It really feels like this will not end. Another teen, a 19-year-old former Howard University student Aiyisha Hassan committed suicide on October 4th. She appears to be the seventh LGBT teen to make the headlines for committing suicide in the past five weeks. Some reports suggest the former HU student was struggling with her sexuality.
"She was having a lot of trouble with a lot of different things, but mainly her sexual identity and just trying to express that," says 21-year-old Lauren Morris, a fourth-year student at Howard, who lived in the same building as Hassan from 2008-2009. Hassan was a former biology student at D.C.'s Howard University.
Morris says she introduced Hassan to Howard's LGBT student group, and both attended meetings. There are still little details on why Aiyisha Hassan's committed suicide. The University's student newspaper, The Hilltop, reported that students there held a candlelight vigil for her Oct. 7, the Thursday following her death.
Hassan's father, Rev. Kamal Hassan of the Sojourner Truth Presbyterian Church in Richmond, Calif., says those struggles may not have been primarily societal. While declining to discuss details of his daughter's suicide beyond mention that her brother discovered her body, Rev. Hassan said that he does not believe bullying or harassment played any role in his daughter's suicide.
"She got into a relationship with someone that just was not a healthy relationship for her," Hassan told Metro Weekly. "That relationship came to an end and she was planning to move back home."
Hassan said Aiyisha was accepted and loved by her family as a lesbian, and that she was raised in a welcoming household while growing up in Marin County, Calif.
"I can understand how people who don't know Aiyisha and don't know her family life could uncritically link her death to the tragic suicides that have been happening among gay and lesbian youth," he said. "I can see how people could mistakenly make that link, but the death of every gay young person isn't necessarily for the same reason. She was not under any heavy bullying or harassment that I knew of. She never spoke of it if she was.ff
Rev. Hassan has a really great point but I don't think he gets "it." A suicide is, in fact, a suicide but its not always about getting bullied, entirely, but I think it's the trouble of being gay in a world where you don't have many people to turn too; Its about limited support. For example, if you're straight and you have a really bad break up, you may be able to go to your parents or close friends that may understand, or someone that can tell you that it gets better. I don't think Aiyisha had that. As supportive as Rev. Hassan has said the family was, it seems Aiyisha felt alone - extremely alone.
I don't want turn this blog into a blog filled with obituaries but I feel dedicated, and compelled to let people know when a gay teen commits suicide; the world needs to know.
For those teens, gay or straight, that are thinking of committing suicide, it does get better. Check out a message from President Obama and the video my friends and I did to help stop teen suicide. Suicide should not be your last and only option.
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Tags: african american, african americans, aiyisha hassan, aiysha hassan, black, black women, bullying, D.C., dan savage, gay, gay teen suicide, glbt, harrassment, howard university, it gets better, lauren morris, lenox, lenox and the second city, Lenox Magee, lgbt, president obama, queer, queer suicide, Rev. Kamal Hassan, Reverend Kamal Hassan, suicide, teen suicide, The Hilltop, washington