Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Senseless

I am pretty much heartbroken over the story of 18 year-old Tyler Clementi's suicide after his roommate posted live video feed of him having sex with another man in his dorm room to the internet. At first, I thought that he was merely missing and I guess until they find a body, he is, but all signs point to the high likelihood of him having jumped off the George Washington Bridge in New York City.

There are so many angles on this it makes your head spin. There was a good write-up on this on AMERICAblog tonight and really, that says what I would like to say so much better than I ever could. What I hate about this most is that this is 2010 and we are still living in a world in which society teaches our young men that it is better to be dead than gay. More than that, the simple perception that you might be gay is a fate worse than death. I would like to think that we've made progress since my high school days but apparently, we really haven't. And clearly I'm not the only one to think this. In the article I linked above is the following quote:
Gay rights groups say Clementi's death is the latest example of a long-standing problem: young people who kill themselves because they're bullied about being gay — regardless of whether they are.
I will go to my grave saying that homophobia has more to do with challenging the definition of masculinity than anything else. Anybody who doesn't fit that nice and tidy mold is immediately attacked, either directly or subtly. Gay men challenge masculinity and what it means to be a man. And thank fucking God they do because the definition we use is messed up.

The other thing that gets me is something I read in another article that (naturally) I can't find to link to anymore. But what I read was that when people first noticed that Clementi was missing, they went around to his dorm floor and asked people if they had talked to him. Only three people remembered ever talking to him. THREE. I have no idea how big the dorm floor was, but that is not very damn many. All I could think of is how shy and lonely he probably was, away at school for the first time and the to have his roommate pull a bullshit prank like that. No wonder he felt like he had no recourse other than to jump off a bridge. It's reminds me of the old adage "When I was young, I admired clever men. Now that I am older, I admire the kind ones." Or something like that anyway.

Tragedies like this just remind me how far we have to go as a society in general but as men in particular. It needs to stop being okay to refer to people as fags. It needs to stop being okay to use gay as a synonym for stupid. And we absolutely have to stop teaching men that death is a better option than being gay.

We all have to do our small part. I'm doing mine. Won't you join me?

2 comments:

mary35 said...

Sometimes, those who are laughing, pointing fingers, and ridiculing are actually gay themselves and in denial. They think drawing attention to others will mean they are not noticed.

Dan said...

Mary, you're absolutely right. I think we need look no further than all the vehemently anti-gay conservatives that vote time and again against gay issues that really are deeply closeted and so full of self-loathing that they completely overcompensate in the other direction.