LGBTQ advocates spoke out Wednesday in Hartford, calling for greater awareness of, and action against bullying and hate speech. This follows three recent youth suicides in the state.
Robin McHaelen is executive director of True Colors, a statewide agency that supports the needs of youth of all orientations. She said problems may begin with adults.
"Did you know that almost 10 percent of all the bullying complaints that the Connecticut Department of Education gets are not about youth bullying other youth, they’re about adults bullying youth? That means grown-ups picking on kids," said McHaelen. "Did you know that just last night one of True Colors's staff members was jumped and assaulted in New Haven for having the audacity to walk, while black and gay? Did you know that two transgender and one gay kid have died by suicide right here in Connecticut in the last few months?"
McHaelen said it’s been generations since people have felt this free to act so publicly on their biases. She placed some of the blame on the Trump administration.
U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal also spoke at the event. He has introduced legislation that provides incentives for better hate crime reporting and grants for state-run hot lines.