Tag Archive: Tyler Clementi

NJ Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights, now waiting for Chris Christie’s signature

Our year was marked in January by the NJ Legislature’s failure to do the right thing on marriage equality, and as our year turned cold again, 2010 was marked by the  loss of 18-year-old Tyler Clementi, who threw himself off the George Washington Bridge after two people he knew appeared to betray him. (A federal higher-education anti-harrassment bill, introduced by Frank Lautenberg in the Senate and Rush Holt in the House, is named for Tyler Clementi).  

But today was a sweet victory in NJ, something to be Thankful for as we sit down and think about our gratitudes later this week, for the kids – all kinds of kids – who may now benefit from our renewed commitment to respect them, particularly at the places where they go to learn. The Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights passed both houses of the legislature today. It requires anti-bullying programs in public schools and codes of conduct in our colleges and universities.

We owe special thanks to: Prime Sponsors in the Assembly Valerie Vainieri Huttle & Mary Pat Angelini and in the Senate Barbara Buono, Diane Allen & Loretta Weinberg. Sponsors include Steve Sweeney, Senate President, Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean, Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver & Assembly Republican Leader Alex DeCroce.

All that’s needed now is a signature from Gov. Chris Christie. Here’s some early response, after the jump. Please add your own if the spirit moves you.

Photo of the Day

Steven Goldstein and the Garden State Equality brigade standing up for all God’s children. I love this picture.

Equality in the Fall

Photo from Star Ledger via FaceBook. http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2010/11/anti-bullying_bill_of_rights_s.html

QoTD: Revenge

Today’s Quote of the Day comes from Steven Goldstein of Garden State Equality. At yesterday’s small rally of purple-clad (to honor bullied youth) supporters of the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights. Steven was bullied relentlessly – “to a pulp” – growing up in New York City. Is he bitter?

The best revenge is making the world a kinder place.

There are not many moments of pure loveliness in New Jersey politics. And that was one. The bill sailed through committees in both houses, on the same day, with bi-partisan support.  

I’m committed. Are you?

Interesting and sensitive questions from some well-informed students at Westfield High School. Parents should be proud. – promoted by Rosi

Two weeks ago, I posted on Blue Jersey about the need to protect our young people from the bullying and harassment that leads many teens to depression or suicide.  This week, I had an interesting exchange with teenagers at Westfield High School about what we can do to make things better, both on a government level and on a personal level.

This past Thursday, I visited Westfield High School to speak to a group of nearly 300 students about the political process and the issues facing our county.  

continue reading below the fold

At the halfway point of the George Washington Bridge

Tyler Clementi used facebook – “jumping off the gw bridge sorry.” – to announce his suicide on September 22. This weekend, one hundred people, connecting by facebook, walked his path to draw attention to the kind of bullying that may have driven Clementi to take his life. Most of them didn’t know him, but the man who found his body floating in the Spuyten Duyvil Creek was there, looking for “closure.” Some of them peered over the edge of the railing Clementi climbed over, and let roses fall down the long drop to the water.

Tim Farrell from Star-Ledger’s excellent video staff (story by Victoria St. Martin) brings us there:

Tribute to Tyler Clementi

I’m wearing purple next Wednesday.

A kid I know sent me this and asked me to demonstrate solidarity with gay kids by wearing purple next Wednesday.

Last night was 12 years since Matthew Shepard was beaten up and tied up to a split rail fence in Laramie, Wyoming, left to die. Prayers were said, candles were lit, and tears were shed for him last night all over again all over the country.

For Sakia LaTona Gunn, who was murdered at a bus stop in Newark, New Jersey, there was considerably less press, and less widespread outrage. Except for Ellen DeGeneres, gay men get much better press than lesbian women. Sakia was 15 years old. Just a kid trying to get home from a night of fun in NYC, attacked after turning down some jerk’s advances. Sakia fought back. He didn’t like that.

Tyler Clementi’s suicide was a gut punch to New Jerseyans, and only the beginning of an awful week of young gay kids taking their lives across the country.

A 15-year-old kid I know sent me this, and asked me to wear purple  

Cop-out of the week

Earlier this week, the Rutgers Daily Targum ran an editorial entitled “Media exploits University tragedy.” The writer, however, seemed more interested in attacking members of the LGBT community and their allies for “turning his death into a push for gay rights.” How dare gay people express anger over what they view to be a preventable death of a young man who was victimized precisely because he was gay.

The editorial is so horrible that a paragraph can’t do it justice. But RU alum Aurora Schneider offered a good response in the Targum on Thursday. So did Hofstra student journalist Alexi Knock in that school’s newspaper.

Unable to defend the editorial’s substance, Friday Targum columnist Patrick Danner builds himself a straw man instead. Danner picks out the most hyperbolic, offensive comments (out of several hundred), declares them “more disgusting than the crime committed,” and rails for several paragraphs about these anonymous commenters. Only once does he acknowledge those who have offered civil, reasoned criticism of the editorial. If Danner thinks the comments on the Targum page are bad, he should read some of the comments to articles on NJ.com. When you allow people to comment anonymously on your website, and you don’t moderate those comments, you can not reasonably expect all of those comments to be civil. And you shouldn’t waste column inches complaining when your unreasonable expectations aren’t met.  

National Coming Out Day- Come out against Bullying and Homophobia

I didn’t know until today that Ed was once the Residence Counselor at Davidson, the dorm Tyler Clementi lived in. A few years earlier, and it might have been Ed that Tyler came to for help. Breaks my heart. – promoted by Rosi

As you may know, Monday October 11 is National Coming Out Day.  The annual day encourages young people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered or questioning to feel comfortable being open about who they are.  Sadly, we know all too well that for many, coming out isn’t easy or safe.  Last week, the senseless death of Tyler Clementi was an unfortunate reminder that too many GLBTQ young people do not feel safe or welcome in this world.  It breaks my heart that he was made to feel unwelcome at Rutgers, my own alma mater.  It has been heartening to see the gay and straight communities come together in the wake of Tyler’s suicide to condemn the bullying and violence that makes our young people feel alone and unsafe.  But we must continue working together to ensure that the coming out process for our young people is more accepting.  Thousands of teens and young adults like Tyler face bullying and violence every day simply because of who they are.  This has to end.

Teenagers are dying because they are gay.  Tyler was not the only life lost this month because of gay related bullying or violence. This is unacceptable.  

National Coming Out Day is a call to arms for both the gay and straight communities.  We must commit to making the world safe for all of our children.  We have to make sure that children and young adults grow up knowing that they are loved and welcome for who they are.  And we must repudiate intolerance from the start, so that more children grow up knowing that homophobia, hatred and bullying are unacceptable.  As Harvey Milk once said, “all young people, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, deserve a safe and supportive environment in which to achieve their full potential.”  Milk said this over thirty years ago, but the sentiment is timeless, and we are clearly not there yet.  We still have work to do make this a reality.

Earlier this week, I filmed a video for Dan Savage’s “It gets better” project.  I’d like to share it with you:  

We all have to work together to ensure that for those who are preparing to come out and those who are already out, it WILL get better.