Chris Armstrong said Wednesday that the
recent media spotlight about gay teens bullied to death had motivated
him to speak up about his own bullying experience.
Armstrong, 21, became the subject of
ongoing attacks by Assistant Michigan Attorney General Andrew
Shirvell after he was elected president of the University of Michigan
at Ann Arbor Student Assembly in April. Armstrong is believed to be
the first openly gay student to hold the post.
Shirvell criticized and belittled
Armstrong at Chris Armstrong Watch, a website he runs, now
sealed off behind a password protected page.
“Given what's happened in the past
week, and given the suicides that have happened in the past few
weeks, it's been, it's been – it's hard not to say something,”
Armstrong told Anderson Cooper, host of CNN's Anderson Cooper 360.
“I felt like it was important for me
to speak out as well just because I think that it's important for
them to understand that things can get better. And it's important to
know you can reach out in your community, you can reach out to
friends and they can support you,” he added.
At his blog, Shirvell accused Armstrong
of preying on impressionable freshman, of being “Satan's
representative on the student assembly,” and labeled Armstrong a
Nazi, a racist, a liar and an elitist.
He begins a recent post titled OUTRAGE
ALERT: Armstrong Invites U of M Freshman to Join the Homosexual
Lifestyle with: “Parents of University of Michigan freshmen
beware: the University's first openly 'gay' student body president,
Chris Armstrong, is actively recruiting your sons and daughters to
join the homosexual 'lifestyle.'”
“It seems that the aim of this
'party' is to liquor-up underage freshmen and promote homosexual
activity,” he writes in another post.
After the University of Michigan banned
Shirvell from its campus and Armstrong filed a personal protection
order against him, the University of Michigan alum decided to take a
personal leave from the attorney general's office.
But while Michigan Attorney General
Mike Cox, a Republican, initially defended his employee's actions –
“He's clearly a bully. But is that protected under the First
Amendment of the United States Constitution? Yes.” – he now
reasons that the university's actions, among other things, justify