By Julie Bolcer
Originally published on Advocate.com October 07 2010 10:30 AM ET
Chris Armstrong, the first openly gay student body president at the University of Michigan, said that the recent suicides of LGBT youths prompted him to break his silence about being bullied online by Michigan assistant attorney general Andrew Shirvell.
Armstrong appeared on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, where he described his experience as intensely personal but said, “Given what’s happened in the past week, and given the suicides that have happened in the past few weeks, it’s hard not to say something.”
Armstrong said he has not interacted with Shirvell, a University of Michigan alum who created the blog Chris Armstrong Watch to monitor the student leader's “radical agenda,” which called for extended cafeteria hours, gender-neutral bathrooms, and lower tuition costs. Although Michigan attorney general Mike Cox has maintained that the blog is an off-hours concern, Shirvell has taken a voluntary leave of absence from his job and the university has barred him from campus. Armstrong is seeking a personal protection order against his tormentor.
“Honestly, I didn’t really ask to be put in this position in a lot of ways,” said Armstrong. “But I felt that, seeing these kids feel like they needed to take their life, it’s important to understand that things can get better and it’s important to know that you can reach out in your community, you can reach out to friends and they can support you.”
Watch the video.