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Gay Oklahoma Teen Commits Suicide After Gay-Hating City Council Debate

| Filed under: Gay Gay GayR.I.P.Sad SadLGBT


Another devastating loss.

A homosexual teenager in Oklahoma took his own life after attending a City Council meeting in which he endured a three hour debate between town members over whether or not Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender History Month would be recognized as valid.

Although the Council ended up voting in favor of the proclamation, 19-yeard-old Zach Harrington was present to hear various residents express their opposition of the LGBT community, including some's conspiracies that homosexuals would try to infiltrate the school system and outright denial that marriage equality was a civil rights issue.

Harrington's family now believes that Zach, who was an incredibly sensitive young man, would have taken that kind of bigotry extremely personally, and that being present for the discussion was ultimately "toxic."

Sister Nikki says:

“When he was sitting there, I’m sure he was internalizing everything and analyzing everything … that’s the kind of person he was. I’m sure he took it personally. Everything that was said. When we talk about our feelings in a hypothetical way and we send our toxic thoughts out in a public setting that way, they will affect people in a negative way. People need to think about the things they are saying and ask themselves, ‘Is this right?’”

His father, Van, continues:

“I don’t think it was a place where he would hear something to make him feel more accepted by the community. For somebody like Zach, it (the meeting) was probably very hard to sit through. He feared for his safety on many occasions at (Norman North), and other people like him. Even though he was 6-4, he was passive and I’m sure being gay in that environment didn’t help. I don’t have any anger … I just hope those people look inside themselves and put themselves in somebody else’s shoes before saying things like that. Maybe if more of us did that, well, maybe things would’ve turned out different.”

This is truly just gutting.

It breaks our heart to think that a talented young man with a such a bright future would feel like he would never be able to rise above the bigotry he experienced in his community.

We once again beg other young people who feel persecuted, isolated, and alone to not give up hope, and reach out to someone they trust. It can and WILL get better.

Our deepest condolences go out to Zach's family and loved ones.

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76 comments to “Gay Oklahoma Teen Commits Suicide After Gay-Hating City Council Debate”

  1. 1

    So sad… RIP

  2. 2

    What is with this branding of anyone that disagrees with you a Bigot? it's childish and hateful. and as far as the story is concerned, don't attend a debate if your not able to sit and listen to the other side without going off the deep end. If that is in fact what happened because we have no clue why he committed suicide this is pure speculation.

  3. 3

    This site is too gay to function lately.

  4. chiro says – reply to this


    Very sad but these kids are emaotionally disturbed and need help. Perez, it's not only the gay kids, straight kids are are commiting suicide at an alarming rate as well. Stop discriminating against the staright kids!!!!!!!

  5. 5

    another one bites the dust, annnnnnd another one and another one, ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST! I don't care if he is gay…The "incredibly sensitive" part means he was WEAK. And I cannot tolerate weakness. This is for the best.

  6. 6

    Oh god…Use "gay" as an excuse to kill yourself…whatever. If someone that is gay kills himself, they assume they did it because they are "gay." Well, guess what. There are THOUSANDS of gay people alive now that aren't killing themselves AND there are MILLIONS of STRAIGHT people that ARE killing themselves. So…my point is - Speak out against SUICIDE. SUICIDE is a problem, not just GAY SUICIDES. I'm sad he did it, but he knew better. His FAMILY should've been there for him. Suicidal people feel that they have no one to turn to. If he and his family were as close as they make it seem, he probably wouldn't have committed suicide. It has NOTHING to do with gay. Stop making everything about "gay issues." He was a troubled young man that felt like it had no one to turn to and he so happened to be gay.

  7. 7

    good.. nature evolved males and females to reproduce, fuck marriage fuck the bible blah blah.. nature sperm egg baby human… gay people take this shit so seriously because they fucking know something about them makes them desire sex that doesnt result in reproduction.. they know they r off in the head .. for whatever reason and it affects them and they off themselves … GOOD !

