There’s a video clip going around my friendship corner of Facebook, of Ellen DeGeneres responding — movingly, pleadingly — to the senseless death of Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers student who committed suicide after being “outed” as gay. Please watch it at the link above, if you haven’t already. (Sorry, I haven’t quite figured out how to add video to my blog.)
There’s nothing I could possibly add but Amen.
And yes, I know, I know…. many church groups, including my own, are still figuring out their “positions” on homosexuality. It could be argued that the debate itself contributes to an oppressive dynamic, but can we at least agree that whatever time that conversation takes gives us absolutely no excuse to put off a major overhaul of behaviour, or the urgency of teaching our children firm and unequivocal protocols of behaviour about difference? Being gay is not a crime — or a sin. Harassing, outing someone without their permission, bullying, is never — never! — okay. Figuring out who you are, as DeGeneres says, is hard enough (remember being a teen?) without the added cruelty of bullying — for any reason. And gay youth who wish to live with integrity, with authenticity, will eventually come to their own conclusions about how they do this. But it’s their timeline, no one else’s.
There are many other names and faces, other stories, that could be highlighted in reference to this “suicide epidemic,” people who attempt to escape for various reasons, but most certainly often because of the harassment.
William C. Trench has some pertinent words:
For years, those who oppose equal rights for gays and lesbians have said that they have nothing against the Tyler Clementi’s of the world, what they are against is “The Homosexual Agenda.” This tragic event brings that debate into sharp relief.
The “Homosexual Agenda” is precisely this: to create a society in which young men and women do not jump off of bridges in a desperate attempt to escape who they are, because society has told them in a thousand different ways that who they are is not acceptable.
We who are Christians must bear a special responsibility in this effort.
I hope you’ll also take the time to read Trench’s whole post here. I don’t have much more than Amen to add to it either. Except to wonder, in light of DeGeneres’ wake-up call, and Trench’s call for angels, whether we’re awake, and alert to our assignments.