Comments

  1. Alex says

    The original article on the Norman transcript website has more details about what was said at the meeting and some people said that they moved o Norman because they wanted to be somewhere that gays wouldn’t be accepted with open arms, but Norman is in the only democratic county in Oklahoma. Norman really isn’t a small town compared to some others in Oklahoma, and it’s generally more progressive, but it is still Oklahoma, and it’s sad that we lost someone from our community that didn’t have to die.

  2. ratbastard says

    I’m not going to sugar coat this: Oklahoma and other parts of the Bible Belt sound like horror shows for homosexuals and bisexuals. I despise fundamentalists. There’s something seriously fucking wrong in the head with these people. What is it about sex that causes them to freak out so badly? What is it about sex that makes so many people in general totally freak? People will smoke, drink, use drugs, treat others poorly, divorce, but mention homosexuality to them and they start quoting the Old Testament with reverence!

  3. mad1026 says

    The xtian taliban strikes again! How many more young people have to DIE? xtians do want to turn this country into a theocracy; I refuse to allow that to happen. I will fight them any way I can to keep them from destroying this country the way the islamic taliban has destroyed the middle east.

  4. Jim says

    I keep looking for some reason to hope. I read that about three gay young people commit suicide per week, every week, and this has been going on for a long time. But before, kids didn’t come out to their parents at such a young age. Now, a significant number of parents knew their kid was gay, and are not only supportive, but refuse to hide the fact that their kids were driven to suicide by bullying (of one sort or another.) Remember, Zach’s father is also an Oklahoman, and is standing up to the homophobia. It’s a terrible thing for the families, but maybe their voices will help the cause. And Judy Shepherd won’t be so alone.

  5. says

    Mr. Harrington no doubt got a glimpse of what he thought the future would hold for him – that the hate, ignorance and taunting wouldn’t end at High School, but yet continue into his adult life.
    To all the bigots at the City Council meeting – they should charged with murder.

  6. shae says

    omfg…. i live in Ponca City Oklahoma and im 20 and openly gay….its so freakin sad that gays keep killing themselves, i feel so fuckin bad that he was about 80 miles away and my life is so different. Norman is a college town and i though it was liberal.This shit is making me cry.

  7. Alex says

    @shae, it IS a liberal town, but at these kinds of things the crazies come crawling out of the woodwork. But if you watch the video, there are pro gay speakers too.

  8. michael says

    No, no, no, no, no, no, no! What the EFF is going on here people! Dan Savage was right: the product of the hate-filled speech of the religious and political right are being manifested by virtue of the dead children that are filling our headlines. My heart is breaking for these kids.

  9. Nick says

    It’s probably the most liberal city in Oklahoma — home to the University of Oklahoma — and population 100,000-plus. It is worth noting that the rancor was over a resolution to declare October GLBT History Month. And despite the rancor, the City Council approved the resolution 7-1. Not sure that this poor kid killed himself just because he lived in a “conservative small town.”

  10. TJ says

    To make a point, I might be tempted to simply write, “that’s so gay!” I might be tempted to go all “Tank” (meant as a compliment, Tank) and let the world have my opinion full-force. But just right now, I want to cry.

  11. Gruntled says

    I applaud the Die In participants for their good intentions, but I think the protest would be more effective in Norman (or Tulsa, or Tahlequah, or Muskogee, or….) than in Manhattan.

  12. Matt26 says

    19-year-old is almost a child, whole life in front and to live to. What is going on in US? Why don’t these kids have anyone to tell it is ok to be gay? I feel so sad. This has to stop.

  13. Chris K says

    Not again! This is absolutely heartbreaking.. Can this end already?

    I don’t mean this in an anti-American way, but what the fuck is wrong with your country? It’s supposed to be the leader of the free world, the land of the free, and yet people are not allowed to live their lives freely. It’s pathetic really.

    What comforts me is that if there is a hell, the homophobes that ruin peoples lives will burn in it. I know that the disgusting, hateful bigots at the council meeting probably can’t be charged with anything, but they really are murdererers. I wish they at least had a guilty conscience, but the only feeling these dickwads feel is obviously hate.

