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James Clementi: A family tragedy leads to a life of compassion, activism

Sunday, August 31, 2014
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James Clementi

James Clementi

In 2010 Tyler Clementi took his own life after being publicly outed on the Internet by his college roommate. His oldest brother James, who is also gay, is now an activist hoping to shape a world that’s more accepting and inclusive of LGBTQ people.

James recounts how his own journey began when he was a child:

Actually, I remember in Sunday school, at one point, they were talking about the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, and basically they said that God destroyed an entire city filled with people because of homosexual acts that were happening in the city. …

And I just remember thinking, “Wow, God would wipe out an entire city because of gay people. It’s not OK to be gay. I could never tell these people that I might be gay, because they would never accept me.” And that was a really hard and lonely place to be in, and that sent me into a spiritual crisis where I didn’t know if I had to choose between my sexuality or my religion, and I didn’t think that they could fit together.

After going away to college and experiencing life in a liberal and supportive environment, James began to feel comfortable with who he is. James cites finding out that his brother Tyler was gay as one of the biggest turning points in his life.

This is James’ true LGBTQ story:

“I’m from Driftwood,” a collection of “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer stories from all over the world,” appears weekends on LGBTQ Nation. For more true LGBT stories, or to share your own, visit “I’m from Driftwood.”

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