I had the pleasure of attending the Heartland Men’s Chorus for their presentation of Identify. The inspiration for this performance is the story of Tyler Clementi, an 18-year old, extremely talented and gifted freshman at Rutger’s University, who committed suicide in 2010 after he became a victim of a horrible act of cyberbullying because he was gay. The evening opened with an excellent panel discussion which included Tyler’s mother, Jane Clementi, Morgana Bailey, Debi Jackson, Barb Mares, Andy Scherman and Mitch Weber. And then the concert began. Tyler’s Suite was beautiful! Songs of talent, songs of family, songs of hope and songs of love. And heart wrenching! If you are suffering from bullying, there is support available to you. There is support available to LGBTQ individuals during their coming out process. And there is suicide prevention available! Jane Clementi said the stickers she had available were Tyler’s initials in gold to represent the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. Wikipedia also lists: One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself (positive or directive form). One should not treat others in ways that one would not like to be treated (negative or prohibitive form). What you wish upon others, you wish upon yourself (empathic or responsive form). Not one of these definitions include hate. There is no place for hate. Jane Clementi said parents of LGBT children need to speak openly of the love they have for their children to impact the world around them and create accepting environments. So I will. My daughter is a beautiful, smart, caring, and loving woman. When she grows up she should be allowed to marry the person she loves. And I love her.
After the powerful concert and hearing Tyler’s story, I am even more committed to providing support to the LGBTQ community. PFLAG provides support for LGBTQ individuals during their coming out process. PFLAG supports families and friends of LGBTQ individuals. And, PFLAG will help you find whatever kind of help you need! Please reach out for help.
- American Foundation for suicide Prevention www.afsp.org
- GLSEN www.glsen.org
- It Gets Better Project www.itgetsbetter.org
- Kansas City Anti-Violence Project www.kcavp.org
- LikeMeLighthouse www.likemelighthouse.org
- The Trevor Project www.thetrevorproject.org
- The Tyler Clementi Foundation www.tylerclementi.org