RIDGEWOOD, N.J. — Following their son’s suicide, the parents of gay Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi shied from the spotlight, but now Joe and Jane Clementi have broken their silence in an extensive New York Times interview.
In the interview, they revealed information about their last conversations with their son, how they reacted to his coming out to them as gay, and how they feel the anti-gay teachings of the evangelical church they attended affected his psychological state, a revelation that prompted her to leave her church.
“I think some people think that sexual orientation can be changed or prayed over,” she told the Times. “But I know sexual orientation is not up for negotiation. I don’t think my children need to be changed. I think that what needed changing is attitudes, or myself, or maybe some other people I know.”
Jane Clementi also spoke of the last conversation she had with her young son before he jumped from the George Washington Bridge where he declined to have his parents bring his beloved bike to campus for him, because, she believes, he had already made the decision to end his life.