April 09, 2009, New York, NY - The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the nation's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy and anti-defamation organization, today joined the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) in expressing sympathy to the family of Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, an 11-year-old Massachusetts boy who committed suicide after being the victim of bullying at his middle school that included anti-LGBT taunts.
“This tragic loss of life is the latest example of why anti-LGBT defamation must be eradicated from our culture,” said Neil G. Giuliano, President of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. “Words matter and can turn what should be a safe place for learning into a dangerous and isolating for many students — gay or straight — who regularly face verbal and physical attacks.”
In news reports the mother of Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover said that classmates repeatedly called him gay along with making fun of the way he dressed, despite that he did not identify as an LGBT youth.
“We urge media to raise awareness for how anti-LGBT language impacts all of us and how hate rhetoric can result in tragic losses to all communities,” continued Giuliano.
GLAAD is currently engaged in the “Be an Ally & a Friend” public service announcement campaign, which includes celebrities from television, film and sports who encourage people of all ages to be allies to LGBT people. For more information please visit www.glaad.org/ally.