Columbus - Austin Rodriguez, a Wellsville High School student, is still recovering from an attempted suicide on March 16th after incidents of bullying related to his recent coming out. Michael Bustin, a student of Miami University in Oxford, was recently attacked, along with a friend, after leaving a drag show on campus at 2:30 a.m. on March 24th.
Michael Bustin, in an interview with WLWT news, spoke about the violence directed against him stating "I just want this to be a message. Just stop hate."
In response to the incident at Miami University, students and community members at Miami University and the University of Cincinnati will hold coinciding rallies Thursday April 5th, at 5pm in Oxford and Cincinnati.
Although these incidents are different in some respects, they represent one of the biggest hurdles facing LGBT youth: bullying and harassment.
The Ohio General Assembly took action earlier this year to combat bullying in Ohio schools, but fell short of enumerating sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as other categories. Incidents like these provide further evidence that Ohio needs an enumerated anti-bullying law.
“Enumeration is particularly important for vulnerable groups of students. LGBT students in states that do not enumerate their anti-bullying policies have the same experience of bullying as those without any anti-bullying and harassment laws at all,” says Ed Mullen, Executive Director of Equality Ohio.
Equality Ohio is working with members of the Ohio General Assembly to pass the enumerated anti-bullying bill, House Bill 208, that includes sexual orientation and gender identity.
Equality Ohio advocates and educates to achieve fair treatment and equal opportunity for all Ohioans regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. For more information, visit www.equalityohio.org.