Suicide As A Result of Bullying and Intolerance

Sometimes things happen that are unacceptable.  There has been a string of suicides lately among young gay men.  What is unacceptable is not so much that they killed themselves (note: I am not saying that I support suicide), but rather that they were forced into a situation where the only way they thought they could get out was through suicide.  What is unacceptable is that intolerance and a refusal to understand and to accept creates this kind of situation.

There has been a series of suicides this past month – and their ages are quite simply too young.  No one should be treated this way – ever, for any reason.  That is especially true among 13 year olds, middle school students, high school students, freshmen in college:

Billy Lucas, 15, hung himself after being made fun of by classmates.
Asher Brown, 13, shot himself in the head after being bullied by classmates
Seth Walsh, 13, hung himself because of gay taunts
Tyler Clementi, 18, jumped off a bridge after college roommates posted a video online taken secretly of him in a sexual act

Whether or not you are gay, are an ally, an advocate, or think being gay is “okay”, you have to admit that each of these situations is horrible and that something needs to be changed.

Yet people still do not want to take responsibility.  The Dallas school district involved in Asher Brown’s suicide blames his home life.  Unacceptable.  While it is possible for his situation at home to contribute to his feelings, the situation at school was certainly inextricably involved.

There is a basic human instinct that requires one say “Why is this happening?”  “What can we do to make people feel safe?”  “How are we raising our kids?”  “What allows our children to treat others this way?”  “What kind of examples are we setting?”  We need to make this type of behavior unacceptable – because no one should be treated this way and no one should feel that killing one’s self is the only way out.

People ask “What else was going on that made him want to kill himself?”  As I read in one commentary this week, would you ask they same thing if someone were killed by a drunk driver or by a bullet from a gun?  No.  Yet, it seems not to be enough that these people killed themselves because of intolerance and the way they were treated.  And this double standard is exactly the point, isn’t it?

Ellen Degeneres had a short monologue recently about this “epidemic”.  Listen to what she says.  Ellen sums up the way I feel and the way I hope so many more people feel:

I feel for those who are in similar situations and the families of Billy, Asher, Seth, and Tyler.  I hope we can all change the way we treat each other.

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Ellen Signs Greyson Chance

Ellen Degeneres had Greyson Chance on her show again.  This time he performed one of his original songs, “Broken Hearts”.  As good as his Paparazzi performance was (and it was good), I like his original songs better.   In addition, Ellen, who has been getting more involved in music, has started a new record label, eleveneleven, because of Greyson and signed him as her first client.

I like this story because Greyson had no intention of doing any of this, it seems.  His video was posted from a school talent show.  Ellen is making good things happen for him!  In addition, Greyson won her $10,000 found on the internet prize AND Yamaha is giving him a piano.  Madonna’s manager and Lady Gaga’s manager have signed on to manage Greyson.  How cool!

The Amazing 12 Year Old Sixth Grade Musician

This guy is going places.  Greyson Michael Chance is a 12 year old in the 6th Grade in Oklahoma.  He plays the piano, writes songs, sings, etc.  He has great musical talent and is clearly going somewhere.  He has become famous for a rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi”.  In the past 3.5ish hours, the video has received almost 1 million new views for a total of more than 2.1 million views!  Personally though, I like his two original songs even better.  Watch out Justin Bieber…

Check out Greyson’s YouTube Channel.

The following article is from Yahoo!:

Little Lord Gaga: Greyson Michael Chance’s “Paparazzi” Is A Web Sensation

Posted Tue May 11, 2010 4:17pm PDT by Lyndsey Parker

Lady Gaga parodies and tributes abound on the Interweb–some funny, some serious, some good, some not-so-good. But the school recital performance of “Paparazzi” by boy wonder Greyson Michael Chance just might be the best yet. As the teacher emceeing the Edmond’s Sixth Grade Festival says at the end of Greyson’s stunning piano performance, this mega-talented kid could even “teach Lady Gaga a lesson.”

Greyson is bona fide prodigy (as his lovely original piano compositions “Stars” and “Broken Hearts” on his YouTube channel demonstrate), and his talents are being celebrated on a national scale now that his “Paparazzi” video–in which he bangs out the piano ballad while his classmates look on in shock and awe, mouths agape–has gone viral. The video has gotten more than 36,000 views so far, and he’s even been invited to perform on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” this Thursday.

According to his bio on his YouTube profile, Greyson is “very inspired by Lady Gaga and Augustana.” Greyson additionally explains: “Lady Gaga is a freak but she has so much talent and her style of music is what I would like mine to be when I’m older. Augustana is one of the most underrated bands I think ever to step [on] the planet. They have so much talent it is not funny. They have such a good concept with folk and rock. It is very sad that they are so unknown.”

Greyson may look like a Justin Bieber clone with his sideswept-banged bowl cut, but with musical taste like that, clearly this boy is no prepubescent pop robot. This kid is deep. (His aforementioned original song “Stars” is about a woman who dies of cancer and meets her husband in heaven, for instance–not exactly “One Less Lonely Girl,” huh?) Today’s tween fangirls would be way better off worshipping a role model like Greyson over Bieber–and judging from the flustered way the girls react in the background of his recital clip, such wide-scale worship may not be far off. After Greyson’s upcoming “Ellen” appearance, surely countless more tweens will be his biggest fans, following him until he loves them.