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US teenager kills himself after roommate ‘taped him having sex with a man’

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  1. This is so upsetting. This is the 4th teenager this month alone to commit suicide as a result of the actions of others.

    I’m disgusted that I live in a world where the fear of being outed, being bullied and harrased for being gay or perceived to be gay can lead children/teens to think that cutting short their lives is the only way to escape the pain.

    I work with teenagers in this country and although there are plenty of policies that are supposed to protect children & teens in reality it comes down to how serious individuals and organisations are at enforcing said policies.

    It’s tough, there are individuals and organisations that do great work for equality and safeguarding childres/teens; but take a look at the example those who are bullied and harrassed take from the world we live in. Legitimised discrimination and laws that place LGBTQ as second class citizens.

  2. This is sad and so strange to read about: destroying his life? From a gay rights group? A “sex tape” would be an embarassment, of course, but would this sort of thing drive most people to *suicide*?

    What the two other students did was cruel and unthinking, and I do not mean to be their apologist, but I find it strange how the commentary brushes aside the social climate that engendered this specific reaction from the poor, young victim. And it seems he did this, specifically, because it was a video of him with a man.

  3. Poor, poor guy…. What kind of sick b*stards would do that? And, yes, the climate they grew up in has something to do with it, where young men in particular feel obliged to go on about how macho, how straight they are and one way some do this is by making hugely offensive jokes about gay people several times every day, and disgusting bullying like this.

    Such a sad waste of a life :(

  4. I think you completely misread my post there ^^ ‘

    In brief: I think it’s appalling that in this day and age a young man would want to take his own life because someone saw him having sex with another man. The fact he felt it was his only option was a product of a social climate and not the actions of the two students who victimised him.

    I find it strange that a gay charity does not call attention to this: by assigning blame to the two students, they seem to be saying it’s perfectly normal to feel your life is destroyed, when people catch you having gay sex.

  5. There are actually young people around today who really do have no sense of right and wrong, no morals, no conscience. Instead they are dominated by a massive streak of evil and cynicism. It’s much more of a problem than it has ever been before. Yes, pranks went on in universities hundreds of years ago and they were cruel and unkind, but today with the densensitization caused by the horrific proliferation of brainless films and the sentiments of rap and so forth this kind of cruelty to others is much more prevalent.

  6. At 18 years old being caught on film that is horrifying! Having people broadcast and laugh and humiliate you is just beyond a joke. It must have caused him to panic thinking who might see this film his family his friends. What a nightmare.

    Very sad. I hope the film is destroyed I hope it isn’t still on the Internet. I hope his family never see it that most of been playing on his mind.

  7. A tragic loss of life and a shocking reflexion on the society that caused it. Young people are generally very sensitive about all sorts of things and being gay makes those feelings even more intense. I agree with PD and Damian. My sincere condolences and heart felt grief go to his family and friends.

  8. Wim in Holland 30 Sep 2010, 12:31pm

    @Julia. It is not SOMEONE seeing him making love, but everybody, the whole world and THE WHOLE SCHOOL seeing him making love.
    The two students decided to make his life miserable and impossible.

  9. What a couple of turds. I hope they get the book thrown at them.

  10. I get what Julia is saying and it is a bit of a weird one. This was a prank gone wrong and there is nothing to suggest that there were any homophobic motives. There is no homophobic language used in the quotes. A straight person in the same situation might be equally mortified and juvenile 18 year olds would be just as likely to film a straight couple for a prank. It’s gay stereotyping to assume the victim was closeted and the pranksters were homophobic, or that this was the only trigger for the suicide.

    It’s such a tragedy though. I wish I’d been there on that bridge to tell him that things would all be fine.

  11. I think Julia is right. At root it is homophobia in society needs to be stamped out. If kids are brought up in a homophobic climate, it’s not surprising they behave like that. The same applies to the death of Michael Causer.

  12. yes but I don’t think most of us would want our private sex sessions shown to the whole world unless you are a porn star and get paid for it! Theis wasin Private and this poor lad was driven to the ultimate shame! Those two should be publically humiliated as well!

  13. These two students violated his privacy. The made illegal tapes of his private activities and illegally published them. In what universe is that not criminal activity which should be punished? Some of these comments show no understanding of what it means to be a young gay man in America. How can anyone on this board who has not been in this situation claim to know what it must have been for him?

  14. Sad news, poor Tyler.
    dean, I don’t think Julia above is making excuses for the two who taped him.
    I think she is saying that Tyler probably killed himself, not because he was taped having sex, but because he was taped having sex with a man. It is homophobia that killed him, not being taped having sex. For example, if Tyler had been taped having sex with a girl, would he have killed himself – probably not, because being straight is not seen as being shameful, being gay still is. So it’s a valid point.

