Pam has a guest piece up at where she explores that question thoroughly.  Please read the whole thing.  Here’s a bit of what she has to say:

Tyler Clementi’s story may be high-profile because of the circumstances of the alleged bullying, but the fate of this young man is not a solitary incident. This parents’ nightmare is repeated around the country as our society grapples with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) youth coming out at earlier ages — and being visible from grade school to college.

While they may find acceptance by loving parents and be encouraged by a culture increasingly embracing their identity, these young people find that “being themselves” is not always well-received by an important slice of their world — school administrators, children who bully, and even teachers who subscribe to the “toughen up” philosophy. This world has not caught up, even as anti-bullying policies are being passed across the country.

[T]here is still a great disconnect between the fair-minded civic impulses of our society that lead to hate-crime prosecutions and the homophobic conversations that still go on in homes, behind closed doors, and among cruel adolescents jockeying for social position with no care for the pain it inflicts.

Our society must discuss how the bully persona emerges in individuals — young people who can do tremendous damage without even seeing themselves as bullies — and this needs to happen out in the open.

Seriously, read it all.