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Tyler Clementi’s parents speak out: ‘One of our big jobs is to promote LGBT acceptance’

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

NEW YORK — In their first television interview, Tyler Clementi’s parents Jane and Joe Clementi talked with NBC’s Kerry Sanders on Monday, telling her that the loss they still feel is “almost like a physical pain.”

NBC

Jane and Joe Clementi

“It’s like a tightening of the chest. It’s aching of the muscles and tightening of your face and your jaw and you’re clenching, and it just physically hurts,” said Jane Clementi.

Last year their son Tyler, an 18-year-old freshman at Rutgers University in New Jersey, jumped off New York City’s George Washington Bridge days after he had experienced a romantic encounter with another man that was secretly live streamed over the internet by his roommate, 19-year-old Dharun Ravi.

Ravi faces 15 criminal counts as a result, including invasion of privacy and bias intimidation, which could result in a 10-year prison sentence. Ravi rejected a plea deal on Friday.

Their son’s suicide hit the family only a few weeks after he revealed to his parents he was gay, having doubts about the existence of a God, and that he felt friendless, according to the Clementis.

Tyler’s mother added, “I wish he would have come to us, but he didn’t,” she said. “I wish the RA would have encouraged him to come to us.”

Appearing live on NBC’s The Today Show, both Jane and Joe Clementi told anchor Ann Curry they are finally seeing some good come from the media attention Tyler’s death has received.

The family has previously made only limited statements to the press, mostly issued through their attorney, but told Curry that now, 15 months after their son’s death, they have decided to grant interviews in an effort to promote the foundation they’re launching in their son’s honor.

Tyler’s parents said they hope their foundation will increase acceptance of gay young people, prevent suicide and stop online bullying.

Joe Clementi told Curry he has a message for gay youth who, like his son, may find themselves in a difficult place in life. “If you feel alone, find somebody, reach out to parents, friends. get help,” he said. “Suicide is never the right answer – it’s always wrong.”

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3 more reader comments:

  1. Every parent of troubled youths should and must do it.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 14, 2011 at 9:51am
  2. Ten years for driving some one to death, not enough.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 14, 2011 at 12:06pm
  3. I think the clementis should join up with the Matthew Shepard foundation.

    to further the work Judy Shepard has done – explaining to over 1.5 million kids about hate of gays.

    BTW the catholic church tried to smear the prosecutor in the Shepard murder trial and tried to illegally influence the Jury.

    Its probably also responsible for the false rumors Matthews death was a drug deal gone bad.

    this is also the church that concluded a treaty with Hitler in 1933 under then Cardinal Pacelli- later Piux XII

    The bottom line result of that treaty is shown in the website

    http://nobeliefs.com/nazis.htm (no caps pls)

    This of course is the same church that claims to support life- like it did by creating the hatred of the Jews over a Milennia that lither leveraged to gain election in 1933.

    their babble about protecting life is nothing but a smokescreen to hide their worst of worst crimes against humanity. WWII, the holocaust of Jews, Germany’s gays etc.

    And 55 million who died .

    If there was a god the vatican would long ago have found itself sitting on top of vesuvius II – the proverbial lake of fire.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 14, 2011 at 3:23pm