Earlier this year, Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi jumped off a bridge after his roommate surreptitiously taped him having an intimate homosexual moment. His suicide came on the heels of teenager Jamey Rodemeyer also taking his own life after repeated bullying because of his sexuality. The two successive events, along with hundreds of other devastating gay suicides, have caused a ripple effect that led to actor Zachary Quinto publicly coming out and Lady Gaga meeting with President Barack Obama about bullying legislation. Now the pop star has decided to take it one step further.

According to CNN, Lady Gaga has begun work on a new charity called The Born This Way Foundation. Starting next year, the non-for-profit will join with the John D and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation, the California Endowment and the Berkman Center For Internet & Society at Harvard University to offer support programs aimed at bullying victims to increase self-confidence and career development. The organizations are also hoping to foster a culture filled with kids willing to stand up and protect others being mistreated.

For decades, bullying was seen as an immature and perhaps a bit sad part of growing up. It wasn’t endorsed, but it was tolerated. That mentality produced generations of unsympathetic adults who assumed kids would eventually stand up to their tormentors and grow as people because of it. I’ll be the first to admit I felt that way for a long time as well, but at some point, you have to step back, look at the thousands who have killed themselves or been victimized and say enough is enough. The standard protocol is no longer working. We need to tell teens, especially gay teens, that it does get better and that being picked on shouldn’t be a side effect of homosexuality.



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