National Coming Out Day is October 11th. Coming Out is a tremendously brave step in an LGBT person's journey. The family of Tyler Clementi sits down with LGBT advocate and Faith in America founder Mitchell Gold to talk about love and acceptance for LGBT people. Take a moment to read the interview and learn how you can be an ally to the LGBT people in your life. This is an important message that all youth and parents need to read. It matters because we all have an LGBT person in our life.

As we recognize National Coming Out Day, help support our work of creating safe and inclusive spaces for LGBT and vulnerable youth. Make a donation today.

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Are you thinking about
hurting yourself?

Decide to give it another day and call the
Trevor Project at 866-4-U-TREVOR (866-488-7386)
or call the National Suicide Prevention Center at
at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Someone will answer who can talk to you confidentially.
Please reach out because we care for you.

Joseph and Jane Clementi

Joseph and Jane Clementi are the loving parents of Tyler Clementi. Since losing their son, the couple has been on a journey of loss, discovery, and action. They founded The Tyler Clementi Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating safe and inclusive spaces for LGBT and vulnerable youth, their families and their allies. As a married couple, they have shared the tragic experience of losing a son and have a powerful message to deliver to other parents. As individuals, they each come from their own perspective to focus on different key points.

Joseph Clementi’s core message is about turning Bystanders into Upstanders. His view is that there are three people involved in any type of bullying situation: the bully, the victim, and the bystander who witnesses but does not act. Joseph wants to share his message that bystanders to bullying have an obligation to get involved and defend those who are targeted.

Jane Clementi’s core message is one of religious acceptance. Jane wants to see the concept of “sin” disassociated from homosexuality. She believes that churches and people of faith can and should embrace gay people, and that doing so will save families and lives.

Since the death of their son, the Clementi’s have spoken and presented papers at numerous events including NJ DARE 2012 Annual Conference in Atlantic City, CAPS Long Island, Rutgers University 2011 Symposium, the Federal Reserve of NY, BNP and Wells Fargo.

James Clementi

James Clementi is the older brother of Tyler Clementi. The loss of his brother was a life altering event for James, and sent him on a path of activism and awareness for bullying, suicide prevention, and LGBT rights. Like his brother Tyler, James is gay. The core part of his message is the equality of LGBT people in our society and the devastating consequences of bullying on our young people. Bullying that happens face-to-face and online through social media has become an epidemic among our youth. James is focused on reaching out to college students, using Tyler’s story as a tool to reinforce the inherent value of each life. Respect, love and equality are the key components of his message. James envisions a youth culture where kindness is cool, and respect is the norm.

James has written about his experience for Out Magazine, spoken at events such as the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles First Annual Voice Awards as well as television programs Anderson Cooper 360 and Rock Center with Brian Williams, and has blogged about bullying in The Huffington Post.

Take The Pledge
Sign the Upstander Pledge
By signing the pledge, your name will appear on this page. Please check the box if you do not want your name to appear.
Become an Upstander
  • I pledge to become an Upstander by standing up to bullying whether I'm at school, at home, at work, in my house of worship, or out with friends, family, colleagues, or teammates.
  • I will work to make others feel safe and included by treating them with respect and compassion.
  • I will not use offensive language or slurs, whether homophobic, racist, sexist or other derogatory terms in person or while using technology.
  • I will encourage my peers, family members, and colleagues to do the same and will speak up when they use offensive language.

If I see or hear such offenses occurring:

  • I will speak up! I will let others know that bullying is abusive and not acceptable.
  • I will reach out to someone I know who has been bullied and offer my support to that person.
  • I will remain vigilant and not be a passive audience or "bystander" to abusive actions or words.
  • I will reach out to the one suffering to offer my support and make it a point to spend time with him or her.
  • I will tell a trusted friend or colleague, teacher, coach, caregiver, manager, or religious leader about what I saw and heard and make sure they follow-up.
Pledge Stories

I am an Upstander

This is my Upstander story and I want to share it with you!

Julie Cornell is an Upstander!

One year ago, I signed the Tyler Clementi Foundation's Upstander pledge. In doing so, I promised to make others feel safe and included, to speak up if I see bullying occur and not to use offensive or homophobic language. As is any promise, saying it is much easier than doing. But since I have signed the pledge, I have been compelled to uphold those words in my everyday interactions. Pledging to be an Upstander means you need to actively engage in situations that may be uncomfortable for you and may test the relationships you have with others. But if we are to ensure safe spaces for LGBTQ and other vulnerable youth, we need to ensure we pay attention to our actions and especially to the language we use. To illustrate this, I'd like to share an Upstander story of my own.   A few weeks ago during a family BBQ, my very Italian, somewhat macho, but incredibly lovable uncle, who's also my godfather, flippantly said, "Tennis players are so gay!" while watching a US Open match. In response, I calmly challenged my uncle about his usage of the term "gay." I asked, "What do you mean by gay? Do you mean they look silly? Do you mean they look girly with their colorful, fashionable outfits?" To which he sheepishly replied, "OK, I really mean that they look silly." And rather than it being an awkward moment, there was some humor involved, and I think my uncle got the message loud and clear: the language we use matters.    The language we use DOES matter. Whether in the privacy of our own homes, at a dinner party with friends or work function, or spending time with our families, it's important to remember that just because a gay or lesbian person is not in the room doesn't mean it's OK to use offensive language. Being an Upstander means that you have an opportunity to be an example for others by not using offensive language. It may mean that the next time my uncle wants to use the word "gay" in another situation, he will choose to use a more appropriate one. And in doing so will make the space around him more welcoming and inclusive. It's that easy - by changing the words we use, we can make the world a safer, more respectful place for all.   Julie A. Cornell Program Manager for Corporate Philanthropy and Upstander extraordinaire Follow me @jcornellcares
Send us your Upstander stories and photos on Facebook, or to our email at outreach@tylerclementi.org, to be featured on our website.
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A Safe Place For All
The Tyler Clementi Foundation is focused on three core strategies that guide our outreach, advocacy, partnerships and activities.
Honoring LGBT Youth
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