Carl J. Walker-Hoover
Hundreds of mourners turned out on Monday for the funeral of a young boy who committed suicide after being the victim of homophobic bullying, in the US.
Carl J. Walker-Hoover, an eleven year old boy from Massachusetts, was found hanging from an extension cord by his distraught mother last week.
The bullying, which sparked the boy’s suicide, came from his fellow sixth-grade students at the New Leadership Charter School, where he had been enrolled since September.
Carl, who played football, baseball, and was a boy scout, was taunted about the way he dressed and the fact that he attended church with his mother and volunteered locally. He was also ridiculed about being gay.
Sirdeaner Walker had complained to her son’s school since the bullying began, but nothing was reportedly done about the matter.
“It’s not just a gay issue,” Carl’s mother told the Advocate magazine. “It’s bigger. He was 11 years old, and he wasn’t aware of his sexuality. These homophobic people attach derogatory terms to a child who’s 11 years old, who goes to church, school, and the library, and he becomes confused. He thinks, Maybe I’m like this. Maybe I’m not. What do I do?”
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) expressed its sympathy to Carl’s family and called on the media to raise awareness about the impact of anti-LGBT language.
“This tragic loss of life is the latest example of why anti-LGBT defamation must be eradicated from our culture,” said Neil G. Giuliano, President of GLAAD.
“Words matter and can turn what should be a safe place for learning into a dangerous and isolating for many students — gay or straight — who regularly face verbal and physical attacks.”