  8. 8

    Perez, gay marriage is a state's rights issue not a civil rights one. It's whether the federal government has the right to dictate marriage laws. Now whether gays should be allowed to marry.

  9. 9

    This is terribly tragic. I feel for these kids and their families. BUT, I'm offended that you could care less about straight kids that have committed suicide. All kids are bullied. It isn't exclusive to homosexuals. Children are cruel. Because of their insecurities they feel the need to pick on others to make themselves feel better. It happens to all kids and teens. Depression can also happen to anyone, gay or straight. I'm sure if I started a huge campaign that was only targeted to straight kids who thought about or actually committed suicide you would be the first to pick up on it and tell me I was discriminating.


  10. 10

    Well that is just stupid. He took it personally that they had a debate about wether or not to have a LGBT month so he killed himself?

  11. 11

    i thought you were going to stop reporting on this

  12. 12

    "incredibly sensitive?" You don't say. Lame.

  13. 13

    Ok this is absurd - the Rutgers kid committed suicide out of embarrassment and having his personal life exposed. Fair. But this guy - I'm sorry. The town gave you what you wanted in the end so why so sad? He obviously had other problems being sensitive, so if it wasn't this that brought his demise it would have been something else (like getting dumped for example). He clearly had mental problems and this wasn't due to "gay bashers" Get over it Perez. Some people commit suicide and its sad, but the reason is not always other people, sometimes its just plain depression and an inability to deal with real life situations.

  14. 14

    The Father doesn't have any anger?? Wow what a saint. I know I would be out for blood if anyone messed with my beloved boys. It is sad in the USA in this day that there is such crazy ideas about "gays inflitrating schools" and other crap. It used to be like that for Catholics - my grandparents told me about the fears people had about those Pope-loving people inflitrating our institutions. It was all based on fear. Now we look back and think people actually felt that way about Catholics? The same thing will happen to GLBT - it will become accepted and our kids will look back and be amazed and the discrimination that took place in this day and age. So the kids today who are gay need to just hang in there and watch the It Gets Better videos. RIP to the young man.

  15. 15

    I won't even address the ignorant fucks that have posted above me. I am an avid supporter of gay rights and am so saddened at this sudden onset of recent suicides. However, this boy really shouldn't have been at the town meeting if he was so sensitive. It sounds like it was a civil debate in which people just calmly shared their feelings. EVERYONE has a right to their opinion. People have a right to not agree with homosexuality. I don't think they have to right to infringe on the rights of others, but I don't give a shit if they don't agree with the lifestyle as long as they are respectful about those feelings and are never violent. He clearly had other emotional issues and the people that voiced their opinions at the meeting should NOT be blamed or held responsible.

  16. 16

    If they knew that he was a sensitive young man, why would they bring their son to a fucking debate about whether or not gays are valid???

    I am sorry, people are bashed all the time, about different things, race, gender, whether or not they are ugly, fat,stupid… the list goes on… and now it seems like everyone is jumping on the band wagon and taking the easy way out by killing themselves…. I was feeling sad for these people, but now, with all the publicity, these people are killing themselves knowing there will be a big outcry for them once they are dead…

    They need to look for different ways to deal with this, it's getting a bit ridiculous..

  17. 6one9 says – reply to this


    After ALL the good that has been happening, “ the video's and such “ WHY didn't he just reach out. I fell bad “ but he should have known better. WIMP & cop out!!

  18. 18

    I wish that those who were prevented from committing suicide by friends, loved ones, and gifted individuals got even half as much publicity as this.

    Don't be afraid to ask for help if the thought gets in your head.

  19. 19

    Ok, people! Here is my own personal view on this latest "gay suicide trend". People commit suicide because they are too weak to tackle criticism head-on in a less-cowardly way. Gay or straight, young or old…suicide is a cowardly way to deal with any sort of issues you are dealing with. Get appropriate help and JUST DEAL! Geez! I have issues too! I have people who don't like me! I've been bullied in the past! And I'm straight…yeah, this happens to all of us! But I own myself, and choose to deal with things instead of allowing others to win.

