Bullying | News

Bullied Gay Ottawa Teen Jamie Hubley Commits Suicide; Like Jamey Rodemeyer, He Documented Troubles Online

Hubley

Another horrific gay teen suicide caused by bullying, I'm so sad to report.

Gay 15-year-old Ottawa, Canada teen Jamie Hubley killed himself on Friday. Bullying was apparently to blame, the Ottawa Citizen reports. And like the recent bullying suicide of Jamey Rodemeyer, Hubley documented much of what happened to him online:

Jamie Hubley documented the final month of his life in heartbreaking and painful detail.

The 15-year-old boy, a son of Kanata South Councillor Allan Hubley and his wife, Wendy Barber, kept a blog in which he wrote openly of his struggles with depression and the challenges of being an openly gay teenager.

Like Rodemeyer, he cited pop stars he loved and made videos on a YouTube channel.

The paper adds:

A gifted actor and singer — he loved Lady Gaga, Adele and Katy Perry, and posted numerous videos of himself singing on his personal YouTube channel — Jamie wrote a month ago that he was looking forward to taking dance lessons this winter. “Something to look forward to,” he wrote. But he also wrote of his sadness and despair, about being called a “fag.”

In a post three weeks ago, he said he was depressed, that medications he was taking weren’t working, and that being gay in high school was so hard — a thousand times harder in real life than on the popular television show, Glee, which he loved. “I hate being the only open gay guy in my school ... It f---ing sucks, I really want to end it,” he wrote.

The blog postings are interspersed with angst-filled quotes and startling images of self-harm — gathered from all over the web, as well as other pictures of celebrities, clothing and men kissing passionately.

Here's Hubley's YouTube channel, and a tribute tumblr. Jamie's final blog post, below.

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A cover of Lady Gaga's "Born This Way", AFTER THE JUMP...

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Comments

  1. How many kids have to die before we as a society wake up? These so-called Christian politicians are making things worse with their hate-filled venom.

    Posted by: Jack M | Oct 17, 2011 10:36:13 AM


  2. Blah.

    Posted by: Mark | Oct 17, 2011 10:36:13 AM


  3. It pains me to see this epidemic, but when gay teens kill themselves, they're giving their tormentors the victory and leaving their family members in tragic circumstances.
    Enough is enough. High school is temporary. Why can't they understand this?

    Posted by: Sarina | Oct 17, 2011 10:37:19 AM


  4. While you're in high school, it doesn't seem temporary. It is all that you know, it is your own society. It seems like it will be the rest of your life. Perspective comes with age.

    Posted by: bostonbeardad | Oct 17, 2011 10:43:24 AM


  5. @Sarina, they're adolescents. Their brains are not physically and chemically not programmed yet with the tools they need to survive. It is the responsibility of society to protect them, to help them understand and to keep them from harming themselves until they've matured.

    Society is not only failing to fulfill this responsibility, it is creating, protecting and often encouraging their attackers. The blood of each of these children is on all of our hands; until it stops, we're not doing enough.

    Posted by: Aaron A. | Oct 17, 2011 10:45:36 AM


  6. So very sad and what a handsome young man. Life is just too precious to give it up so easily. Depression is treatable - where are the parents when a child needs them? What about school counselors and his friends - the girls he mentioned in his blog as his bff's? People HAVE to step forward and extend a hand. So sad to lose another member of our community.

    Posted by: OS2Guy | Oct 17, 2011 10:47:42 AM


  7. @Sarina

    Homophobia is not a "high school" thing. What they see around them is not some kind of paradise for gay people. That's why Jamie asked a very good question: "How do you even know it will get better?"

    Posted by: Eugene | Oct 17, 2011 10:51:30 AM


  8. Completely tragic, of course. But I question the wisdom of publicizing every case like this that comes along; part of what suicidal teens desire is the pity and understanding of those around them; making national headlines certainly qualifies. If other depressed teens think that killing themselves will achieve their goal, aren't they more likely to do so?

    Aside from that, of course, very few people commit suicide because of environmental reasons alone. Most people who actually follow through with suicidal thoughts are mentally ill, and perhaps blaming their actions on bullying alone is not really giving a fair picture of the problem. There's a reason that suicide prevention in this country is inextricably tied to mental health awareness. I am of course NOT saying that bullying did not contribute, or was not a factor in their decisions, but it's not entirely truthful to keep reporting every teen suicide as part of a bullying epidemic.

    Human interest stories are just that--interesting--and they tug at our heartstrings and we lament about the state of society. But tens of thousands of people commit suicide in the United States alone each year. And people have been committing suicide in the world since the dawn of humanity. Is bullying a problem? Yes. But if you truly want to prevent suicides, learn to recognize the warning signs of mental illness and get these kids the help they need.

