Raymond Chase, Openly Gay College Student, Commits Suicide

Raymond-Chase-1 I'm afraid I must deliver some more bad, horribly familiar news: a 19-year old college student named Raymond Chase has committed suicide. Chase, a student of culinary arts at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, hung himself for reasons that remain unclear. Regardless of his motive, this is a horrible tragedy.

The gay group Campus Pride sent out a statement about Chase's death: "The loss of Raymond this week is the second college LGBT-related suicide in a week and the fifth teenage LGBT suicide in three weeks. The suicide of this openly gay young man is for reasons currently unknown; however, the recent pattern of LGBT youth suicides is cause for grave concern,” remarked the group's executive director, Shane Windmeyer.

“Campus Pride demands national action be taken to address youth bullying, harassment and the need for safety and inclusion for LGBT youth at colleges and universities across the country. We must not let these tragic deaths go unnoticed. Together we must act decisively to curb anti-LGBT bias incidents, harassment and acts of violence.”  

With all the attention surrounding Tyler Clementi's suicide, it would be nice if the White House and other political forces came out and made a statement about this devastating, disturbing trend. Think they will?

Comments

  1. stephen says

    In the USA we seem to have an absolute idea about freedom of speech, but you can’t yell, “FIRE” in a crowded theater…

    Is that really so far off from groups like NOM, Katholic Khurch, Phelps, 50 cent & the like… can we not acknowledge that creating a climate that wrongly vilifies persons for something as intrinsic as the color of their skin is just plain wrong?

    In ‘backward’ nations like Brazil, Germany, & others, this kind of speech is not protected, but recognized as hate-speech and comes with consequences.

    I can’t drive 100 mph on the highway b/c it is unsafe & has consequence to others- can we really call ourselves a civil society when we are clearly not.

  2. Andy says

    No. I don’t think the White House will say anything. I’ve given up on Obama. He was the first person I voted for because I truly believed he’d bring change. Now I’ll just go back to my usual “voting for the least evil bastard on the ballot” routine. Problem is, even that’s getting harder.

  3. Justin says

    This is happening more and more because when the gov’t decides that the LGBT community are second class citizens, some members of the majority think its ok to treat them as such. They dont understand that equality is needed for many reasons, just not marriage.

  4. Mike says

    I firmly stand for the first amendment – I think it is a dangerous slippery slope when you start banning speech. That said, we have a responsibility to start “calling people out” on their hateful behaviour. The media is as much to blame as anyone; treating those who are against marriage equality and non-discrimination laws as having a difference of opinion. This all echoes of the slavery arguments which led up to the civil war. The only way to fight this is to basically come out. People aren’t going to vilify their friends, family and neighbours (well, at least most aren’t). As we become more visible we will become more accepted.

  5. ratbastard says

    I’m not deliberately trying to be an ahole or troll but how many suicides do people think occurred in just the U.S. alone (300 plus million people) over say the past week, or even just the past 24 hrs? Many. Singling out young gays is cherry-picking.

    It’s not publicly known why Raymond killed himself and for all we known it could have involved very personal stuff like relationship break up, scorned by another, difficult personal life, some gays even have difficulty fitting into so-called gay culture…there are A MILLION reasons why someone would kill themselves.

    Now don’t get me wrong, being gay doesn’t exactly make normal everyday life and it’s problems any easier.

  6. mnrocko says

    As with anything in this country 1 or 2 bully cases are never enough..Now do these suicides happen continually and we (I) only are hearing of them now on a regular basis because of the spotlight on them?.. or was the first 1 or 2 a trigger?
    One thing you can be sure of..NOM and other right wing christian organizations are taking delight in this spotlight on self hating gays.
    I have no doubt that devastating actions prompted these young people to take their own lives..but really over the fact someone found out? someone taunts you? someone watched you? I mean for me to think that someone values life so little that you can’t go on because of who you are? Is mind boggling.
    If you can’t be yourself in college then society and your parents have failed you..because overall being gay isn’t that big of deal except in certain pockets of the U. S. and my inclination would be to move if I were in 1 of those pockets..and whatever happened to fighting back? We have so many resources now, so many allies, taking the suicide route really only gives fuel to your enemies, in their eyes your suicide equates the hate god/society feel for you..it makes them stronger..gives them a reason to go on..The Phelps clan is probably dancing everytime they read about 1 of these kids taking their own lives.
    So I guess the key is ..how do we get gay people to fight back?.. how do we get them to say fuk off?..how do we get them..to GROW A PAIR?..
    Seriously, everytime I read about a suicide because of bullying or non-acceptance I relate it to my own life growing up in a rural town of 2000 people, I never cared what anyone thought, it never crossed my mind to hurt myself because of pressure from a peer group..I thought ..how do I become stronger then them? .how do I manipulate the situation to my benefit?
    So how do we get these kids who are being attacked to fight back? Tell them it gets better? Of course it does..but not if you don’t get off your ass and make some changes..do whatever it takes, there are options out there..there are organizations out there..there are people out there…you just have to love/care about yourself enough to take action..Why hurt yourself when you can strike a blow against the Phelps, the Gallagers, etc. out there?
    I am hoping we don’t read about more of these tragic deaths, but my guess is now that this is a hotspot, we will see many more…Ahh the media…ahhh the fame..