  20. 20

    What's that meth addict Mario? Your LAME "It Gets Better" campaign didn't prevent yet another gay from committing suicide? Sorry but having a bunch of straight Z-list nobodies making YouTube videos about being gay when they are straight will do NOTHING. Nice try HIV boy….

  21. 21

    This story truly muddles the area of bullying and freedom of assembly and speech. This cheapens the aurguement for change. This suidicide is NO LESS sad than any of the other recent suicides, but to equate them halts progress. Gay teen overrepresent themselves on the suicide scale and saying that a city council meeting where they voted in favor of the gay agenda is insulting.

  22. 22

    It's so sad that all these teenagers feel there is no hope for them. Whether Gay or Straight. We have all been bullied at sometime in our lives. Honestly, I think the kids nowadays need to grow a pair of balls and just go on with their lives. Even bullies eventually get bullied by others. It's a fact. I was bullied until I had enough and beat the crap out of the kid who made my life hell. I think the real problem with todays kids is they aren't getting any confidence from their parents, teachers or friends. If you commit suicide you are letting the fools win. Stand up for yourself and prove to them and yourself you are BETTER THAN THEY ARE. The bullies are the ones with the real issues.

  23. 23

    I do not see how this young man was being personally attacked, or degraded. Gay and lesbian people know that there are bigots everywhere. Wouldn't you expect a debate such as the one described to be heated? To purposely expose yourself to this exercise when you know the boundraries of your sensitivities, is not responsible. You cannot blame every GLBT suicide on other people. They have a right to debate, whatever, no matter what the outcome or how ridiculous they look.

  24. Emesa says – reply to this


    Poor kid. That's so sad. Some people just can't deal with all the hate they internalize from others. It's not their fault. They are just made that way. Just like someone with thicker skin is made that way. I hope he's at peace now.

  25. 25

    Re: prophetmohamed – Hey, asswipe, Muhammad started the shittiest religion known to man. He wasn't a prophet, he was a pedophile. The crazy relations between men and women in Islamic cultures leads to pederasty. Also, I know a few people who killed themselves and NONE of them were gay. According to you, the moronic Mohamed, is that good that a couple of straight people killed themselves or bad cuz they weren't gay?
    Perez, shut the fuck up with this campaign! You out people and call them gayface all the fucking time. You pick on straight chicks and young girls all the time. You start fights with dudes A LOT then you fawn over underage boys. If Mischa Barton ever kills herself, Perez Hilton has her blood on his hands.

  26. 26

    Re: prophetmohamed – so fucking what if gays want to have sex without reproducing. straight people do to. nothing wrong with that in my opinion! some straight people don't want or can't have kids. same thing for gays, some don't want and some can't have kids. gays who can + want to have kids biologically could do artificial insemination or have sex with the opposite gender.

  27. 27

    PEREZ enough with these stories now. It is losing its momentum. Sorry we are not feeling as empathhetic to these bipolar teens and young ppl. .
    We come here for Hwood gossip and pics, not social issues. I know it makes you , think you, look better if you are both, tearing ppl down and trying to save others. It is just phony. I don't think you really give a shit

  28. 28

    I'm gay but I feel like shaking some of my homo brothers and telling them "You gotta be STRONG, stop feeling sorry for yourself and accept people are gonna hate you." I know people hate me, but I could give a flying f–k what some religious bigots think.

  29. 29

    This is the reality of your land of the free. Grown people still being so intolerant that their actions drive someone to end their own life. Shame on the people of USA, shame on the government of the USA and shame on every single person who treats someone who's love they refuse to understand and accept -this way. LOVE CAN NEVER BE WRONG!! BEING WHO YOU ARE CAN NEVER BE WRONG!!

  30. 30


  31. 31

    You know, with all these gay suicides lately I'm starting to think it's a just part of natural selection.