  15. I agree with most other comments about suicide.What I don’t understand is why hetero people would be interested in watching the content anyway. For instance in my case I’d prefer to watch paint dry than to watch hetero sex.

  16. Dean, why not lay off and actually read what people are trying to say. What does STFU mean anyhow?
    It was horrible and tragic and these two should certainly be punished but there is no indication that this was homophobia and without the full details we’re never likely to know if it was or not.

    Clearly this lad was vulnerable and not mentally strong enough to deal with this video being seen. If it were some of us, we wouldn’t have given a s*** and probably quite enjoyed the celebrity stauts but he clearly felt ashamed of being gay.

    That IS a result of homophobic society but things are changing..thankfully.

  17. Julia said: “I find it strange that a gay charity does not call attention to this: by assigning blame to the two students, they seem to be saying it’s perfectly normal to feel your life is destroyed, when people catch you having gay sex.” Thus deflecting from the issue that Dharun Ravi and Molly W Wei are criminals who should be prosecuted and that they are (at least indirectly) responsible for this young man’s death. This all reeks of blaming the victim and society and not holding the criminals responsible for their actions. In case people haven’t noticed, suicide among gay youth in America is epidemic. These two knew the type of homophobia they would unleash on Tyler. Yet, they chose to do it anyway. They should be punished to the highest possible extent of the law as an example that this will not be tolerated.

  18. dean, what a wonderfully intellectual response. Get an education mate. A nightclass in English punctuation would be a good start.

  19. Spare a thought for Crusaids HIV Low paid Part-time return to work staff e-mailed “pain and suffering to alot of people” …”Get another JOB with a better employer” then had their contract TERMINATED by the “charity” – sick

  20. PumpkinPie 30 Sep 2010, 2:45pm

    I heard an interesting thought from someone just a few hours ago: “to say that this is a prank gone wrong is to imply that there’s some way it could have gone right”.

    That said, I don’t consider these two scumbags here to be guilty of manslaughter. I don’t think they could have anticipated the extent to which this act would affect their victim. But, I do consider them guilty of bullying, spying and voyeuristic sexual abuse. I think jail time would be appropriate.

    Aside from homophobia, I think this case has a lot to say about the desensitisation and callousness of youth. Any wrongdoing that is deemed sufficiently “hilarious” is handwaved as a mere “prank”, with the perpetrators congratulated and the victims admonished for being “weak”. There’s a disturbing trend towards social Darwinism in such mindsets. Hopefully, this case might be a bit of a wake-up call to some people.

  21. Teenagers should not have their sexual encounters plastered across the internet without their consent. That’s the bottom line.
    There may well be a homophobic dimension to it, it’s too early to say, though gay or straight it would be a devestating invasion of privacy for anyone.
    If he was in the closet and still coming to terms with his sexuality that’s all the more malicious. At his age I would’ve probably gone AWOL if someone had done that to me.
    I hope Dharun Ravi and Molly W Wei have pause to reflect on how they’d feel in his shoes. They should be deeply ashamed.

  22. Erroll Clements 30 Sep 2010, 3:00pm

    Remember all this is America, and even though they have got more Wacko’s per square foot that anywhere else in the world, they are on the whole still extremely backwards there, very church orientated and extremely anti gay. Then you wander why the poor guy did it? Not only would he have had to put up with the entire university knowing, but also the shame and guilt of his family finding out and the response from them and their friends !

  23. As I said, I do not excuse what the students did whatsoever but I felt the statement from the charity ignored the most important issue about this; the one that directly lead to a loss of life.

    I said I am not their apologist, I am not sure what else I can do to prevent some of you from inferring otherwise. They grossly violated the poor boy’s privacy/consent and I have not said otherwise.

  24. I have an 18yr old niece who just started college. Like all college freshman she is excited to be semi-autonomous and is both excited and terrified about finding her social niche in college. She is in a vulnerable phase. I can think of much less traumatic things than being betrayed by her roommate and having a sex tape published that would completely crush her (an unflattering nick name for example). These two bullies need to be nailed to the wall.

  25. dean. Calm down. No one is saying the poor lad was weak. No one is blaming Tyler. Everyone in the comments thinks that the teenagers are vile and hateful for what they did. I’m sure most agree with you that they are pure evil and should get put in prison for some kind of hate crime. There is just some opinions that say the two teenagers are not the only guilty party. That homophobic society is to blame just as much for contributing to his suicide. They’re only opinions, and people are entitled to them. There’s no need to tell everyone to STFU, fukc off, call people SCUM, go and join stormfront, read the daily mail etc. We’re all on the same side here.