  7. Dback says

    From what I could tell, most of the media completely missed the point in the Tyler Clementi case: they were focused on what charges the roommates should be brought up on, and was this case parallel with the one where the bullied teenage girl committed suicide, etc. They were horrified by Tyler’s death, but completely failed to tie it in with this disturbing trend of 5 deaths in three weeks. Unfortunately, I don’t see our leaders doing much of anything to address this–I’m usually a Democratic voter, but the way they just closed up shop and ran for the hills yesterday made me furious. No wonder so many young people feel alone, hurting, and unsupported in the world.

  8. Bob R says

    I’m not sure, nor apparently is anyone else right now, that this young man committed suicide because he is gay. There may be other reasons, so until more is known, I’ll reserve my judgment.

    If Mr. Chase was driven to suicide because of being gay, I would point the finger of blame directly at the pernicious virus that has plagued not just gays, but mankind itself, for far too many years. That vile, destructive, unrelenting a pervasive virus is religion and the hatred and intolerance which is a symptom found in almost all of those who become infected.

    Religion is a virus that destroys the soul it is purports to save, distorts the intellect and strikes out viciously against any host that denies it a home.

    Unfortunately, this virus is out of control in America. It needs to fought and resisted at every opportunity. It has successfully invaded our military, the body politic and the population at large. We even use our tax dollars to spread the virus, not just within our own borders, but without as well.

    Truth, science, reason and ridicule are the weapons that must be used. We must get people to think, critically reason, use logic and recognize truth again. So far the virus as succeeded in killing reason, distorting truth, and it is attacking science anew. Perhaps ridicule may be the last weapon left?

  9. Aaron says

    This boy came from my home town and I have mutual friends on…shudder…Facebook.

    He was out to his friends, and decided to tell his mother. She disowned him.

  10. Jack says

    @RATBASTARD:

    It might look like cherry-picking to focus on instances of LGBT suicide, but in reality, the research has shown that LGBT youth are at a greater risk of suicide. This is a specific subset of the greater suicide problem.

    Also, this is a gay blog.

  11. mnrocko says

    where the fuck is obama??

    Posted by: r | Oct 1, 2010 10:52:26

    Better yet..where the fuck is Oprah???
    She could single handedly turn this into a non-issue..

  12. Brian in Texas says

    Obama has spoken out on bullying. He did so at his address to students returning to school at the beginning of last month.

    He said:

    “Being a teenager isn’t easy…When I was your age, I was wrestling with questions about who I was; about what it meant to be the son of a white mother and a black father, and not having that father in my life,” said Obama. “Some of you may be working through your own questions right now, and coming to terms with what makes you different.”

    These are all tragedies, but these kids need to be told, “it will get better” “this too shall pass”

  13. Ted B. says

    Wheres’ Obama? Right now he’s giving his pal, Rahm Emmanuel, a big boost and endorsement in Emmanuel’s bid to become the next mayor of Chicago. Nothing-like kicking off a campaign from the East Room.

    Nothing trump’s electoral partisan-politics in the Omama White House….not even dead kids.

  14. Reader says

    Guys, listen: I don’t know anything about this tragic case, and I don’t think any of us do. Young people, gay and straight, kill themselves. Bullying often has nothing to do with it. Depression often does. And I really don’t think it’s at all relevant to bring Obama into this.

  15. Bobo says

    Obama will NEVER make a statement about these kids deaths, and/or the need for anti-bullying laws. Maybe if a journalist asks him a direct question, he may comment in his usual lame way…but he will say nothing about the need for anti-bullying laws in those comments, and what leads to the feelings that it is okay to harrass gay people…because he is part of the PROBLEM!!

  16. David C says

    Teen gay suicides is the most tragic thing and must be stopped – we must do everything we can to reach out to these youth and stop bullying.

