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Students should participate in LGBT Diversity Week

Tyler Clementi, Billy Lucas and Seth Walsh; these are just a few of the names of teens that committed suicide because of bullying. In the past year, there have been several gay youth suicides across the country because of bullying. According to the Trevor Project ― a suicide prevention hot-line for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth ― gay teens are up to four times more likely to attempt suicide compared to straight teens, and at least nine out of 10 LGBT teens have experienced some form of harassment and bullying in school.

The truth is that bullying has become commonplace in not only schools, but also in our society. Bullying is seen by many as a “right of passage,” thereby justifying it. But when bullying leads to the death of several teens across the country, the justifications such as these no longer suffice. Words like “faggot” and “queer” are thrown around as if they mean nothing. Children as young as in elementary school are learning that it’s okay to call another classmate a “fag” or “queer” if they deviate from what society deems as “normal.”

A recent example of this is Kobe Bryant’s outburst last week when he yelled “faggot” at a referee for a “questionable” call. Bryant argues that he wasn’t actually yelling the slur at someone in particular, therefore making it okay. However, I still fail to see how this justifies the use of the slur in anyway. Just as if another athlete were to use the “N-word” and justify it by stating that he wasn’t using it toward anyone in particular, it would under no circumstance make the use of the slur acceptable, and there’s no reason it should.

Monday marked the beginning of LGBT Diversity week on campus. The LGBT Resource Center ― along with a variety of groups on campus ― will be hosting a series of events that highlight the diversity within the LGBT community. One event in particular is the Silent Equality March that will take place today from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Central Plant outside the University Student Union Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.

According to the Facebook invite page, “It will be a peaceful march along the campus meant to give a voice for those who have had their voice forcibly removed.” Students are encouraged to express themselves in support of the cause. “Bring signs, bring flags, bring friends, just remember that this is a peaceful protest. After the march, an open forum will be held for anyone wanting to share their stories about being in the LBGTQIA community.”

I encourage all students to participate in the events that are being hosted and show their support for the community. It may be to late to save the lives of the unfortunate deaths of the gay teens but it isn’t too late to raise awareness of the issues in the LGBT community and bring forward change.

Rudy Mendoza is a sophomore communications major and contributing writer for the Daily 49er.

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