  14. says

    If this is the reason he committed suicide, I have to wonder if he was there for the whole thing.

    It starts off pretty badly, but there were a number of encouraging speakers among the vitriol and the council members pretty much put the haters in their place at the end with their counter-responses (particularly the first two members: Ezzell and Kovach). One of the members even declared a “miracle” and changed his vote from against to for.

  15. rjones says

    I once worked at a company in Houston, Texas. The most bigoted there was a guy from Boston, Massachusetts. He was a loud, obnoxious homophobe who got in my face at every opportunity. As the above video proves, bigots are everywhere, even in “liberal” states like New York. I have heard that even in San Francisco, right next to the Castro district, is an area where gays should not walk at night and should think about it during the day for fear of being mugged.

    I lived in Austin, Texas, while going to school, and the so-called liberal atmosphere was very deceptive. So, just because you live in a non-bible thumper area, don’t assume….

  16. taodon says

    I grew up in a small, conservative, Indiana town and suffered from homophobia on a daily basis, but never once did I consider killing myself over other people’s stupidity and ignorance. I would never allow someone to have that much power over myself.

    What has changed?

    The sentiment seems to be that none of these individuals who have committed suicide should bear any responsibility for, you know, killing themselves.

    Yes, the homophobia is awful, horrible, and deplorable – but at some point, don’t we have to recognize that the “victims” themselves are the ones who were ultimately responsible for their own deaths?

  17. Eugene says

    Oh, go fuck yourself, Taodon. Some people are stronger, some people are weaker. But they all have the natural instinct to live. So they ARE victims – without the ridiculous quotes. It looks like you survived because you’re a heartless bastard.

  18. jason says

    I don’t think a lot of you are truly concerned about gay suicides. I think you’re just latching on to the issue du jour. Many of you are the type who would sooner spend a night cruising for sex than being activists for the gay rights notion.

    Don’t tell me I’m wrong, I see it all the time. Whenever I go out socializing, I see men in gay bars talking about where to buy the flashiest leather vest to wear to the dance party.

    As for Zach Harrington, keep in mind that it’s the quiet, reserved types who tend to internalize the hatred of others. If you don’t have good friends on which to lean for support, it can be awfully claustrophobic and desperate.

  19. walter says

    this being caused by politicians like paladino kern and many others who feel that hate speak is okay. america has become a hot bed for intolerance and hate. unfortunately this is spread by many churches and politicians playing to their audience. time to work to make these hate mongers pay for their hate vote them out of office and to the churches stop giving money, pray at home do you really need abig gaudy building to say what is in your heart

  20. Dback says

    I want to see a journalist interview Sally Kern or James Inhofe, and nail them for their past comments and ask them whether or not they feel their words may have contributed to this young man’s sense of alienation and aloneness, and encouraged his suicidal feelings. Let ’em pontificate and show what insensitive assholes they are with this kid’s body barely grown cold, so that people can see that these are the kind of schmucks we are electing to public office.

  21. wimsy says

    As long as this country tolerates hate speech, young people will internalize the attacks, lose all self-esteem, and kill themselves in their despair. Worse, hate speech incites ignorant thugs, who believe their violent attacks on gays are justified. This will not end until hate speech against gays becomes as unacceptable as hate speech against blacks, Jews, women, Hispanics, and every other oppressed community. We cannot outlaw free speech, but we can make hate speech less popular by adopting gay rights legislation and by passing and enforcing laws against hate crimes. When it’s no longer acceptable, most morons will stop doing it, just as most morons stopped attacking blacks and using the n-word once civil rights and hate crime legislation made society’s disapproval clear.

  22. says

    I grew up in Stillwater, Oklahoma… the location of the OTHER big state university in Oklahoma. In the 80s and early 90s, Oklahoma was a pretty oppressive place to be for gay people. It still is. But imagine my surprise when I learned that Stillwater High School has a gay-straight alliance group these days. It’s interesting how things can change over time. Sometimes those changes are for the better. It can even happen in uptight conservative Okie towns. So don’t be so quick to write off whole swaths of America just yet. Yes, it’s a very conservative place… right wing religiosity has always been the rule there, and likely always will be. But even conservative Christians can change over time… though it takes an awfully long while comparatively.