    But be cautious – study after study shows that when you NAME suicide victims – when you draw specific attention to specific people and talk about them in great specific detail you actually can inspire some people to who are felling isolated and alone to commit copy cat suicides.

    To be clear – I am not against the tragedy and shining the light on it and stopping it with every means possible – but in our passion and outrage we don’t want to cause the Werther Effect.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copycat_suicide

  17. ratbastard says

    It might look like cherry-picking to focus on instances of LGBT suicide, but in reality, the research has shown that LGBT youth are at a greater risk of suicide. This is a specific subset of the greater suicide problem.

    Also, this is a gay blog.

    POSTED BY: JACK | OCT 1, 2010 10:37:43 AM

    ******************************

    I am OF COURSE aware suicides are higher among gays of all ages, and that this is a gay blog.

    Adding another dimension to this old story I thought would be interesting, instead of post after post basically saying the same thing(s).

    Comprende?

  18. veg says

    I actually agree with DC. Why bring Obama and Oprah into the story of these horrible and sad suicides? There are so many leaders in America of all races and professional positions that we may conflate with this problem. Why doesn’t Barbara Walters give a speech; or Katharine Jackson? It takes nothing away from this tragedy to say that there are countless deaths and problems across the country and the world. Just this week it was confirmed by the UN that Israel openly executed an American citizen on the Gaza flotilla this summer. President Obama has not said anything about that either; nor has he said anything about Tibet; or the death of Eddie Fisher.

    I actually think the national response to these horrible suicides has been excellent. The news media is publicizing these deaths beautifully and many str8 people that I know are outraged in ways that I’ve never seen before.

    I was affiliated with a local gay youth group called SMYAL for awhile. I learned then that gay youth commit suicide at disproportionately high rates. But only this month have I seen this level of outrage OR, even more importantly, these suicides as being directly linked to homophobia.

  19. Lexxvs says

    Why it is news when any gay student commits suicide? I mean, when there is a strong suspicion that’s the consequence of bullying etc. well… but if each and every time someone takes his life becomes news, then sadly it’s gonna be a long list of reporting, and the effect will be that the news will be overlooked.
    We know that social pressure, bullying and lack of support can increase the rate of suicides among gay teens over their straight peers, a fact that should be addressed but transforming the site into an obituary won’t help.

  20. says

    It would be nice if political leaders, including Obama, addressed homophobia, bullying issues, and youth suicide. The bully pulpit, despite its name, is meaningful.

    But Andrew’s question seems gratuitous provocation in this case–it would be odd for Obama to specifically address unique tragedies that may or may not signify a trend, particularly when several are under investigation with the possibility of criminal charges. Unfortunately, there are enough tragedies in the world that the president could address them 24/7, but that’s not really his job.

    Making everything about Obama’s response (or lack thereof) is an easy political sidetrack. The more difficult and meaningful question is what can we, as a society, do to stop bullying and let young people know that there are alternatives to killing themselves.

  21. missanthrope says

    “Barack Obama has displayed a profound and determined indifference to our lives and our rights. How could anyone expect that to change now?”

    This comment is win. The Democratic Party views us as expendable tokens who make convenient ATMs when election season comes around. They will do something for us that matters when it’s clear there will be no political risk for doing so.

    Until then, expect noting from them.

  22. jjasonham says

    @ERNIE

    Thank you. SANITY. Some here would have every situation like this be a political whip to lash anyone that isn’t doing something specifically for them. LGBT suicide is an absolute tragedy that must be addressed by everyone, but to turn it into another political litmus test is absolutely sickening.

  23. shannon says

    MY HEART GOES OUT TO YOU FRIEND!!!! We need to fight back!! if someone tries to bully or bash you…..PICK UP A BRICK AND BEAT THE HELL OUT OF THEM!!!!!

  24. cwm says

    Obama doesn’t support gay rights.

    (Which, from his actions as President, is self-evident.)

    Before he was elected, he mouthed the words his advisers had told him were the ones gay people would want to hear. Because it would help him get elected.

    You won’t again hear anything remotely like it–not from Obama–at least, not until we’re a lot closer to Nov. 2012.

    Obama promised to close Guantanamo and roll back the anti-Constitutional excesses of Dubya. Instead he’s defending and expanding upon that legacy.

    Dyxj! We’ve got to stop having daydreams that this ineffectual [tovl will do anything helpful.

    And start doing what needs to be done, ourselves.

  25. denise says

    To Aaron the post about his mother disowning him.

    You have no idea what u are talking about. U need to mind your freaking business and take about shit u know.

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