In the wake of Matty & Bobby’s kiss…

Taylor Clementi

Just days after Matty & Bobby became the first homosexuals to break the world record for longest continuous kiss, a gay Rutgers University student named Tyler Clementi logged on to his Facebook page and posted his final message to the world: “Jumping off the gw bridge sorry.”

Three days earlier on September 19th, as Matty, Bobby and supporters around the world celebrated the pair’s achievement, Tyler’s roommate secretly filmed him having a sexual encounter with another male. He alerted his Twitter followers and streamed the encounter on the internet–live, just like Matty & Bobby’s kiss. But this time, the video proved devastating rather than empowering. It is suspected that the publicly humiliating incident prompted Tyler to kill himself days later.

Tyler’s not the only one. In fact, he’s the most recent in a string of gay youth suicides.

Seth Walsh

Also on September 19th, 13-year -old Seth Walsh of Tehachapi, California hanged himself from a tree in his backyard. Though he initially survived his suicide attempt, he was put on life support and died yesterday from the injuries. He, too, was reportedly distraught from the constant bullying he received at his middle school because he was gay.

Asher Brown

Sadly, there’s more. Asher Brown, also 13, was another victim of school bullying, killing himself with a gunshot to the head just last week in the wake of persistent torment from schoolmates for being gay.

Billy Lucas, a 15 year old from Indiana, hanged himself on September 9th after years of being called a “fag” and mocked by his classmates for his sexual orientation.

Matty & Bobby collected money during their event to be donated to the Trevor Project, a nonprofit suicide prevention group supporting LGBTQ youth. Though the donation bucket at the live event had little over $150 in it by the end of the night, online viewers (who numbered in the thousands) were encouraged to donate as well.

Fortunately, other public figures are tackling the rampant issue of homophobia-perpetuated youth suicides. Most notably, Dan Savage, a syndicated advice columnist and openly gay journalist disturbed by Billy Lucas’s death, started the It Gets Better Project. The project took the form of a YouTube channel on which Savage encourages gay adults to reassure LGBTQ youths that life does, in fact, get better — especially once they leave the narrow confines of high school. Savage’s initial video, which currently has over 227,000 views, features him and his partner Terry describing their own struggles growing up as gay youths in conservative areas. His message continues to grow: the channel itself now consists of over 150 other videos from gay adults telling their own stories and urging gay youths to keep going, marked with a collective reassurance that they will find happiness in time. Watch the original It Gets Better video below, and show your support by adding your own video and donating what you can to the Trevor Project:

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