Gay Mountaineer Raises Money For Trevor Project

Climbs “Seven Summits”

Impetus to Change GLBT Suicide Rate

Cason Crane is an incoming Princeton University freshman.  Devastated by the suicide of a friend as well as the tragic death of Tyler Clementi in his home state.prompted Carson to help more LGBTQ youth to get the help they need and to call attention to youth suicide, the third leading cause of death for 15-to-24 year-olds.

Gay himself, Cason remembers times when he was bullied, teased in the locker room, and called names. Luckily, he had the support of family and friends unlike many GLBT kids who consider suicide. In fact, GLBTQ kids have four times the suicide rate of their peers.

The Rainbow Summits Project

A cum laude graduate of a competitive preparatory school, Choate Rosemary Hall, Cason  wanted to bring awareness and funds  The Trevor Project, the leading GLBTQ suicide and crisis prevention service. His work is called The Rainbow Summits Project.

While most organizations raise money through telethons, direct mail, SuperPacs, Cason has a unique approach: he climbs mountains.  Although he says he is afraid of heights, he has been climbing since he was fifteen years old when he climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa.  He has worked and partaked of volunteer missions in Africa, Asia, and North America and has travelled to more than sixty-five countries.

A good athlete, he is an avid runner, swimmer, and triathlete.  He completed his first Ironman in New Zealand in January 2012.

Why Climb?

Although physically fit, Crane speaks about the challenges inherent in climbing the tallest mountains in the seven continents.  He likens climbing to the challenges of being GLBTQ: the obstacles, the need for external support, but ultimately, the pay-off – the high of being true to themselves and to those who care about them.

Crane has climbed mountains in the United States, New Zealand, Russia, Switzerland, France, and Argentina.  His ascent of Mt. Everest, the tallest in the world, was on May 21.  His final climb, a second try, was Mt. McKinley in Alaska on July 11, 2013. He carried Tibetan prayer flags to the summit.  Pictures are on his website: http://www. casoncrane.com, On the flags are dedications to people who have committed suicide or been the victims of harassment.

No Small Feat

With his seven climbs, Crane becomes the first openly LGBT person to attain the distinction of successfully climbing to the tops of the highest mountains on each continent.  He is also the fifth youngest person to achieve that record.

Raised Awareness and Money

Cason Crane has raised over $135,000 for The Trevor Project and awareness for GLBTQ suicide. This year, he received an award from GLAAD, a principal organization for LGBT equality that works directly with the news media.  You can also follow Cason on Twitter mailto:@casoncrane.

 

 

 

Tyler Clementi Center Opens at Rutgers University

Family of Suicide Victim Dedicates Research Center on February 4, 2013

Two years after the suicide of their son Tyler, a freshman at Rutgers University, Jane and Joe Clementi and their sons James and Brian unveiled the Tyler Clementi Center at Rutgers. Tyler, in September 2010, took his own life after becoming the victim of cyberbullying. He discovered that his roommate used a webcam to spy on him having sex with another man.  Two days later, he jumped off the George Washington Bridge.

The Center Itself: Near Rutgers Campus in New Brunswick, New Jersey

The Center will draw from academic disciplines across the university and throughout the nation to create new programs and approaches to address issues that confront young people, specifically vulnerable youth making the transition from home to college. The new programs and policies to assist first-year students and high school seniors may be used as models for institutions of higher education throughout the country.

It will offer lectures, training and symposia on such topics as the use and misuse of new technologies and social media; youth suicide, especially among LGBTQ youth, during the transition to adulthood; adjustment and assimilation into college life, bullying and cyberbullying, and promoting and understanding inclusive and safe environments.

The goal of the center is to provide scholarly support for the work of policymakers, social activists, community leaders and other advocates for vulnerable youth or as Jeff Longhofer, associate professor of social work and co-director of the Tyler Clementi Center said the Center “will be devoted to putting theory and academia into action.”  Susan Furrer, executive director of the Center for Applied Psychology, is co-director. Its first lecture in March will be “growing up digital.”  In April, there will be a conference on transgender issues.

What the Center Means to Clementis and College

According to Tyler’s mother Jane, the center’s aim is to “continue the conversation that began twenty-eight months ago.” “ Our hope,” said Mrs. Clementi, “is to take a terrible newsclip and turn it into something positive.  By keeping the dialogue going, we believe we can hopefully make a change in other youths’ lives.”

Joseph Clementi stated that he would like to see the center be “proof that people listen. That people worked harder to reach our youth and help them get through their dark times. That the conversation changed to make sure that personal respect and human dignity was conveyed in person and in the online community.”

Rutgers University executive vice president for academic affairs, Richard L. Edwards, stated “Tyler’s death deeply touched the Rutgers community and brought the issues of cyberbullying and the suicide of gay youth to the attention of the world.  Rutgers has a history of being responsive to the needs of our LGBTQ community as well as offering forward-thinking scholarly work to impact broader cultural change.  It was our sincere wish to work with the Clementi family to turn this tragedy into an effort that would help young people not only at Rutgers but beyond. There are young people like Tyler in every community and in making life better for them we transform Tyler’s experience and enormous promise into a global opportunity for social change.”

Washington Trying to Honor Clementi’s Name as Well

On Capitol Hill, local lawmakers are still fighting to get a bill named after him passed.  The proposed Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act would require all universities to have an anti-harassment policy.