Andrew Sullivan | Dan Savage | Dharun Ravi | Tyler Clementi

Dharun Ravi's Support From The Gay Community


Reuters published an article yesterday neatly summarizing the support Dharun Ravi has received from various members of the gay community. (If you're just tuning in: Ravi is the 20-year-old who, two years ago, briefly used his webcam to spy on his new roommate, Tyler Clementi, during a gay hookup; Clementi committed suicide shortly thereafter, and Ravi's now been convicted of a hate crime. He could face substantial prison time, and will likely be deported.)

Reuters quoted Aaron Hicklin, the debonaire editor of Out:

"Ravi's conviction was a compelling signal that harassment and bullying of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people carries penalties," Aaron Hicklin [wrote] in an article arguing that Ravi be set free.

"Yet the verdict also left a bitter aftertaste, as if what was being satisfied was not justice, but revenge."

Hicklin cited a past comment by Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan that even if Clementi were alive today, he would have presented virtually the same case to the jury. Anyone who believes Kaplan, Hicklin wrote, is "kidding himself."

"Ravi was convicted because Clementi is dead," Hicklin wrote, adding that the suicide "left us reaching for simplistic answers where there are none."

... and gay rights activist Bill Dobbs:

At a rally in support of Ravi outside the New Jersey Statehouse in Trenton this week, Bill Dobbs ... told the crowd that Ravi was "overcharged" in the incident.

"The hate crime law in New Jersey has got so many problems that it should be repealed," Dobbs said. "It has become a dangerous weapon that is not necessary."

... and Andrew Sullivan:

Sullivan ... said the hate crime charges, without which Ravi would likely get probation and no prison time, were "tenuous" and "repellent."

"This was a bigoted online hazing, followed by a judicial witch-hunt," Sullivan wrote.

... and lesbian writer E.J. Graff:

E.J. Graff ... said in her column in The American Prospect, "I fear that Ravi is an easy scapegoat for a complicated problem."

... and the head of Garden State Equality, Steven Goldstein:

"Justice is best served by his serving some jail time for the crime committed," ... Goldstein said. "The moderate position is not to throw the book at this young man, nor should he get off Scott free."

... and mentions that Ravi has the support of Dan Savage and New Jersey's gay ex-governor, Jim McGreevey, as well.


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  1. Justice is revenge and always has been. What this creep did was reprehensible and I do think it was a hate crime. Were Clementi straight the entire episode would never have occurred. I don't want to see his head on a pike, but I think he should do jail time and be deported. As for the comment about Clementi's common looks, yeah, if he looked like Brad Pitt or Mark Wahlberg, the call for Ravi's head would be almost unanimous for most gays, maybe even a few of the sympathetic pundits would not be as outraged.

    Posted by: Bob R | May 19, 2012 7:15:01 PM


    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | May 19, 2012 7:20:17 PM

  3. Let's all decide why someone who forced a gay to commit suicide should be handled? What a horrible fate. As gays can be victims, they are Salem Witch burners when circumstances are reversed. I think they should be let him out. Andrew Sullivan can pick him up.
    I think about gay parents. I fear too severe.

    Posted by: Jason | May 19, 2012 7:20:39 PM

  4. He should not be getting "gay support," that's for sure. That headline is now all over the Internet--what does it imply? That we support him and are against, who? Tyler? The actual victim of Ravi's crime.

    By gay support they really mean, I hope, that some gay people support relatively light punishment for him. But even that trivializes Tyler's death by puting Ravi in a victim's light he doesn't deserve. He could have easily avoided all this by acting like a decent human being, and, later, by accepting a plea deal.

    It's telling that several of the "supporters" are those who oppose the whole idea of a hate crime, like Sullivan and Dobbs, who has even spoken against marriage equality. But to focus on Ravi's punishment--because the events leading up to the crime were "complicated"--is another kind of simplification now that it's permanently branded as "gay support" of someone whose actions contributed to the death of another human being.

    How about support of those who never would have behaved like Ravi chose to? How about support for those who are deliberately targeted for humiliation by thoughtless people with an overblown sense do entitlement?

