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UPDATED: Yet Another Bullied Gay Teen Suicide: A 17-Year Old

by David Badash on October 21, 2010

in Discrimination,News

UPDATE 10.22.10:

Update #3: I’m removing the original text of this piece. There are too many questions and not enough answers. I will provide updates if there are any.

Update #2: LGBTQ Nation has pulled their original story, and posted this: “Details, photograph in recent story of teen suicide now in question.” Many of the details are in question, and I cannot in good conscience keep the original post (below) up without stating that at this point it is uncertain if, indeed, this story is valid. LGBTQ Nation appears to have done everything possible to present an accurate account.

They end the piece now with, “As of this writing at Noon PT on 10/22/10, the above sources still assert the primary fact that Terrel Williams, a gay teen, committed suicide on Oct. 13 as a result of anti-gay bullying. And if that one, and only, fact is indeed true, we extend our deepest regrets and condolences to Terrel’s family and friends.”

Update #1: The good folks at LGBTQ Nation have contacted me to tell me their original story (on which this piece is based,) they now believe has some discrepancies. Most of it they believe is correct, but a few specific details, such as where Terrel went to school, the city he lived in, and the photo that has been used on several sites (which I have since removed) were not correct.

They directed me to this message, purportedly written by Terrel Williams’ mother. Unfortunately she has decided, according to the message, to not speak to the media any further.

I am leaving the original post, below, unchanged (except for the removal of the photo) until there are further updates, which I will bring you ASAP.

Our hearts are with Terrel Williams’ mother, family, and friends.

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TanyaDomi October 21, 2010 at 2:14 pm

This is so, so heart breaking…so sad. Our teachers and school adminstrators are not properly trained on bullying and in many cases, not properly empowered to address this chronic issue. There is a sense of helplessness about this issue that is eating away at me.

EAlmquist October 21, 2010 at 3:24 pm

It's sad, but in some cases, teachers and administrators might not think that the bullying is inappropriate at all.

ANM0327 October 21, 2010 at 2:19 pm

This breaks my heart. Being cool in high school is so ridiculous. You learn that after you get out of there. The happiest people are the ones who were themselves. I hope kids read this and realize that. My deepest sympathies to this boy's loved ones. I really do hope the prosecute the people who are doing this. Lets teach them a lesson!!!

pauleewhiting October 21, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Subject: Gay Teen Suicide Epidemic — Missing In Action: The Surgeon General And The CDC

Dearest CDC,

What does it take for you to declare a public health emergency? I mean, precisely what number of deaths does it require? Is 13 a good, round number?

Well, you're "in luck," because 13 deaths is the unlucky number that we have, since September of this year! So when, precisely, are you going to address this issue?

Yours very truly,

-Paul Whiting

EAlmquist October 21, 2010 at 3:23 pm

This is the saddest news I've heard all day. I wish his boyfriend and family peace. I hope the bullies can take the consequences of their actions, and learn understanding, compassion and love.

Stephanie Silberstein October 21, 2010 at 3:34 pm

I am so sad to read this. I have been speaking out for LGBTQ suicide prevention for two years. I ALMOST lost my best friend, and that's bad enough. I can't imagine the pain all the people who DO lose their family and friends are enduring.

Sometimes I wonder if anything we do to help is enough. I'm looking forward to the day where I read that LGBTQ suicides are at an all-time low.

J. Philip Faranda October 21, 2010 at 4:05 pm

This is a terrible tragedy. My heart goes out to his loved ones.

steve0876 October 21, 2010 at 5:58 pm

This is heart breaking and horrible. Is it really coming up on his 7th anniversary with his boyfriend? They have been dating since 10 or 11 years old? “This Saturday would have been Terrel’s 18th birthday, and the 7th anniversary of Terrel’s and Daric’s relationship.”

rriverstone October 21, 2010 at 8:30 pm

This is our fault. We Queers are so factionalized, so self interested, we have not considered the impact of the I-got-mine-you-get-your-own attitude. We can spend money on cruises, designer clothes, bars, toys….but the youth centers, public speakers for school assemblies, runaway shelters, etc. have so little funding. The larger society doesn’t really care about our kids and won’t crack a wallet for people they see as perverts. WE have to stop this by investing in our own kids’ survival.

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