The parents of a gay teenager who killed himself last year have launched an anti-bullying foundation in his honour.
Tyler Clementi, 18, a student at Rutgers University in New Jersey, jumped from the George Washington Bridge last September.
He had allegedly discovered that his room-mate Dharun Ravi, 19, had secretly recorded and broadcast a sexual act between him and another man.
Clementi’s mother, Jane, said when her son came out to her a month before his death, it was like “being kicked in the stomach”.
She told Anderson Cooper 360: “It’s a never-ending process, and it kind of ebbs and flows almost like an ocean. It comes and goes, and it’s very overwhelming at times. But the positive [side] would be that the publicity did generate interest in some of these big issues that need to be addressed.”
The foundation says it will work to support initiatives to discourage bullying, promote acceptance of LGBT teens, reduce the incidence of suicide in young people, and promote “civility and responsibility” in electronic communications.
Joseph Clementi, Tyler’s father and president of the Foundation, said: “The nationwide outpouring of compassion following Tyler’s death has been truly humbling and comforting for our family.
“During that time we have become increasingly aware of the difficulties young people face due to their sexual orientation, especially in this digital age.
“Part of our mission is to raise awareness of cyber-bullying by promoting responsibility in our children’s personal lives and on-line presence. We want them to understand the importance of their words and actions.”
“We want to do our part to help save lives and reduce the anguish of those who are tormented because of the way they look, their sexual orientation, or just for being different.”