Celebs attempt to end to gay suicides

By Nick LaRosa
October 13, 2010

A number of celebrities have recently spoken out on gay ridicule and bullying in an attempt to give those in distress about their sexual orientation hope and comfort.  Fashion consultant Tim Gunn and television host Ellen DeGeneres are just two of the many celebrities who have spoken out on this issue.

Much of the media coverage on gay ridicule and suicide has come as a result of the bullying that led to several teenage deaths in recent weeks, including the death of Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi.

Clementi, who was secretly filmed having a sexual encounter with another male in his dorm room, took his life on Sept. 22 by jumping off the George Washington Bridge.

Clementi’s suicide brought national attention to the issue of gay ridicule, an issue that Tim Gunn recently addressed through a YouTube video.

“I understand the desperation.  I understand the despair,” Gunn said, “and I understand how isolated you can feel.”

Gunn also detailed his own suicide attempt as a 17 year old and left viewers with the message “it will get better.  I promise.”

Television host DeGeneres, who has strongly spoken out about bullying in the past, turned her attention towards the gay teenage population shortly after the suicide of Clementi.

“We can’t let intolerance and ignorance take another kid’s life,” DeGeneres said in a video filmed on the set of  “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”  “These kids needed us. We have an obligation to change this.”

In the video, DeGeneres called the bullying and teasing attacks on teenagers “an epidemic” in our country.

“One life lost in this senseless way is tragic; four lives lost is a crisis,” DeGeneres said.

Neil Patrick Harris also spoke out about the issue of “anti-gay bullying” in a public service announcement for MTV.

“If you’re getting bullied and feeling like you’re on the outskirts, it gets better,” Harris said.  “This is a good time we live in, and we’re being granted more and more rights.”

Harris reminded those who are being victimized about their sexual orientation to “be proud of who you are.”

“You can act with strength, you can act with courage, you can act with class and stand tall,” Harris said.

Actor Chris Colfer, who stars in the television series “Glee,” recently filmed a public service announcement for the Trevor Project.

The Trevor Project is an organization that focuses primarily on gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning adolescents by providing them, as well as their teachers and parents, with suicide prevention facts, tips and lifelines.  Both Gunn and DeGeneres cited the Trevor Project as a resource for those who are being bullied and ridiculed.

“I know what it’s like to be bullied and teased every single day,” Colfer said.  “I know that it may seem that there is no chance of happiness left, but I promise you that there is a world full of acceptance and love.”

Colfer also advised those who may be in anguish about their current situation to call the Trevor Project before attempting any drastic actions.

“Know that you have friends, you are loved and that you are not alone,” Colfer said.  “Despite such a current challenging time, there is so much to look forward to.”

For more on the Trevor Project, please visit www.thetrevorproject.org.  Their toll-free phone number is (866) 488-7386 and, like Colfer said, you are not alone.  Remember, it gets better.

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Nick LaRosa

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