After a very heated and public Norman, Oklahoma City Council meeting on September 28, during which the council debated a proclamation recognizing October as Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender History Month, nineteen-year old Zach Harrington took his own life. The proclamation passed by a 7 – 1 vote, but comments from Norman citizens were so hateful and divisive, the Harrington family says, their son succumbed to suicide.
A local news paper reports, “[t]he family of Zach Harrington said their son killed himself after attending the September 28 city council meeting.
“Zachary Harrington’s father said it wasn’t the meeting alone that drove his son to take his own life, but it certainly didn’t help. Van Harrington said his son, who was living in Arkansas, drove all the way to his hometown of Norman to see what the city council would do. What he and so many others got was a three-hour verbal debate on the gay lifestyle.
“Zach’s father said his son was a very private person who came out during high school. He said the Norman North graduate was bullied and harassed at school for being gay. Van Harrington said he feels a lack of acceptance from society and what he calls a “toxic meeting” last month is what finally pushed Zach over the edge.”
Citizen comments included,
“I also think it’s not dark thinking or bigoted thinking to have an opposition to this…But it’s clear thinking,” said one Norman resident during the meeting.”
“Recruiting children into these lifestyles will be very easy with this kind of open format,” said another resident during the city council meeting.”
For those of you who have been keeping up with the recent teen suicides as we at The New Civil Rights Movement have, you’ll know that we have identified what we believe to be ten — and now, with great sadness, eleven — teen suicides in the month of September, most if not all the result of anti-gay hatred and bullying.
You can watch the video of the city council meeting here.
Perhaps what makes this suicide especially sad for me is it is here we see the crossover of hate from the local school yard to the local city council. The bullies grew up and continued their pattern of hate and homophobia.
Is Zach Harrington’s suicide a result of this hate? You decide.
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