By Jon Salacuse (Whetstone Staff Writer)
Have you ever walked around campus and heard someone say, “Oh, that’s so gay!” or, “Faggot”?
Those are just words, right? No way they could hurt anyone?
Tyler Clementi, a freshman at Rutgers University, committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge after his roommate put online a video of him having a gay encounter.
I was disgusted and enraged.
This is a horrible way to “out” someone.
I sympathize with what Tyler was going through and can understand the anxiety and fear of having to hide a part of yourself.
Why do we have to hide who we are?
Because we often are met with intolerance, judgment and just plain cruelty.
Some have said that it was a prank that got out of hand. But I don’t buy it.
Pranks are supposed to be between friends, and give everyone a laugh.
This was no prank.
And it had happened before. The roommate had done this to another student in more than two videos.
To take a person’s innermost secret and put it out over the Internet is vicious.
We live in a culture where being gay is looked upon as something embarrassing, something that should be hidden.
I don’t know what he was feeling when he climbed over the railing of the bridge that night.
I don’t know what he was feeling when he used his phone to change his Facebook status to “Jumping off gw bridge sorry,” before he jumped.
But I have a good idea.
He felt alone, ashamed and scared.
He felt as though he would face prejudice and be looked at differently.
I hope that people can learn from this.