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Monday, November 1, 2010

GAY IN SECOND LIFE Kendrick Setsuko Reporting...

• Monday, November 01, 2010

This past month in the United States, a handful of gay teens had been harassed, taunted, and bullied to the point where they had felt defeated and the only solution was to end it all. Asher Brown (13, Texas), Seth Walsh (13, California), Billy Lucas (15, Indiana), Tyler Clementi (18, New Jersey), and Raymond Chase (19, Rhode Island) are among those that had committed suicide due to these homophobic hate crimes; however, these five highly publicized teens are just the tip of the iceberg.

During any person's teenage years it can be quite a confusing time when it comes to fitting in and figuring how who they are-- especially teenagers who are confused about their sexual identity and orientation. Supporters of the GLBT community (among many celebrities) began a huge highly publicized movement on YouTube called "It gets better". The "It gets better" campaign are videos letting people who suffer from these homophobic hate crimes know that it does get better, to hold on, and not to give up on life. Among the people involved are: Ellen DeGeneres, Ciara, La La, Adam Lambert, Ke$ha, Jewel, the cast of Chicago and Wicked, various marines, and just recently Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. Those names are only a small volume of voices that have spoken out on this issue and have given their videos and stories to the "It gets better" project. 

Having someone to talk to is important if you are a victim of these homophobic hate crimes. Luckily, Second Life is prosperous with GLBT friendly places to converse with other people that are going through the same thing or want to offer advice and support. In the United States, October 20, 2010 was marked as a day to honor everyone and anyone who has died and survived these homophobic hate crimes and to bring awareness to this important issue. To be involved, all you had to do was wear purple (which on the GLBT flag means "spirit"). I wore my purple on October 20, and so did many of my friends.
This launched me to go throughout Second Life and find others who are helping to raise this important issue. It took nearly all day to find a decent place due to the fact that I've only returned to Second Life after a long absence and had to get used to the new viewer; however, there are two that were worthy of mention:
My first stop was a nice quiet and simple spot dedicated to the "It gets better" project. You can simply click on a name (most are famous), and it will show a YouTube video of their message that was provided to this project. It was good to know that there was a place that people can go to (straight or gay) in Second Life and view the videos and become more aware.

My second mention is a place called the "GLBT Holocaust Memorial". This is a beautiful place that brought a tear to my eyes. It is a small quaint memorial dedicated to those who have lost their lives due to homophobic hate crimes. The memorial provides a list of names of many of victims of these hate crimes as well as encouraging words and dozens of flowers and pictures dedicated to certain individuals. This place will touch the depths of your soul as you sit in the bask of people that were too blinded by hate that they weren't able to see their real quality of life and that over time it would have gotten better. It will move you.

In conclusion, I am a bisexual male. I am a twenty one year old college student who is only out to a small number of friends only because I don't have the courage to tell my family (who are religious activists against GLBT peoples). Most importantly, I fear of being abandoned. It is because of people in the virtual world that I have talked to about this that I have gained the courage to come out to chosen friends and even begin a relationship with a gay classmate at my college. That is the wonderful thing about Second Life, it is easy to trust complete strangers with secrets; however, it's what you do with those secrets that will make or break a person.
People of Second Life, it is your moral obligation to support that boy or girl, that man or woman, or anyone who needs someone to confide. Remember, everyone is someone- a person with feeling. Lets be that safe haven and confidant. The hate ends here.

Ken: signing out. 
*extracted reader comment from SLE 2010
Loki Kahanamoku
NOV 03  •  Thank you so much for this article. I am in the same situation as you when it comes to coming out. I am one of the lucky ones who made it through. I was too scared to come out because of the criticism in this area. In Second Life is where I found the support and courage I needed to move forward. I now run a gay night club in Second Life and I am proud to say we had all our events on 10/20 dedicated to this wonderful cause. The Wave Exotic Gay Dance Club is proud to have been chosen as a GLBT friendly place and we will always do what we can to make the GLBT life easier in Second Life. After all, we are all family and need to be there for each other. Again, than you so much for the wonderful article.


  1. Looking back nearly 5 years later; I'm 26, out of college with a career as a men's fashion analyst. After re-reading this article again, it is amazing to see how much has been accomplished since then - leaving hope for the remaining challenges to overcome. Thanks, Lanai, for the courage to keep media an art & not a one-sided grey area. You promote the voices that are wanting to be heard - SLE is still the melting pot it always has been, staying true to it's roots from TSOE to your graceful transition to SLE. *Cheers to your success & much more to come* ~Kendrick


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