Why Congress Won't Pass Anti-LGBTQ+ Bullying Law Drafted In Response To Tyler Clementi's Death

Photo: Facebook
Why Congress Won't Pass Anti-LGBTQ+ Bullying Law Drafted In Response To Tyler Clementi's Death

To honor the 11th anniversary of Tyler Clementi’s death, three members of Congress reintroduced legislation to combat anti-LGBTQ+ bullying.

House Representative Mark Pocan and Senators Tammy Baldwin and Patty Murray came together to reintroduce the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act.

What is the Tyler Clementi Higher Education anti-Harassment Act?

The bill requires colleges to enact policies that prohibit the harassment of LGBTQ+ students.

It also requires universities to create policies that prohibit verbal abuse and physical assault on the basis of race, sex, and disability status.

RELATED: 11 Inmates Have Died While In Custody On Rikers Island Exposing The Jail's Horrible Conditions

The bill was first drafted in 2011 after Clementi's tragic death but it has stalled every year since it was introduced, struggling to garner support from key House members.

Who is Tyler Clementi?

In August 2010, a Rutgers University student, Tyler Clementi, asked his roommate, Dharun Ravi, for some privacy.

Clementi was going on a date with a man that night and wanted the room to himself — a normal request for a college student to make. 

Without Clementi’s knowledge, Ravi turned his webcam on and pointed it to Clementi’s bed. The webcam captured Clementi in “an intimate act” and Ravi published it to his Twitter feed.

Soon enough, Clementi became a topic of ridicule and homophobic gossip. Apparently, Ravi was also planning to broadcast Clementi’s privacy from the webcam.

Days later, eighteen-year-old Clementi committed suicide.

RELATED: Harry Jowsey Addresses Fling With Trans Influencer Nikita Dragun – And Explains Why It Shouldn't Matter

The first openly LGBTQ+ Congress member, Tammy Baldwin, and the first out Senator, spoke in favor of the bill. 

Congress has yet to pass the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act, named after the tragic suicide of Tyler Clementi.

“By reintroducing this legislation," Baldwin said, "we are taking a strong step forward in not only preventing harassment on campus but also making sure our students have the freedom to learn and succeed in safe and healthy environments.”

“Everyone at our colleges," she continued, "and universities deserve to pursue their dreams free of harassment and bullying.”

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Join now for YourTango's trending articles, top expert advice and personal horoscopes delivered straight to your inbox each morning.

Clementi’s suicide was one of the most highly publicized suicides during that time. Three weeks after his death, five other young people took their own lives.

Many of those people were targeted for being gay before their deaths.

26 co-sponsors have signed onto the Tyler Clementi bill in the Senate.

The sponsors do not include Krysten Sinema, who is currently the only openly bisexual member of the Senate.

Jane Clementi, Tyler Clementi's mother, said she is “grateful” to see the support for the legislation, even though it has yet to pass.

Jane even founded an anti-bullying nonprofit.

“We believe all institutions of higher education should have policies to keep all their students safe,” Jane Clementi said, “because every student deserves a positive educational experience in a safe environment free of harassment, bullying, or humiliation.”

RELATED: The Lie About Social Media Addiction That Fooled 82 Million People

Izzy Casey is a writer who covers entertainment and pop culture.