Sadly, yet another gay teen has taken his life, this time in Oklahoma. According to the Dallas Voice, 19-year-old Zach Harrington "endured years of struggles due to his sexual orientation in high school" and took his life a week after he attended a "hate-filled recent City Council meeting" in his conservative small town of Norman.
The Norman Transcript reports on the reaction from Harrington's family:
“When he was sitting there, I'm sure he was internalizing everything and analyzing everything … that's the kind of person he was,” she said. “I'm sure he took it personally. Everything that was said.”
Harrington's father, Van, said he wasn't sure why his son went to the meeting, especially after his experiences in Norman once he revealed that he was gay as a teenager. He said he feels his son may have glimpsed a hard reality at the Sept. 28 council meeting, a place where the same sentiments that quietly tormented him in high school were being shouted out and applauded by adults the same age as his own parents.
“I don't think it was a place where he would hear something to make him feel more accepted by the community,” he said. “For somebody like Zach, it (the meeting) was probably very hard to sit through.”
“He feared for his safety on many occasions at (Norman North), and other people like him,” Van said. “Even though he was 6-4, he was passive and I'm sure being gay in that environment didn't help.”
During rush hour on Friday, a flash mob consisting of hundreds of people staged a "Homophobia Kills" die-in inside of New York's Grand Central Station to call further attention to the recent national discussion on gay teen suicide. Watch a video of the demonstration, AFTER THE JUMP.