    I guess what I’m trying to articulate here is that while there are many bigoted voices coming from churches and religious folk in Oklahoma (as well as non-religious folk), there are also many kind, decent, hard-working people who believe in equal human dignity for all people. The voices of these people have become louder and more influential in recent years, even in Oklahoma. That scares the bigots… and so when they get the chance to air their dirty laundry in public, they grab that chance and run with it. The result is the craziness in the video clip, and it’s always horrible to see it when it flares up like that. And so I understand from personal experience the stress of living through an Oklahoma shitstorm. Some folks are sadly just a bit more fragile than others, and growing up gay in such a place requires an emotional toughness that is very difficult for some folks to develop. My gay friends who didn’t leave the state have started to show the effects of that… I can spot a gay Oklahoman at a thousand paces.

    I’m rambling. Maybe because it’s a personal thing for me… I have a lot of feelings about this all at once. What it all comes down to is that we need to keep our outreach efforts going strong, even after this ceases to be the “cause du jour”. Kids like Zach need to hear that there are ways out of the dark place in which they find themselves.

  23. Austin Rozzell says

    I recommend all gay people, please go buy a gun, learn how to use it properly, and use it if you need to defend you self.
    If every gay person was armed, they would think twice about harm.

  24. One of the CA 36,000 says

    Fuck “America’s Heartland”. Fuck the South.

    The rest of the country is sick of these people’s shit. We’re sick of sending them all our tax money. We’re sick of carrying their sorry, stupid asses through life and then getting this kind of shit in return.

    The rest of the United States should simply cut those states OFF. Let them drift away and rot. Wall them off from the rest of the country. Let them go pray to the Bipolar Sky Daddy for the means to survive, while all the smart people flee to the US and Canada.

    Fuck them.

  25. Anthony says

    I think these kids are killing themselves because they’re mentally ill and that they would have probably killed themselves regardless of their orientation. The gay community turning these suicides into a trendy epidemic is certainly politically savvy (because who’s going to ignore a bunch of dead kids, right) but it’s morally questionable at best.

  26. StillmarriedinCA says

    Anthony, you asshole. Yes, these kids are mentally ill. They are severely depressed to the point of not seeing any way out but suicide. The reason they are depressed? The omnipresent homophobia in our society. They are constantly being told that they are freaks, they are less than, they are perverted, they are flawed, they are diseased, they are hell bound. If they don’t have any support to drown out the negativity, or if the people they trust the most to protect them (their parents) are joining in the gay bashing, they feel they have no choice but to end their lives.
    They would not have killed themselves if they were straight or IF WE LIVED IN A COUNTRY THAT DIDN’T BULLY LGBT CHILDREN AND ADULTS. You are the one who is morally questionable. No, strike that. No question that you are morally void.

  27. Dylan says

    Why is everything we do as gay men a product of our being gay? Suicide is incomprehensible and breaks a family’s heart, but straight people kill themselves too. Killing yourself is not a healthy reaction to a city council meeting. We desperately need mental health care in the United States.

  28. Eugene says

    “Eugene, you’re lashing out at me because I hold an opinion you don’t share. That’s fine. It is also, ironic.”

    Taodon, it’s only ironic if you believe that homophobia is a legitimate “opinion”.

  29. Casey says

    This is yet another sad event to hear about. I grew up in Tulsa, the 2nd largest city in Okla, and where there were small accepting communities, there were also hate communities. To me, sexual orientation has nothing to do with god or what he thinks, it has to do with biological attraction theories. You cannot help who you love, and I don’t think people should be socially judged for that. America the free? I will believe it when I see it.

  30. David C. Jones says

    again – and now with the cover of People Magazine – we have The Werther Effect. So sad. Expect dozens more but not just because of bullying.

  31. taodon says

    Eugene, I would never say it was a “legitimate” opinion, but opinion it is none-the-less. Is what these adults do reprehensible? Absolutely. My point is, some of the responsibility has to lie with those who are actually killing themselves. To imply otherwise is intellectually dishonest and emotionally melodramatic.

