SACRAMENTO, Calif. Sept. 29, 2010 - Seth Walsh, a 13-year-old from Tehachapi, California, died yesterday after he hung himself nine days ago because of years of bullying he endured for being perceived as being gay, according to his peers.
In response to this tragedy, Geoff Kors, Equality California Executive Director issued the following statement.
“We extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Seth Walsh who are facing an unimaginable loss. This heartbreaking tragedy is not an isolated incidence but rather another terrible loss caused by those who promote hatred and intolerance. It is essential that we do everything in our power to end bullying and to provide youth the support they need to lead safe, healthy lives. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth, and those perceived to be LGBT, are more likely than their heterosexual peers to commit suicide, often because they are tormented at school and rejected by their communities.
“It’s time that as a society we shun the bigotry spread by groups like NOM and other anti-gay extremist organizations, as well as politicians who fan the flames of hatred and create a climate of terror for many LGBT youth and youth perceived to be LGBT. NOM should immediately stop their bus tour of California and their harmful rhetoric that causes tremendous damage to so many young people and that breeds a hostile climate, which leads to bullying.
“The Governor can also do his part to help prevent future tragedies by signing a bill this week that would enable countless at-risk youth to access mental healthcare services and to receive the support and care they need to thrive.”
The Mental Health Services for At-Risk Youth Act (SB 543) would expand access to essential mental health services, especially prevention and early intervention programs, for youth ages 12-17 by allowing them to obtain counseling without parental consent. The bill is currently on the governor’s desk. SB 543 was introduced by Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and is co-sponsored by Equality California, the National Association of Social Workers California Chapter, Mental Health America of Northern California, and the GSA network.
To find out more information about EQCA's legislation, visit http://www.eqca.org/legislation
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