day people will understand that homosexuality is an acceptable way of life. Homosexuals are normal people who are just attracted to the same sex.
In this day and age, being gay is becoming more and more socially acceptable, and people are “coming out” earlier than they would have years ago. I have a feeling that because more people are being open, honest, and vocal about their sexual preferences at an earlier age, it may have opened the doors for young people who are intolerant to start bullying at a younger age as well. My co-worker and I were talking about this issue, and she found it ironic that now that there’s a higher tolerance for homosexuality in our society, we’re hearing more about suicides related to anti-gay abuse.
I also think that aside from bully’s being bully’s, the self-esteem of the victims plays a role in this issue. I believe that people who are confident, have high self-esteem, and are comfortable with their sexuality are less likely to get criticized or tortured. This is because if someone appears confident, a bully might not see a way in which they can actually hurt the person. For example; if a bully was taunting someone by saying “you’re so gay…” an individual with good self-esteem might respond by saying “okay, so… what’s your point?” – and this isn’t the reaction that a bully is looking for.
I feel that it’s important to spread awareness about anti-gay bullying, which is why I liked the idea of wearing purple in memory of the young men who committed suicide. People need to start realizing the extent and impact of their cruelty.