When Tyler Clementi leapt from a bridge after his roommate posted a video of his tryst with another man online, and 13-year-old Seth Walsh hung himself after enduring relentless anti-gay taunts, their actions not only resulted in tragic deaths, they helped to serve as a wake-up call that LGBT discrimination, especially among young people, is a serious issue that needs to be addressed.
Clementi and Walsh are just two of many gay teens who have recently committed suicide, and the wave of deaths has prompted high-profile names to speak out against anti-gay harassment and sparked grassroots efforts to curb intolerance.
"Harry Potter" star Daniel Radcliffe is among many around the world saddened by the number of gay youth who felt the need to take their own lives rather than continue to deal with abuse from their peers. In an exclusive statement to MTV News, Radcliffe lamented the tragic loss of life and called for greater support for those who are struggling.
"Learning about the suicide deaths of Tyler Clementi, Seth Walsh, Asher Brown, Billy Lucas and Justin Aaberg has been heartbreaking for me. These young people were bullied and tormented by people that should have been their friends," Radcliffe said. "We have a responsibility to be better to each other, and accept each others' differences regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, race, ability, or religion and stand up for someone when they're bullied."
Radcliffe also urged people to reach out if they believe a pal may be considering suicide.
"When a friend is feeling depressed or says they're thinking of killing themselves, we must take it seriously and get them help," Radcliffe continued, before directing young people to the website of the Trevor Project, an organization he has championed that provides support for LGBT youth and runs a 24-hour crisis-prevention hotline.
"My deepest sympathies go out to the families and friends of these excellent young people. And to all the young people who are being bullied right now, you are not alone. Call the Trevor Lifeline at 866 4-U-TREVOR, because there's always someone there who will listen and who can help."
The Trevor Project is also a supporting partner of MTV, the Jed Foundation and actress Brittany Snow's new Love Is Louder initiative. Love Is Louder — which is also supported by DoSomething.org, Reach Out, Active Minds and the Ad Council — strives to encourage young people and relay messages of love and hope to those who feel they have nowhere else to turn.
Check out the Love Is Louder Facebook page for more information. You can also upload videos to Your.MTV.com, just like Jonathan Bennett, Torrey DeVitto, Snow and Vinny Guadagnino did. You can also keep the conversation going on Twitter by using the hashtag #loveislouder.