2 More Deaths

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Two Other Gay Teen Suicides in September 2010

Vigil with Six-Point Call to Action

 Cody Barker, 17, from Appleton, Wisconsin and Chloe Lacey, 18, from Clovis, California took their lives in September 2010.   In addition to Tyler Clementi, 18, Seth Walsh, 13, Billy Lucas, 15, Asher Brown, 13, and Justin Aaberg, 15, Cody Barker and Chloe Lacey bring to seven the reported gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender teen suicides from bullying last month.

 “There is an under-reported homophobic epidemic in our nation. It affects vulnerable teens as they try to navigate adolescence and their sexuality,” stated Malcolm Lazin, Executive Director, Equality Forum, a national and international GLBT civil rights organization with an educational focus.  “It is not totally accurate to call their loss a suicide. They were battered by homophobia.”

 Equality Forum has organized a Vigil on Sunday, October 10th in Philadelphia. Philadelphia is the site of the first organized gay and lesbian civil rights demonstrations each July 4th from 1965 to 1969 in front Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.

 “We will mourn these lost souls and have a call to action.” said Lazin. “The six-point call to action includes steps for President Obama, colleges, school boards and educators, federal and state legislatures and citizens to eliminate homophobia as one of the nation’s most toxic social diseases.”

 Among the speakers at the Vigil will be Susan Wheeler, mother of James Wheeler, who took his life after being surrounded in his high school locker room and urinated on.

 The Vigil will be held at the William Way Community Center, 1315 Spruce Street, Philadelphia from 4 to 4:30 p.m. The Vigil is organized by Equality Forum, William Way Community Center, Attic Youth Center and over 20 community organizations.