  32. 32

    Perez Hilton knows to publicize and matyr these kids in this ways breeds more suicides. Hey perez who is doing the killing?

  33. 33

    It's a shame you don't focus on straight kids that have killed themselves for being bullied. Everything is about sexuality for you. You can't see past your own feelings and sexual orientation.

  34. 34

    Man i hate this kind of stuff. Enough with the hate and discrimination! RIP, sorry you had to go through that.

  35. 35

    Mental health is the problem for all these suicde victims…not being gay or other problems.

  36. 36

    I guess things won't be getting any better for him. Or perhaps they just have. I think it is time for people to stop feeling sorry for themselves and doing something rather than taking the cowards way out and killing yourself.

  37. 37

    Weak minded people kill themselves.

    We all go through shit in our lives and we don't ALL run off and kill ourselves because we don"t like the outcome GAY OR STRAIGHT

  38. 38

    I can't believe some of these comments here, STILL hateful…you need to realize that his family members may be reading this (me) and you are once again spewing evil and putting words out there that cannot be taken back. He was sensitive, NOT weak, talented, loving, kind…he was so young and had not experienced a public debate such as the city council meeting and the comments made there were cruel and hate-filled. No, it was not JUST the meeting, but it was just enough hate and negativity that he needed to make the decision that he did. He was not disturbed, he was an AMAZING person who never wanted anyone to dislike him, very passive and sweet. He had a great loving family as well. It's fine to have an opinion but BE CAREFUL OF THE WORDS YOU CHOOSE. Is it really so hard to love people??

  39. 39

    If he was in the closet and You Perez outed him, would your condolences go out to his family and loved ones. Stop outing people. At least let them have that as a private matter since nothing else they do is private. You are not a gay advocate, you are a gay bully.

  40. 40

    When Miley Cyrus kills herself because you call her a slut don't forget to send your condolences to her family too.

  41. 41

    Re: Eldridge Cleaver – great post

  42. 42

    I was so sad to hear this :( Nobody should ever have to feel like this I just cant believe the nerve of some people!

  43. 43

    see all these people killing themselves is just their way of saying "i not strong enough" people get bullied ALL THE TIME.. not just the gays.. and if they dont have a backbone to show that they can overcome it then honestly do they really belong on this planet? dont get me wrong, im all for equality and its sad that they cannot stand up for what they believe in. im really over seeing these deaths, we shouldnt be "celebrating" these deaths. and by celebrating i mean putting it all over the news. IF YOUR BULLIED STAND UP, killing yourself shows you GAVE UP

  44. 44

    Why was the idiot at a debate if he didn't want to hear an opposing view? If you are going to be that sensitive stay home. All this gay suicide publicity is doing is promoting suicide to impressionable idiots so they can get some attention.

  45. 45

    As a conservative, southern baptist, white christian republican…
    This wasn't a case of bullying, it was a public debate.
    There was probably alot more going on with that young man than one debate.
    That being said:
    I have to say, leave these kids alone. You don't need to put your views on someone. in public schools etc. If schools were teaching subjects and being strict this wouldn't be an issue. These kids are not there to discuss their sexuality, they are there to discuss history, math and sicence. We should teach our kids, gay and straight, whatever religion and whatever color…to respect people and treat each other with dignity. I don't care abut anything other than the fact that these kids are God's children. Don't mock and condemn them, open your hearts and listen and love them. That is the job of the teachers, the parents and the community. These kids will figure things out in their own time, in the meantime, let's build them up and not tear them down.

  46. 46

    Re: ParalyZzzZzer – Re post #41 Thank you for your kind words.
    Re post #40 I see you get it: Mario is so guilty of bullying and relentless attacks on people. I personally feel that Perez has Brittany Murphy's blood on his hands. He tore her a new one for months then wrote "Sad.Sad" after she died.

  47. 47

    A council debate drove him to suicide????? COME ON!!!!! The kid had problems BEFORE the debate no doubt!! Are you a moron or what???