    Posted by: Ernie | May 19, 2012 7:23:34 PM

  5. Circumstantial evidence does not a hate crime make. And, please, explain to me exactly what "hate crime" Dharun Ravi committed.

    I get it. Ravi broadcast over the internet remotely from his computer from the dorm room he and Tyler shared Tyler in intimate situations with another man. Humiliating, to be sure, but a "hate crime"? I'm not sure where the "hate" is.

    There is stupidity and insensitivity here, certainly, on the part of Ravi. But, where is the "hate"? I have yet to see any.

    Tyler Clementi's suicide was tragic, but not one of us can say for certain why Tyler jumped off the GW bridge and plunged to his death, can we? Or, have I missed something completely?

    There was a note Tyler wrote, but the contents have never been revealed. There was a text message from Tyler right before he leaped from the bridge but it mentioned nothing of Ravi.

    Did I miss something in the news coverage that Ravi sent out messages about how much he hated gays and that gays deserved death? Did he get a gang together and attack Tyler, or rape him or beat him to death or cause Tyler severe injury?

    Has Ravi stood on the floor of some state's legislature and slandered the very humanity of LGBT people, calling for their removal from society by imprisonment or death, or invoked obscure texts from some religion's "holy" book toustify the continued oppression of gays and lesbians as "god's will"?

    Has Ravi been an anti-LGBT activist, going from talk show to talk show and expressing the most vile lies about LGBT people under the guise of "free speech"?

    Again, I am not sure what "hate" crime was committed here. I see stupidity, insensitivity, arrogance, unbridled hubris. But, I don't see any hate crime.

    Why? Because we simply do not know why Tyler Clementi jumped of the G.W. Bridge that night in 2010. No one here and not even the prosecutor can correctly claim that they know exactly what Tyler was thinking when he jumped to his death.

    Suicide is the ultimate act of desperation to escape one's inner demons and personal torments. I am a survivor of bullying and abuse--physical (beatings and rape), emotional (rejection by family and classmates) and psychological (I am scum, a sinner, a pervert because I am queer)--and I many times wanted to commit suicide so great was the despair and constant humiliation I felt. But, I didn't and I don't know why.

    Some of the abuse I suffered as a child, then adolescent, would surely qualify today as "hate crimes". There is great comfort that society has at least recognized what a crime against humanity the act of bullying is.

    But, I must ask again: what constitutes "hate"? And, what are the torments that a person suffers that compels them to commit suicide? Further, what are the causes of such torments and can it be proven absolutely that a stupid, insensitive prank by an arrogant, immature prick actually caused the suicide of a very sensitive, perhaps immature, gay man?

    I don't want revenge. I want justice. I am not convinced that the trial and conviction of Dharun Ravi and his ultimate jail time and deportation constitute justice where Tyler Clementi and his tragic suicide are concerned.

    Posted by: jamal49 | May 19, 2012 7:46:29 PM

  6. There is a HUGE difference between revenge and punishment for an evil act. What comes next forgiving gay bashing? Do we turn the other cheek again and again.
    This kid's arrogance and lack of remorse does not desrve any degree of sympathy.
    How many more tormented souls must be pushed over the edge before we punish the pushers. He and his excusers don't feel he did anything wrong, he carries no guilt and expects to be forgiven. There is NO forgiveness for destroying the human spirit. Deport this bastard and make certain he can't return.

    Posted by: Iwontgrowup | May 19, 2012 8:14:20 PM

  7. It's sad that some of the comments above are made by people who have only read the headlines and don't know what actually happened. One example: Ravi posted nothing online. Nothing. Nor is it proper to describe what he did as "broadcast" his roommate's sex life.

    But why let facts stand in the way of emoting?

    Posted by: Bingo | May 19, 2012 8:18:17 PM

  8. @JAMAL49: I take some of your points, but you don't have to shout hateful anti-gay slurs on the floor of a legislature (or some of your other examples) before committing a crime to be convicted of "bias intimidation." It's not outlandish--even for those who think he faces an overly severe sentence--for the jury to have seen bias intimidation in Ravi's actions. He may not have hated Tyler because he was gay, but his deliberate intimidation of Tyler had clear anti-gay roots.

