Don't Jump: Preventing the Next Clementi Tragedy

Imagine that you are a gay college student living in today’s world where being gay is a highly contested issue.  You fear being judged for your sexual orientation so you must carry out your love life secretly, behind the closed door of your residential hall.  You breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that there is one place you can go to live the life that comes naturally to you, where you do not have to worry about the world judging you.   

However, someone has placed a webcam in your room without your knowing, and your entire encounter with a member of the same sex has been broadcasted on the Internet for everybody to see.  Your secret is out; the life that you have worked so hard to keep private is now known by people to which you have never even spoken.  Where do you go from here?

Unfortunately, this is not a hypothetical scenario.  It is the exact situation that confronted Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old freshman at Rutgers University on September 21, 2010.  Dharun Ravi, Clementi’s roommate, placed a webcam in his room and broadcasted a live feed of Clementi with another man over the Internet.  Clementi, humiliated and exposed, then ended his own life by jumping off of the George Washington Bridge.

Sign Up for E-News

Maybe Clementi jumped because he feared his family would not accept him, or he thought his peers would abandon him, or he was frightened at the potential of facing abuse for his sexual orientation.  Regardless of the particular thought that led to Clementi’s decision to jump, his suicide serves to remind this country that we are faltering on the issue of gay rights.

Without question, the gay rights movement has gained important ground since it began in the middle of the twentieth century. 

However, according to the College Student Journal, there has been a 61 percent increase in the number of hate crimes against sexual orientation since 1992.  Moreover, 57 percent of U.S. adults still disapprove of homosexuality, while 33 percent of college students support laws making homosexuality illegal. 

These numbers are reflective of intolerant attitudes which are unacceptable in a country that guarantees so many freedoms.  Freedom of sexual orientation should rank alongside our other prestigious rights like those of voting and religion. 

Oftentimes it seems that we reject that which we do not understand, which is why we need to establish educational programs that can teach us about homosexuality, so that we may one day come to fully accept those we consider to be so different.

We need to educate students by requiring Human Sexuality courses on college campuses and we need to educate teachers through faculty meetings as to how to recognize homophobia so that they may quell such needless fears.

Furthermore, we need reliable administrative services in our schools who homosexuals can trust and to whom they can turn when they feel the way that Clementi did while standing on the edge of the George Washington Bridge. 

School curriculums also need to stop ignoring the existence of homosexuals and begin incorporating works by gay authors and referencing the achievements of gay figures in their respective fields.

Reforming our society to include such measures will certainly take time, but we can begin on the right foot by accepting these suggestions as necessary. 

Hopefully, these reforms will one day prevent the next Clementi tragedy as our society will offer to gays more options than jumping from a bridge.

 The Guest Column is our readers' opportunity to write about a given issue or topic in an in-depth and educational manner.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Chatham

A Week at the Library of The Chathams Monday, February 19 – Sunday, February 25, 2018

PROGRAMS AND EVENTS

By Galina Natenzon

Friends of the Library are continuing their book collection in preparation for Annual Book Sale.  Kids are off from school on Monday for Presidents’ Day – bring them to the library!  We have plenty for them to do.  For adults, Professor Licklider’s second lecture on North Korea will take place on Tuesday.  The ...

A Week at the Library of The Chathams - Monday, February 5 – Sunday, Sunday, February 11, 2018

A Week at the Library of The Chathams

Monday, February 5 – Sunday, Sunday, February 11, 2018

PROGRAMS AND EVENTS

By Galina Natenzon

Friends of the Library book collection continues.  The tax season is here, and dedicated volunteers are here to help you with you tax returns!

For information about all programs or to sign up, please call the library at 973‑635‑0603 or go to ...

Imagine a Chatham Toboggan Ride from the Top of Fairmount Avenue to Main Street

Did you know….
there was a time when Chatham kids could ice skate from downtown Chatham all the way to Florham Park? And that a toboggan ride could last from the top of Fairmount Avenue down to Main Street and beyond?

Those were the days!

This was back in the early to mid-1900s. The Passaic River meandered through grassy meadows and woods on the north side of Chatham. The marshy ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast Medical Minute: Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center

On this episode of the AtlantiCast Medical Minute, we’ll take you inside the Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center, with the center’s director, Jason Lowenstein, MD.

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1M7euCp86-c

AtlantiCast Episode 011

Breaking Atlantic Health System news on this week’s AtlantiCast! Plus, find out why Morristown Medical Center is one of the best hospitals in the nation when it comes to recovering from joint surgery, see the newest center for fighting brain cancer and an Atlantic Health System red-carpet premiere!

 

Sara Irish of Chatham Named to Saint Joseph's University Dean's List

February 18, 2018

PHILADELPHIA, PA - Sara Irish of Chatham earned Dean's List honors at Saint Joseph's University for the Fall 2017 semester.

Irish studies Risk Management and Insurance in the University's Erivan K. Haub School of Business. Students must achieve a grade point average of 3.5 or above, a B or greater in all their classes, and complete at least 15 credits to earn Dean's ...