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Rally focuses attention on need to end anti-gay bullying, hate

by UofL Today last modified Oct 04, 2010 05:26 PM

About 100 UofL students, staff and faculty gathered Oct. 4 outside the Red Barn to stand in solidarity for victims of anti-gay bullying and hate.

The rally was organized in response to the September suicide of Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old Rutgers freshman who committed suicide after being the victim of cyber-bullying.

Anti-gay bullying and harassment are common forms of hate and a daily struggle for many people who endure them, said Brian Buford, director of the Office for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Services.

Buford read the names of young people whose suicides because of anti-gay bullying were reported in the last year. Some were as young as 11 years of age. Then he invited people in the crowd to share their thoughts about Clementi's death.

Some talked about their own suicide attempts and about times they were victims of bullying and anti-gay hate. Many speakers called for love. Some called for education. Still others noted that everyone is part of one human family.

"We are all human beings. We all want love. We all want to be understood," said senior Alex Riedinger. "The next time you think about bullying, think about that. ... We are a lot more alike than people think we are."

"We need to stop the hate," said Mordean Taylor-Archer, speaking, she said, not as vice provost for diversity and international relations, but as a person in the crowd. "We should have zero tolerance for injustices. We can't be laid back about this. We have to be part of the struggle for justice, part of the struggle for humanity."

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