    A lesson for other people to learn is that when you target someone for deliberate humiliation, and that humiliation has tragic consequences--even if you obviously didn't intend them--you will have to live with them. And, again, Ravi could have owned up to doing wrong via a plea bargain and have taken a much lighter (and, it would be hard to argue, unjust) punishment, but he chose not to.

    One hopes that whatever punishment he ultimately receives will make some other young people think twice about targeting others for humiliation. Because you can't know fully what is in another's mind, that should be more reason to treat everyone as you yourself would like to be treated. And if you don't, your poor treatment of another person could impact the rest of your life.

    Posted by: Ernie | May 19, 2012 8:34:20 PM

  9. He posted tons online about Tyler Clementi, Bingo. And he told all his friends about the webcam and what time to watch Tyler and MB have sex.

    Your water-carrying for this creep is nauseating.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | May 19, 2012 8:40:30 PM

  10. Stop it. Just stop it! Enough is enough. This kid has suffered enough already also. He knows what he did wasn't right. Don't pile decades of dogma and hatred on his sholders alone. The likelihood of him repeating this offense is zero! The lilkelihood of others repeating this offence, now with all this publicity, is nil. Thge point has been made. Forgiveness is gold. Just my opinion.

    Posted by: castaway | May 19, 2012 8:55:06 PM

  11. Ravi brought it upon himself. He could have just gotten probation and he snuffed his nose at it.

    Posted by: chris255 | May 19, 2012 9:08:26 PM

  12. Essentially, VIRILENE, I am with you on this. It is his lack of remorse, his refusal to accept any culpability in the suicide of Tyler Clementi that most condemns me in his eyes.

    But that just makes him an A**hole, and if we start passing out long prison sentences for being an A**hole, than a lot of us would be in deep Sh . . . fecal matter!

    And Kiwi is right, he is being condemned for the very thing that wins republican politician votes.

    We have enough natural born A**holes in this country so I say deport his arrogant, remorseless a** back to India. That would not be so bad. He would only be there as long as it took for his arrogant family to purchase him a Canadian citizenship.

    Posted by: Ricco | May 19, 2012 10:17:56 PM

  13. Just because all these folks are well known doesn't mean they're right. I personally think they're 100% wrong.

    I'm little surprised by some of names on that list. I'm not surprised Dan Savage and Andrew Sullivan are on it. Both are often wrong and never seem to review their opinions to see if maybe just maybe they might be wrong.

    I often wish both of them would just go away. And they can take the HRC with them.

    Posted by: Tony | May 19, 2012 10:37:26 PM

  14. @Ricco
    Being remorseless is more than being an a$$hole, it is psychopathy. This guy is dangerous and needs to be kept out of society as long as possible; it won't do him any good as he will never change, but it will keep us safer in the mean time.
    Kiwi is wrong. That is a reason to condemn Republicans, not to forgive psychopaths. Republicans do it for cynical political reasons. This guy did it because he is plain evil. There is a big diffence.
    How have you been? I haven't seen you around recently and I miss you. Your posts are amongst my favorites. if you care to chat away from here, that was my email.

    Posted by: NullNaught | May 19, 2012 10:38:34 PM

  15. The problem is that he's likely to win on appeal and therefore make hate crimes always look vindictive rather than just. Also, the test for the prosecutor would have been what would have transpired had TC pressed charges instead of committing suicide. In all likelihood no criminal charges would have been forthcoming. A civil case would have been seen as small potatoes. He might have sued Rutgers, but what lawyer would have taken the case? TC was not only a doormat, per David E's words, he was suicidal. If this was a crime worth prosecuting, the burden fell primarily on TC. In essence, the prosecutor was acting on his behalf. Now, a number of suicides do lead to trials of various sorts and the occasional prosecution, but the vast majority receive no attention (there's a bit of a press blackout unless the person is young, gay or famous) and certainly no follow-through. In theory, we should see an increase in the number of invasion of privacy trial in the coming years, so watch that statistic.