  48. 48

    Oh…thats right..YOU ARE a moron Perez.

  49. 49

    Re: Eldridge Cleaver – Your comment is DEAD ON!

  50. 50

    I dont understand why there have been so many gay suicides in the last couple weeks. It almost feels like a publicity stunt. A sick one at that. I know suicides happen all the time but its been one after the other. maybe it just seems like that because the media has been all over it. very strange. i am more sad for their families that they left behind to deal with the grief of their death and the media circus surrounding it. very selfish of them to put their loved ones through that. at the same time i feel to take your own life you must be in a very dark place which is also very sad. all around shitty situation. as for my view on gays, i personally dont care who u bang or who you are attracted to. but i cant stand how most of them make their sexuality their identity. just be YOU and that will speak for itself. none of the crossdressing and the fake girl voices etc. its just not necessary.

  51. 51


  52. 52

    Re: andydo – Thank you for your kind words. They are much appreciated :)

  53. 53


  54. 54

    Re: Eldridge Cleaver
    u really think perez fucking hilton has the power to cause someone to kill themselves? he talks shit about everyone. that doesnt make it right but it also doesnt mean he has contributed to anyones deaths. yea he can be hateful and contradicts himself on a daily basis but to say he has someones blood on his hands is a tad over the top. His constant hypocrisy is irritating but hes harmless. i dont think anyone gives that much of a shit what he says about them. so get off his nuts already. and for the record i am definitely not defending perez, just found your comment and various other people's comments about him contributing to celebrity deaths and mental disorders really stupid. im almost positive that perez shitbag hilton is the last thing on their minds.

  55. 55

    Re: Trevor87 – I stand by what I wrote. I bet Perez Hilton's trashing of Brittany and her career contributed more to her death than the City Council debate contributed to this young man's death.

  56. 56

    Re: Trevor87 – Suicides like this happen ALL the time and it's sad. It's just that now all of a sudden, it's gotten the attention of the media and Perez for example is posting like every gay suicide that's been happening in recent times.

  57. 57

    "We once again beg other young people who feel persecuted, isolated, and alone to not give up hope, and reach out to someone they trust. It can and WILL get better."…… sounds like a lot of young people, not just "the gays". I hope you remember that many people feel out of place/isolated due to their weight,looks,wealth…..next time you feel like making fun of their weight,looks, or wealth….hypocrite

  58. 58

    Re: Trevor87 – Multiple celebrities have commented on how hurtful his words are or eluded to him as being hurtful (fearful that a mention of him would bring more wrath). I can deal with him making fun of adults, but not kids. Many people were very upset when he was picking on children of celebrities and celebrity children, including Demi Moore, Kristy Alley and Tyra Banks.

    Adult celebrities have probably built coping mechanisms, as most adults have, but children are still children. I don't care how famous a child is, a child is still going to be hurt by being called fat, ugly, etc. as Perez has done to celebrity children. Have you seen the nasty things he has written about Miley, Taylor Momsen, Rumor Willis, etc?

    Do I think he is responsible for any deaths so far? No. But he has probably, at the very least, destroyed the self esteem of some of these kids and that could lead to a tragedy. There is no excuse for an adult making fun of children. End of story.

  59. 59

    This is a terrible tragedy. Surely, one knows when s/he has a different lifestyle, people are going to say hurtful things. You could be gay, a Scientologist, a polygamist, etc. Nobody chooses to be gay, but please don't expect the world to accept it unconditionally. People are still backward and close minded. This isn't a reason to kill yourself though. You'd do better to stick around in life and try to change people's ideas through your behavior.

  60. 60

    this is really sad.
    he seemed like a good kid. RIP

  61. Majax says – reply to this


    I know this is a gossip site and all but some of the things I've seen posted on here. I wish that your family could read the disgusting stuff you people post here. You're nothing but a bunch of bullies and cowards.

    May YOU never have a moment's peace.

