Raymond Chase, a reportedly gay 19-year-old student at Johnson & Wales, Rhode Island, is thought to have committed suicide Wednesday by apparently hanging himself in his dorm room, it has emerged.
Currently the reason for his apparent suicide is unknown.
Details surrounding the incident remain scare at this stage, but perezhilton.com reports that the Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students, Ronald Martel, sent the following email on Thursday to students alongside an offer of grief counseling:
Today I contact you with the deeply sad news of the passing of Raymond Chase, sophomore, 19, culinary arts major. The campus community is mourning the loss of this vibrant young man who leaves many JWU friends and teachers, and a loving family of Monticello, New York.
Funeral arrangements are not available at this time. As we obtain more information that can be shared, we will do so. Ray’s JWU friends and the university are planning a memorial service for the campus community. Those details will be forthcoming.
In the meantime, I encourage anyone who is having a difficult time to seek the services available at Student Counseling Our staff of professionals is here to work with all of you during this sorrowful time. Their help and confidentiality is a benefit that you should consider.
Group Campus Pride has demanded that there be national action to address the problem of LGBTQ youth suicide:
“The loss of Raymond this week is the second college LGBT-related suicide in a week and the fifth teenage LGBT suicide in three weeks. The suicide of this openly gay young man is for reasons currently unknown; however, the recent pattern of LGBT youth suicides is cause for grave concern,” said Shane Windmeyer, executive director and founder of Campus Pride. “Campus Pride demands national action be taken to address youth bullying, harassment and the need for safety and inclusion for LGBT youth at colleges and universities across the country. We must not let these tragic deaths go unnoticed. Together we must act decisively to curb anti-LGBT bias incidents, harassment and acts of violence.”
Meanwhile, talk show host Ellen DeGeneres has released a video entitled “An Important Message” hoping to raise awareness of this situation, to reach out to suffering kids and teens so that they know they are not alone, and to move people to action to help at risk youth. You can watch the video here.
As mentioned above, this comes in the wake of several gay or gay perceived youths having taken their own lives in the past three weeks.
18 year-old Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers student, took his own life last week by jumping off the George Washington Bridge after his roommate allegedly secretly filmed him in an encounter with another man. Read more about his story here.
13 year-old Seth Walsh, a Californian teenager who spent nine days in hospital on life-support following a suicide attempt, died Tuesday. He was bullied for being perceived as gay.
13 year-old Asher Brown killed himself with his father’s gun following a sustained campaign of anti-gay bullying at school. On the morning he took his own life, he came out to his parents. Read more about their stories here.
15 year-old Billy (William) Lucas took his own life a couple of weeks ago after what has been described as years of bullying over his perceived sexuality. You can read more about his story here.
Don’t Suffer in Silence, Get Help
The Trevor Project runs a 24/7 helpline with trained counselors ready to listen if you or someone you know would like to talk about the issues dealt with in this post.
The Trevor Project Helpline number is 1-866-4-U-TREVOR (1-866-488-7386).
Trevor Project Links:
- Follow the Trevor Project on Facebook
- Follow the Trevor Project on Twitter
- Volunteer for the Trevor Project
Take Action, Stop Youth Suicides
Help end anti-LGBT bullying and youth suicide. Sign the new Care2 petition asking Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to include gender identity and sexual orientation protections in anti-bullying programs.
Update: Devastatingly, names of other youths who are thought to have taken their own lives during the month of September are emerging. The New Civil Rights Movement lists four more names in addition to those above: Cody J. Barker (17) of Wisconsin, Harrison Chase Brown (15) of Colorado, Felix Sacco (17) of Massachusetts and Caleb Nolt (14) of Indiana. All but Sacco are said to have been victims of bullying, and all but one are said to have suffered anti-LGBTQ bullying.