A group of about 60 CU students and Boulder residents attended a candlelight vigil held Thursday night in reaction to the suicides of gay teenagers that have occurred recently and others who have been victims of anti-gay bullying.
The crowd stood silent for six minutes by the UMC fountain to show their solidarity for the six victims and their stance against anti-gay bullying.
Once the six minutes were over, Rev. Roger Wolsey began to speak.
“We are moving forward,” Wolsey said. “The lights are blazing. Let us continue to grow and grow and grow until we all learn to accept each other.”
He then encouraged the crowd to share their love with one another and enjoy food that was supplied.
Wolsey said he helped put the vigil together along with the Gay-Straight Alliance. He is the pastor of the Wesley Fellowship, a United Methodist-sponsored campus ministry at CU.
Wolsey said one of his students notified him of the six recent suicides. He said he wanted to hold the vigil to support his student and to stop the discrimination.
“I’m dismayed that, in 2010, this is still going on to this extent,” he said. “There are a lot of young people making changes, but there are still bastions of discrimination. The vigil is a chance to say, ‘This is going to stop, and there’s going to be a new way.’”
Gabrielle Friesen, a 19-year-old freshman history and women and gender studies double major, said she came to support victims of gay bullying.
“It is tragic that it occurred with six people because they feel isolated and alone,” Friesen said. “If they’re being bullied, I know how they feel, and I want to show them that, even if they’ve never met me, I care about them, and I love them.”
Bri Duke, a 19-year-old sophomore Asian studies major, said the vigil is an effective way to show solidarity.
“I feel like there’s nothing that already hasn’t been said about this issue, but sometimes you need a visual as a backing to show your support for people who aren’t getting that backing from friends and family,” Duke said.
For CU students looking for support, there is the GLBT Resource Center, as well as many other support groups on campus.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Jon Tattum at Tattumj@colorado.edu.