Tuesday Mornings, Proposition 8 From Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power

Welcome to Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power, and welcome back to our “Tuesday Mornings, Proposition 8” series. For those of you joining us for the first time, be sure and check out the previous blogs (there have been 7 of them) so you don’t feel like you’re jumping in on the middle of a conversation. I truly welcome any comments you have on this and remember, no one’s got the gavel, so keep them clean and respectful. This blog isn’t trying to be critical, but is aimed at getting us all thinking and re-evaluating our own actions. Grab your coffee, an open mind and heart, and come on in.

So almost two weeks ago, the world lost an amazing musician, someone who was known by many as having promising talent, being hard-working and kind. He chose to end his life by jumping off the George Washington Bridge into the Hudson River. That’s right, I said chose. Suicide is a choice, despite the surrounding circumstances motivating and mitigating the act. Why did he jump? Well I guess that’s where this debate really begins.

See, many say that he jumped because society wouldn’t accept his sexuality. The gay rights groups say: “Clementi’s suicide makes him a national example of a problem they are increasingly working to combat; young people who kill themselves after being tormented over their sexuality.” Let’s stop right there.

Why is it that we have to make this a gay rights issue? Why is the reason for his choosing death over life blamed on society not accepting his being gay? Let’s get to another truth. His college roommate, Dhraun Ravi, and Dhraun’s friend Molly Wei, both 18 – OMG, how young and their lives are ruined – did something completely and utterly cruel to Tyler Clementi; they taped him kissing another guy and then posted it Online via a Webcast. (CBS News called it a “sexual encounter”)

Steven Goldstein, chairman of Garden State Equality, called this a hate crime and I have to say I agree. It was nothing short of heinous and I agree with yet another comment made by a fellow student of Tylers which said that had Tyler been making out with a woman, this would not have happened. So on that side of it, I get it and this is the kind of behavior that I despise and what actually got this blog started. No one has a right to make fun of someone over their sexuality. In fact, I sincerely hope that these two people are prosecuted for what they did and that they most definitely heed the warning given by a former federal prosecutor: “You don’t know the feelings of the people on the receiving end of that,” he said. “You can’t possibly know. There might be some people who could take that type of treatment and deal with it, and there might be others, as this young man obviously was, who are much more greatly affected by it.”

There’s one thing my mom used to tell me over and over again: Two wrongs don’t make a right. That, my friends, is exactly what we have here, and it’s turning into a viscous cycle of blame that has no end. Unfortunately, young people committing suicide after being harassed about their sexuality is becoming a tragic phenomenon. The number is staggering. The more it happens, the more fire it gives the gay rights movement so it can force its beliefs into our schools, homes, social activities, giving it the heading of normal despite the damage it has caused.

Again, the dilemma is both sides of the scale believe they are right. How do we hold to our values without devaluing and shaming the other side at the same time? I’m so very sorry for the friends and family of Tyler Clementi, for they have been truly ripped off. Sorry is so pithy a word at times like this and by no means compares to a life. Oh, how I wish it could have gone differently for him; that these two kids who did what they did would have thought of the possible consequences, and loved him despite his choice of sexuality.

I would like to offer this final thought on this, in honor of someone who appears to have been a special young man with so much life ahead of him, might he have struggled with his sexuality because of his conscience and/or his need to belong and be loved and accepted?

Again, I do welcome your thoughts. Remember, I write from facts/history, my heart and experience, not with a gavel in one hand.



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