VCU students pay tribute to suicide victims

By Tara Morgan - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Hundreds of people at VCU are paying tribute to nearly a dozen gay youths who've committed suicide in recent weeks. The VCU student organization "Queer Action" held a candle light vigil - to not only remember the young men, but to bring awareness to gay suicides and bullying.

There was a sea of candles on the VCU campus Monday night. VCU students read allowed the names of nine young men who've taken their lives last month and shared their stories with the crowd.

This candle light vigil started as a tribute, and now it's also a means of getting a message out to other gay youth about the kind of support that's out there. Before things got started, the crowd was asked by organizers to take a moment and write down the names of people they know were either victims of gay bashing and harassment and or people they've known who've committed suicide because of that.

Sadly, a clothes line filled up pretty fast with tiny pieces of paper.

"As a Catholic I think a lot of people would agree with me the sanctity of life, anyone's life, doesn't matter what background you're from or sexual orientation - nothing comes above the sanctity of life," said Emma Gauthier, VCU student.

"It's just great to see everyone come out in support of something that is very tragic, and I wish it could be under better terms. It is bringing light to something that is very important," said VCU student Brian Rutherford.

"I think it means a lot to me personally as an LBGT youth myself and as one whose previously struggled with depression in the past, it's amazing to see this many people come out in support," said student Morgan Britt.

This vigil was documented by the student group "Queer Action" which is preparing a VCU version of the youtube video "It gets better." That video is expected to be complete in a couple of weeks and shown on campus.

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