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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Gay Oakland University student found dead of suicide on campus

By Todd A. Heywood-

A 19-year-old Oakland University sophomore took his own life Tuesday, a few months after telling his family and friends he was gay.
Family members of Corey Jackson say they believe the Rochester Hills, Mich., college student had been bullied over his sexual orientation, and it ultimately led him to commit suicide.

"I believe [it happened] because he recently realized he was a homosexual and he was getting pressured at school by his peers because he told his family and nothing changed here," his grandmother Carolyn Evans told Click On Detroit. "Corey was the most loving, giving, funny person. He had the most wonderful personality. He had cousins from ages 14 down to 2 and he never said a bad word about anybody. When he went to school and he realized his sexual preference had changed, he changed completely. He withdrew."
   We must look beyond the term “bullying” to the overall treatment of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community to begin to grasp the long-standing epidemic of suicide among our LGBT youth.
   While the national press has picked up this issue over the last two months, we have been losing high numbers of LGBT youth to suicide for decades. In recent years, we’ve labeled the cause as bullying. But the root cause goes deeper – it goes to the very core of our society that discriminates against the LGBT community on all levels, including the denial of basic human rights that are supposed to belong to every person.
   As I sit with the students who regularly visit the Oakland University Gender and Sexuality Center, including the newer members of our community, drawn to the Center for affirmation and support, I am confident that these individuals know they are loved and accepted for who they are. My greater concern is the hundreds of students, faculty and staff who do not come to the Center. Those who are afraid to come out – perhaps even to themselves – for fear of the persecution they will suffer. My greatest hope is that those who feel isolated reach out to resources like the GSC to discover they are not alone. We are here to listen and offer support.


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