On April 6, 2009, Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover committed suicide. He was 11 years old.
Carl never identified as gay. But for whatever reason, bullies at his school decided to tease him about being gay. They called him “faggot” and subjected to all kinds of anti-gay taunts and harassment. That day last April, Carl decided he couldn’t take it anymore.
This month, a Web site called Black Voices/Black Spin has published an interview with Carl’s mother, Sirdeaner Walker — a woman with no real ties to the LGBT community who has channeled her grief over her son’s death into working with the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network to pass legislation, both in her home state of Massachusets and at the federal level, aimed at ending all forms of bullying and harassment, including anti-LGBT bullying and harrassment, in our schools.
I suggest that everyone visit the BVBlackSpin Web site to read the interview in it’s entirety. It’s especially important as we gear up for GLSEN’s National Day of Silence on Friday, April 16, and especially in light of anti-gay group’s efforts to derail the Day of Silence.
Here’s a brief snippet:
BV: When GLSEN reached out to you last year, you had some apprehension. What changed your mind? SW: Some people told me that they would try to push some gay agenda on Carl’s death. So I was a little afraid-my son never identified as gay. But God told me that I needed to work with GLSEN. And over time, it became clear to me how committed and passionate GLSEN is to making sure that all children are safe in their schools. Through GLSEN, I have been able to meet so many people who are vastly different than me. This experience has made me more accepting of people.