Commentary: Everyone has a part in ending bullying of gays

The Charlotte ObserverOctober 15, 2010 

Yes, it's progress. But it's progress against an ailment that has hurt too many people for too long. And progress is slow.

Tuesday a federal judge in California banned enforcement of a law that kicks openly gay soldiers out of military service. But this hopeful news came after a series of gay suicides and a horrific attack on a gay man in New York.

On Sept. 19, 13-year-old Seth Walsh hanged himself in his Tehachapi, Calif., backyard after years of harassment and bullying at schools.

On Sept. 22, Rutgers student Tyler Clementi, 18, jumped off the George Washington Bridge after his roommate publicized a secretly recorded video of Clementi's sexual encounter with another male.

On Sept. 23, 13-year-old Asher Brown, a straight-A student in suburban Houston, shot himself to death after what his parents said was constant harassment, including taunts of being gay. The day before he died he had been kicked down a flight of stairs.

On Oct. 3, New York City police say, up to 10 men attacked, beat, tortured and sodomized a 30-year-old gay Bronx man and beat and tortured two 17-year-olds who admitted having sex with him.

It's not just young people using anti-gay rhetoric. Sunday, New York's Republican candidate for governor, Carl Paladino, told an Orthodox Jewish group children shouldn't be "brainwashed" into thinking homosexuality was acceptable. Tuesday he apologized for offending people.

Yet recent news has also been encouraging for the many Americans who believe gay people don't deserve discrimination, not to mention beatings.

To read the complete editorial, visit www.charlotteobserver.com.

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