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Coming Out Rally, Vigil Held For Gay Teen Suicide Victims

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) – About 150 people gathered in Philadelphia on Sunday for a vigil for gay teenagers who have killed themselves recently following harassment due to their sexuality. On “National Coming Out Day” the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender community and their allies held a street fair in Center City.

There was celebration outside, while inside the William Way Community Center, a convocation as a vigil was held for Rutgers Freshman Tyler Clementi and other teenagers who committed suicide after enduring bullying and harassment over their sexual orientation.

Teacher Lisa Gale came out at 17-years-old, “It’s not a rash of suicides it’s a rash of publicity of suicides. This is something that’s been going on for a long time. It’s really hard to come out in this society; no one can imagine it’s easy.”

In September, 18-year-old Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi killed himself by jumping off the George Washington Bridge after his roommate secretly recorded him with another male student, then broadcast the video online.

Speakers at the William Way Community Center called for more efforts to curb bullying and for stern prosecution in the Clementi case.

Forty-six-year-old Jeanne McIntyre said she was kicked out of her Collingswood, N.J. home after coming out to her parents. But a quarter-century later, she saw the rainbow gay pride emblem raised over a municipal building in the City of Brotherly Love. Echoing a YouTube campaign, she told the crowd “It gets better.”

Reported By Molly Day, KYW Newsradio

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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