  62. 62

    The guy was condemned for being gay anyways…

  63. 63

    Re: cinderhella – EXCUSE ME ,do you know Zach personally? NO…. actually there WAS bullying going on so don't act like you know everything when you don't have a CLUE.

  64. 64

    Re: DickDickerson1234 – WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU… don't you realize his MOTHER may happen to read these comments? You may think that you are "strong" but not everyone has a cold hardened heart like that. You are what is wrong with this world, it is people exactly like YOU that are causing all of this hate.

  65. Bboss says – reply to this


    this is terrible.
    Maybe you, Perez Hilton, will realize how harsh words can be and think before YOU write.

  66. Bboss says – reply to this


    Reading these posts is sickening. People are just cold. You don't know this boys situation nor his family life, so don't pass judgement. Wipe your souls people.

    TWLOHA-To Write Love on Her Arms

  67. 67

    Gay stories is all Perez does now. This has nothing to do with Celebs.

  68. 68

    My deepest sympathies to Zach, his family and friends. We all need to be more compassionate and understanding towards each other. In some instances words can be fatal. RIP Zach.


  69. 69

    i attended this meeting. yes, there were many people there who expressed their disagreement with the GLBT community and a history day, but by no means would i say this meeting was hateful — i've seen uglier ones about trash pick up.
    it's heart breaking this kid killed himself, but i honestly think that even if he hadn't gone to this meeting he would have taken his life because he needed help.

  70. 70

    "A bigot is a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices, especially one exhibiting intolerance, irrationality, and animosity toward those of differing beliefs."

    Hm, seems to describe Perez a lot more than it describes people who just happen to disagree with homosexual behavior. Sure, hate crimes are awful, slurs and hateful speech are awful, but none of that was cited here. Just another post from a bigot trying to demonize a differing point of view.

  71. 71

    You people are really fucking ridiculous. Perez you should be ashamed to let people talk like this about a wonderful person. I knew Zach, he was one of my friends. He was not a weak person, he was strong and a beautiful person with a mind to match. Anyone who thinks they're being funny about making fun of his death should be ashamed of himself. I don't believe the meeting had a whole lot to do with what happened to him, but regardless no one should be making fun of him for it.

    Harrington you were a wonderful person, I'm sad I didn't get to go and see you while you were in Arkansas. I'll always remember our late night chats.

  72. 72

    Its funny…none of you here knew Zach at all. Thats whats sad, because if you did some of you vipers might actually hold your tongue. Perez-What you wrote I am greatful to hear. For the rest of you…I have a few words. A bigot is not someone who disagrees with you but is someone who hates you for whatever reason and thinks themselves morally superior. People hate on gays as much as they do anybody else, be it for being another race or religion.

  73. 73

    No one is discriminating against 'the straight' people as another poster said. This is about a young man who happend to be gay and was treated cruely because of that. How dare any of you go marching around making this into your own 'battle'. A young man took his life, a young mans loved ones and friends now are left not knowing what to do because of his loss. Yes, suicides are valid on all ends. But-for the people arguing that its not just 'gay suicides' to worry about, you are right. But look at what the others post before you type that-Zach is dead and there are still people spewing homophobia all over this post. We aren't saying its that any life matters more than the next but that we might be able to save a few more lives if we stop acting like his sexuality didn't play a part however big or small.

  74. 74

    …All of you sit here-because you didn't know this guy it makes it easier I bet just to say whatever hate comes to mind or to make it your own angle for your fights. A young man is gone, and we-his family and friends have to live with that now forever. I am really glad you feel the need to gloat or whatever you call this-get your two cents in. Because its people like you who pick on others that create the domino affect. For those of you who actually have hearts and mourn his loss whether you knew him or not-thank you. It truly does mean a lot.

  75. 75

    This is ridiculous.
    Who cares if you're gay or straight.
    I show no pity for suicide. It's such a selfish act. Bitch please.

  76. 76

    : [ R.I.P