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Teen: Gay Kids Considered Suicide After Troy Mayor Mocked Gay Marriage

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Troy Mayor Janice Daniels (WWJ Photo/Beth Fisher, File)

Troy Mayor Janice Daniels (WWJ Photo/Beth Fisher, File)

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(CBS Detroit) Fallout from the Troy mayor’s use of the word “queer” to disavow the legalization of gay marriage continued Tuesday as the leader of a student association said it made some teens feel so hopeless they contemplated suicide.

Zach Kilgore, a senior at Troy High School and a member of his school’s gay-straight alliance, visited Charlie Langton’s morning show on Talk 1270, where he said he was called “the devil” in an anonymous phone call after protesting the mayor, and said a friend told him some gay teens in his alliance were thinking about killing themselves.

Kilgore organized a protest outside Troy City Hall in the wake of the scandal.

“A few kids were actually considering suicide,” Kilgore said, adding:

“I knew that they would be hurt just because…the whole world seems to be against them. That’s how they take it, from kindergarten on through 12 grade, they’re bullied and harassed at every turn. When the mayor said these comments, it seemed like it wasn’t just a school issue, it was a society issue and it wasn’t going to get better.”

Langton asked: “Did those kids actually talk to you?”

“She (a friend) passed this on to me,” Kilgore responded. “Honestly, I’m not surprised, though, because the whole world seems to be against them.”

After first refusing, Daniels later apologized for a post on her Facebook page this summer that said she was going to stop carrying an “I love New York” tote after “queers” were allowed to marry in New York. Daniels refused to step down after the protest at City Hall.

About a month ago, Daniels told Langton, “I absolutely do regret it, I shouldn’t have used such language. While I do believe marriage should be between one man and one woman, it was inappropriate to use that language. It’s a dictionary word, it’s used in a TV show and in other contexts. It was inappropriate and I do apologize.

“It was meant to be a joke, silly, a funny thing.”

The apology didn’t assuage the fears of local gay students, Kilgore said. “They’re still upset, it still hurts them to the core.”

Amy Weber, founder of Radish Creative Group in Royal Oak and a gay mother of two, said she was “devastated” to hear gay students contemplated suicide after news of the mayor’s post broke.

“If you’re brave enough to come out, expose yourself, then you get this kind of backlash, there’s this perceived notion that there’s no way it’s getting better. Who wants to face that every day of their lives?”

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