  26. I still don’t think you get it Julia: “I felt the statement from the charity ignored the most important issue about this; the one that directly lead to a loss of life.” The fact that you say charity suggests to me that you are not American. You don’t understand the pervasive homophobia of America and you don’t understand that Tyler had every reason to believe that this would lead to violence being inflicted upon him. The actions of Dharun and Molly directly lead to Tyler’s death and they knew it would result in negative, probably violent consequences. They have been taught that every day in America. To consciously decide to do it anyway suggests malicious intent. When I read your comments it sounds like they aren’t responsible for contributing to the homophobia around them. They can pretend that they live in some beautiful world where it’s all just a funny joke and Tyler’s still alive. The problem is around them not in them. But that’s not reality. The most important issue is that these two consciously and with premeditation decided to expose Tyler against his will and in the worst possible way to the hateful homophobia they help support. Had they not done so, Tyler would probably still be alive.

  27. Poor little s-d to have to kill himself for expressing himself in his own way; and as for those who murdered him – well, may they just rot long enough to realise what they’ve done. Bast–ds.
    His family must be absolutely heartbroken.

  28. Keith spot on they knew the possible comsequnces and still acted.

    Leo. suck my nuts

  29. Sincere sympathy to Tyler Clementi’s family, loved ones and friends.

  30. “Psychopaths are not merely selfish. Their brains process information
    differently from
    those of other
    people. It’s as if
    they have a
    learning
    disability that
    impairs
    emotional
    development.”

    — Kent A. Kiehl & Joshua W. Buckholtz, Scientific American, Sept/Oct, 2010

  31. Such as shame he didn’t have the confidence to go to the police and report this invasion of his privacy before taking the decision to kill himself. Very sad, I hope the two responsible for his suicide are charged.

  32. @ Keith #30: no, most of us aren’t American, for the simple reason that this is a UK website. It isn’t a bad idea to be wary of generalising about 300m people, however. Not all Americans come from a homophobic background. No-one’s excusing the bullying insensitivity of the two people who sparked off this tragedy, but bandying about words like ‘pure evil’, as others have done, is not helpful.

    Speaking of which, Dean, your childish, personal and semi-literate bullying is a disgrace to this site. I’m sure I’m not the only one here who wishes you’d practice what you preach and STFU.

  33. Thank you for being civil Keith. I’m not American, quite true, but I try to be as aware as it’s possible for an outsider to be, of the fact that homophobia can get you killed in some parts of the USA. I just do not agree that the best way to deal with this, and prevent other suicides, is to focus on the two students.

    Suicide is a choice, whatever the circumstances, and I strongly believe that the best way to counsel people about suicide is to make them aware of that choice, their responsibility for it and the other options available to them, without assigning any kind of blame.

  34. “I’m not American, quite true, but I try to be as aware as it’s possible for an outsider to be, of the fact that homophobia can get you killed in some parts of the USA.”

    I think you meant to say “homophobia can get you killed anywhere”.
    Saying “some parts of the USA” implies that this is the only place homophobia will get you killed, which I know you know isn’t true, but I am just rewording it for you so no one drags you out on this again. I used to think London was the only place you COULDN’T get killed for being gay, but then I saw a lot of the stories on this website and got an awakening.
    I’m American myself and my girlfriend from England flew over for the Summer, and we held hands and the like publicly for the entire thing.

  35. chris in new england 1 Oct 2010, 5:43am

    I think everyone who’s saying that a straight kid would never have killed himself over something like this has forgotten what it’s like to be an adolescent. Stuff like this could drive any kid to suicide, especially one who already has self-esteem issues and/or has been bullied and ostracized in the past. There was a girl here just a while ago who killed herself after naked pictures of her got around her school.

    I’ve read the posts Tyler made on JUB in the days leading up to his death, and I don’t see any indication that he was distressed about being outed or conflicted about being gay. Mostly he just seemed angry about the humiliation of having something so private broadcast to a jeering audience of his peers, and the helplessness of feeling like there was nothing he could do about it.

    Anyway, I hope his jerk of a roommate gets some jail time, and I hope the family sues the hell out of him.

  36. Thanks Zoe ^^ I’m dyslexic, so my off the cuff comments are probably a little garbled sometimes ^^ ‘ I don’t really see that it’s a clear implication, but I can see it could be taken that way.

  37. basic invasion of privacy …. gay or straight!! HOW DARE anyone plant a camera let alone broadcast it … maybe put them in the stocks – piss on em and broadcast THAT around the world!!

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