    I can’t help but wonder if we as a community have a responsibility to not only reach out to these kids, but to also encourage them that suicide is not the answer – ever. That there are solutions out there, but they have to be willing to ask.

    However, if one of these children are determined to allow these ignorant savages push them to suicide without seeking out the multitude of resources out there, what can we, as a society, do?

    These news stories seem to be pushing the notion that it is the homophobia that is killing these kids – and its not. The kids are killing themselves. The homophobia may be part of the catalyst, but I have a hard time believing it is the only reason. My worry is that we are encouraging martyrdom, and that is the last place we want to be.

    Eugene, you seem quick with your outrage, but I have to wonder, what solutions can we work on together to help these children DESPITE their environments?

  32. TJ says

    I’d bitch-slap ANTHONY, but STILLMARRIED did such a nice job that I don’t need to. I will say that the gap between “probably” and “definitely” with regard to committing suicide can be wide, and can grow wider with intervention. Also, with social support. It’s one of the areas we look at when dealing with potentially suicidal individuals. Lack of social support (and yeah, Anthony, that includes Society) is a legitimate factor. Predisposed need not mean predestined.

  33. Hmmm says

    Oklahoma makes me angry, and New York, and California, and any other place where homophobia ever existed.

    It’s really frustrating to read that so many people assume that homophobia is exclusive to “The South” or “rural places” or “small conservative towns” or wherever. Sadly, homophobia exists everywhere. We know this. Relegating it to “that place where I don’t live because it’s backwater and regressive” isn’t productive. Hate crimes occur in the “gay-friendliest” cities in our country, just as they do in other places. We have to acknowledge that homophobia is a pervasive undercurrent in our entire society, not just “The South” or wherever.

    Compartmentalizing anti-gay sentiment by assuming it’s coming from “Over There” is a common defense mechanism, but it isn’t going to make anything better for anyone, least of all the impressionable young queer people who live in the supposedly “extra homophobic” places that so often get written off. We have to stop rationalizing homophobia based on place.

  34. Brad says

    This makes me SO angry and frustrated to see people tormented because of their sexual orientation! Dammit, we ALL live in this world, and we should love and help one another, NOT hurt them. I, too lost a friend, who couldn’t live with himself, and it was a big loss. He was a brother deputy sheriff and a very good man.

    I served my country in war in the ’60s so that we could be safe from hatred here! We have a right to live our lives and not be f*****g BULLIES to each other!!

  35. Michael Harrington says

    I am Zach’s Harrington’s brother Michael. I am posting to say thank you to all of ya’ll who have posted very nice things. Our Dad and his Mother are having a tough time paying for the unexpected death of there son. I have set up a benefit in Zach’s name and I am completely clueless on how to get this info out there. If there is anybody out there that could help me get this out to the people who may be able to help. Please help me out and forward this or paste it on other sites.

    Please send a check made out to Zachery Harrington and send it to 315 E. Columbus West. Tx 76691

  36. krysta says

    This is sad. And it makes me SICK!! My prayers go out to his family. I am so sorry people are so hateful and careless. But let me tell you something..they wouldnt be so hateful and careless if it as them that was gay trying to find a place to fit in in this crazy world. I’m Bisexual. I have been since I was about 13. But I remind myself everyday.! That i am a person, just like everybody else. And I may be different but that does NOT make me any less of a person. I have my own opinions. My own feelings. My own way of life. Whether other people approve or not, I know what I believe in and I know my family and friends re behind me no matter what. This is my life and I’m sorry If you don’t agree with the way I’m living it. But stop being SO MEAN!! And SO HATEFUL and JUDGEMENTAL!! Why not try to understand why people like us exist.?

  37. Justin C says

    Honestly, I’m so frickin’ sick of society putting it on the victims as being selfish and a sign of weak character if a gay youth can’t continue to deal day-in and day-out with bigotry and hate every day. Wish someone would finally get charged with manslaughter for driving a youth to suicide, like any murderer should.

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