Statement by Jonathan Lucas, Executive Director of Hudson Pride, on the sentencing of Dharun Ravi:
Hudson Pride is a spiritual home to many young people who have faced bias, intimidation, and even brutal physical assault for being open about their status as LGBT youth. The youth we work with were comforted by the guilty verdict in the Ravi trial. To them, it was a statement of how far we as a society have come in recognizing the damage that bullying does to young queer lives.
Our fear is that the lenient sentence received by Dharun Ravi sends the opposite message. Our fear is that young queer people will think that this means that you can make life intolerable for a queer person, and the criminal justice system will favor the offender rather than his or her target.
Whether that is the message sent by this verdict is largely up to Dharun Ravi himself. Ravi now has the opportunity to express regret for his actions, to learn more about the challenges faced by gay youth who are struggling to come out, and to speak out about the unintended consequences of actions such as those he took against Tyler Clementi. He could start by encouraging his supporters, including his legal team, to stop all incendiary statements being made on his behalf against the LGBT community.
We hope that Mr. Ravi proves worthy of the lenience he has received.
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