In 2010 Tyler Clementi took his own life after being publicly outed on the Internet by his college roommate. His oldest brother James, who is also gay, is now an activist hoping to shape a world that's more accepting and inclusive of LGBTQ people.
Isn't it time to let Monica Lewinsky off the hook and see just what good this very smart, compassionate woman might have to offer the world? I think so. I think it's way past time.
My hope and prayer is for the church to fully embrace all LGBTQI people. This will have a dramatic impact for many, but most especially for our youth, who do not need to be shamed, "healed" or merely tolerated but fully embraced and loved just as they are, beautifully created in God's image.
When Miami Dolphin Jonathan Martin complained he was bullied by teammate Richie Incognito, the public chose sides in a way we have not seen before in recent bullying stories.
The impact of bullying is profound. It can lead to a plethora of physical and psychological problems that can be life-long. And far too often it leads to suicide, one of the main causes of death among school-age and college students in the U.S.
In recognition of National Coming Out Day, I joined my mother and father, Jane and Joseph Clementi, in a conversation with LGBT rights activist Mitchell Gold to get to the heart of why coming out matters and how we can support young people as they go through this process.
When I give presentations at schools, I am always looking for Tyler in the crowd. I guess some part of my mind still thinks I can save him. Ultimately I cannot. But every time I tell the story, I meet at least one person who reminds me that there are others who need to know that they are not alone.
Michele Josue's debut feature-length documentary follows Josue (who was a close friend of Matt's) as she travels to pivotal locations in Shepard's life. As Josue interviews other friends and family members, we viewers gain insight into the beautiful life as well as the devastating loss.
It is my hope that the future Tyler Clementis of the world will hear love and affirmation from the pulpit in all churches. While that day may still be a long way off, parents can make a world of difference by choosing a church family that will embrace all God's children with respect.
This was a day that I could never have imagined as an adolescent, when I struggled to reconcile my sexuality with religious teachings. This was a day to pause and appreciate how blessed I am now to be part of a church that affirms my full participation.
An entire dormitory full of students plus an online circle of acquaintances were made aware of the bullying that my brother endured. Not one person got involved, informed an authority figure, told the bully that he was in the wrong, or checked on Tyler to see if he was OK.
Ravi's Twitter posts, webcam spying, and homophobic attitude were stigmatizing, and it is possible that these pushed Clementi to a tipping point. But Clementi's suicide did not happen in a bubble with only him and Ravi; it took place in a society in which homophobia is still rampant.
So how do I keep my son from becoming another statistic, another young person pushed to deadly means to end torment by those who think his existence is a sin, ugly, and wrong? Well, there is no guarantee that I can, but I can sure as hell try.
Dharun Ravi finally wept. But it had nothing to do with Tyler Clementi, his former roommate who jumped off the George Washington Bridge.
While Ravi must take responsibility for his actions, we are all accountable, not just him. Punishing one dumb kid for failing to rein in his dark side primarily serves to make us feel better when it shouldn't, to shift the burden of responsibility to anyone but ourselves.
No jail term, community service or public outrage will ever rid the world of bullying and homophobia -- only you can.