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.
Tags: bigotry, debate, equal rights, father, gay, gay lesbian bisexual and transgender history month, gay rights, nikki harrington, norman, oklahoma, rip, sister, toxic, van harrington, zach harrington