    Posted by: anon | May 19, 2012 10:54:02 PM

  16. I can't believe this little asswipe is getting support from anyone.

    The verdicts were what they were irrespective of the fact that Tyler committed suicide. The facts are, Ravi clearly did what he did, and he clearly did it because Tyler was with a dude - he tried to cover it up because he knew what he was doing - and then he attempted to portray himself as someone who didn't know who gay people were and didn't know any better - thinking the jury were idiots.

    He is completely guilty of every single one of the charges he was found guilty of, and he deserves what he gets - hopefully some jail time and a deportation.

    It was about time we had a judge, and a jury, that acted responsibly basing their evaluation of the case on facts, and not heartstrings (unlike the Brandon McInerny case).

    Bravo to this jury, bravo to the judge, and shame on those that have sympathy for this homophobic jerk.

    Posted by: Davelandia | May 19, 2012 10:59:17 PM

  17. So gay leaders, pressing for the harshest possible treatment of people who target gays, are unhappy when they perceive that their political efforts in the judicial arena have caught someone in their trap that does not really measure up to the villainy. Now that this twink is being ground up by the system they created they realize it's a little harsh. But they set this Pumpkinhead in motion, and they can't stop it. It makes for good resume stuffing, puts a big feather in the cap of the prosecutor, rings that conviction and tough on crime bell real loud.

    Posted by: Ted | May 19, 2012 11:03:43 PM

  18. Ravi doesn't have MY support!

    The bigot deserves prison. These softies are worried Ravi's a scapegoat? They're worried the Law is making an example of him?

    GUESS WHAT: That's how Law + Punishment works! Prison is *supposed* to be a deterrent! Ravi committed crimes that resulted in a suicide. He deserves to be punished to the FULL extent of the Law.

    Posted by: Randall Reynolds | May 19, 2012 11:14:15 PM

  19. Jamal do you think he should have gotten anything?

    Posted by: GeorgeM | May 19, 2012 11:55:53 PM

  20. Bill dobbs is disgusting
    Read the article from 2006 about gay marriage

    Posted by: GeorgeM | May 20, 2012 12:19:25 AM

  21. I've never heard anyone mention Tyler's looks before. Certainly there was a lot of attention & sympathy when he committed suicide & at the time of the trial. But would there have been more attention & sympathy if he was hotter? Maybe, maybe not . . .

    Posted by: Swine | May 20, 2012 1:31:37 AM

  22. I've wondered many times if Clementi would have committed suicide anyway, as in, even if he had never been taped by Ravi. This is a question that bugs me. Was there some other reason at work for which Clementi would have committed suicide?

    Posted by: Bill Michael | May 20, 2012 4:54:37 AM

  23. No.

    Gasping at straws is not "becoming" Bill Michael

    It's PATHETIC!

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | May 20, 2012 8:44:50 AM

  24. I am shocked at the Uncle Tom attitude that some of these activists and people of "knowledge: have taken. The fact is Clemente is dead. The fact is it is because of Ravis actions. The fact is Ravi gets to live, his family gets to hug him. The fact is Clemente is dead, leaving behind grieving loved ones.

    Support for Ravi by the LGBT community? INSANE. I no longer want to be the doormat, the little kid laughed at and tormented by the word fag, or the shy guy afraid to speak his mind in the name of injustice.
    Savage U is off my radar now. The others.....SHAME ON YOU.

    Posted by: jimmy palmieri | May 20, 2012 10:01:53 AM

  25. I was in favor of lenience for Dharun until I saw his interview with Chris Cuomo. He was answering off the record questions he had refused to answer under oath, and seemed to absolve himself of any and all responsibility in this matter - including his attempts to tamper with witnesses and destroy evidence. I realized then that this kid is a sociopath. Perhaps a long prison sentence isn't in order, but the sooner he is ushered out of this country the better. He has amply demonstrated a total lack of empathy and a complete willingness to manipulate others; I now find it impossible to give him the benefit of the doubt.

    Posted by: Kevin Donohue | May 20, 2012 10:06:30 AM

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