VCU Students Host Vigil, Video Project In Response To Suicides
Students at Virginia Commonwealth University host a candlelight vigil tonight, October 4, at 10 p.m. at the Shafer Court Compass.
Queer Action, the campus’s LGBTQ/Ally student group, has organized the vigil in response to the recent string of student suicides across the nation related to gay bullying.
The group’s Facebook tells the stories of the six recent victims.
- On September 9, Billy (William) Lucas, of Greensburg, IN, was was found dead in a barn at his grandmother’s home — he had hanged himself. While Billy never self-identified as gay, friends report he was tormented for years because other kids thought he was gay. Billy was 15 years old.
- In Shiocton, Wisconsin, Cody J. Barker, a 17-year-old openly gay teen, took his life on September 13. Cody attended Shiocton High School, where he was active in choir. He recently attended a seminar aimed at helping him establish a gay/straight alliance at his school. Cody also enjoyed bicycling and gardening, and was a Lady Gaga fan.
- On September 19, Seth Walsh of of Tehachapi, CA, was found unconscious and not breathing after attempting to hang himself. Seth, age 13, spent the better part of 10 days on life support — he died on September 28. Seth was openly gay and suffered years of relentless bullying.
- On September 22, Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi, 18, of Ridgewood, NJ, jumped to his death off the George Washington Bridge, just days after his college roommate broadcast live images on the internet of him having a sexual encounter with another man.
- On September 23, Asher Brown, age 13, came home from school and shot himself in the head after enduring what his mother and stepfather say was constant harassment from four other students at his middle school in Houston, TX. Asher told his parents he was gay that morning.
- Raymond Chase, a 19-year-old openly gay sophomore studying culinary arts at Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island, committed suicide on Wednesday by hanging himself in his dorm room.
Queer Action is also embarking on another project to help spread the message of support and acceptance. They are leading campus-wide participation in Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” Project. Participants submit videos telling stories of their experiences growing up and how they survived and have since thrived.
VCU’s first video session will be on October 14 at 10 p.m. in the Commons.
“Savage Love” columnist Dan Savage’s video from the project’s YouTube page is below:
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