Of the recent suicides of gay youth due to bullying, Tyler Clementi’s story is especially heartbreaking. Tyler’s roommate used social media to “out” him, and secretly filmed Tyler’s intimate encounter with a man. The roommate, Dharun Ravi, planned to do it again, broadcasting the time and date over the internet, as well as promising to stream the upcoming video. These activities spurred gossip in the dormitory and caused humiliation for Tyler, who was in his first month of college. Within two days, Tyler jumped off the George Washington Bridge. Dharun and a friend were charged with invasion of privacy; other charges may be pending.
In Roman Catholic tradition, devotees can visit the Stations of the Cross, which adorn churches and lay out in pictorial form the last hours of Jesus Christ. Each Station, visited sequentially, represents a key moment in these last hours. The Stations provide an opportunity to contemplate, and even to repent in a personal way for the suffering and death.
Without intending to deify Tyler Clementi, this series of paintings (here are the first three; it is on-going) describes some of the key events that unfolded in the last days of his life, in order to honor him and shine a light on the suffering and taunting that many gay youth face.