    Posted by: Zell | Oct 17, 2011 10:53:28 AM


  9. There's a line in "Imitation of Life" that summed up how many gay teens must feel: "How do you tell a child that she was born to be hurt?".

    Posted by: Sarina | Oct 17, 2011 10:53:33 AM


  10. "Mental illness" is a great way to sweep the murderpus effects of homophobia under the rug, Zell.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Oct 17, 2011 11:04:45 AM


  11. You don't always get to read these letters. As much as christian bullies and morons understandably influenced his decision, it is really clear from that letter that he didn't have a lot to live for.

    You can't just live for friends and music and good times! You need purpose, without purpose you can find yourself extremely disillusioned.

    We are taking down the bullies slowly but we also need to work on the bigger bullies that make life hard for everybody, whats even better? We need to empower these at-risk youths to grow up and fight them with us.

    Posted by: Fenrox | Oct 17, 2011 11:05:52 AM


  12. @ Zell
    I disagree with you partially there, some people perceive their environment as the life they are and don't live through who they are. Granted there is a correlation between mental illness and suicidal tendencies, but you can't justify the thoughts of people who go through these events.
    Someone I knew killed herself by slitting her wrists, the only reason a majority of her family died not long beforehand. and she was left alone. Completely aware of herself, completely "normal"(mentally) just over stressed, overbore with emotion. So don't dismiss the factorials completely. Just like Jamey, Jamie's environment was going to school and being hated and picked on for who he was, for something he had no control over. for something that so many different parts of this world hate upon.
    Granted thousands of people commit suicide each year. but how many of them are from pure hatred? I bet Jamie was made to feel like everything he knew/was/loved/desired was the worse thing in the world, was worse than murder. I've been there emotionally. I've never done anything physically but I've been to the edge when the only answer that seems possible is suicide.
    Trying to justify something so tragic is the same sort of attitude to the bullies that tormented Jamie, and Jamey!

    Posted by: Shortaie | Oct 17, 2011 11:17:17 AM


  13. Three years is too long to wait? Even when you're a teenager? And if high school was so awful, why was he still in it? If he couldn't be homeschooled, couldn't he be transferred? Couldn't he just drop out? Were there really no options?

    Maybe the Internet means we just know about these suicides more than we did in the past. I don't know. But, seriously, not at all to make light of this, but this is ridiculous. You don't just kill yourself because things are bad when you know for a fact that at least your circumstances will be radically changing very shortly when high school ends. How can that not be something to live for?

    Posted by: justme | Oct 17, 2011 11:19:03 AM


  14. OK, those last two lines made me cry.

    "Maybe in my next life I'll be a flying squirrel. I'll fly away."

    So goddamn sad.

    Posted by: Dev | Oct 17, 2011 11:19:16 AM


  15. I keep think I'll get used to reading these stories. Sooner or later you have to become desensitized, right? But somehow that never seems to happen. Every time I come across another one of these tragic stories I choke up. We need to take off the rose-colored glasses: It gets better, yes--for some people but not for everyone, not by long shot.

    As long as the Western world remains in the grip of the pernicious superstition called Christianity, and as long a "Christian politicians" remain contemptuous and dismissive of gay lives and relationships, these deaths will continue.

    Posted by: jomicur | Oct 17, 2011 11:23:24 AM


  16. Where the hell were his parents in all of this? I'm just asking ...

    Posted by: gary | Oct 17, 2011 11:25:05 AM


  17. I'm not trying to justify or excuse any behavior by anyone. But thousands, probably millions, of teenagers are bullied in school. I was one of them, probably most of us on this site were. The vast majority don't commit suicide, even if they consider it or have suicidal thoughts. What's the difference? Is it because Jamey and Jamie were bullied more? No, it's a mental condition present, I stand by that and so would most mental health professionals. I agree that bullying contributed, as the immediate cause, but something else was behind it and if you don't want to recognize that, you aren't going to help anyone.

    Posted by: Zell | Oct 17, 2011 11:27:00 AM


  18. "It's just too hard. I don't want to wait three more years, this hurts too much. How do you even know it will get better? It's not."

    This pretty much says it all, and more or less is the indication of why we are still seeing LGBT kills themselves.

    And that's not a knock on Dan Savage's campaign and all the celebrities who have done their part to see that anti-gay bullying and all sorts of bullying are done away with. But the facts are, children like Jamie Hubley and Jamey Rodemeyer live in suburban areas, which are generally more conservative, there is less outreach and less openness and understanding, and these kids feel hopeless. That's why the IGB campaign only goes so far. These kids look around their surroundings, their communities, and do not see things getting better. They hear the stories of discrimination worldwide and do not feel warmth and acceptance, they feel ostracized and targeted, and they don't have the support system in place nor the awareness and perspective that comes with age, to cope with these negative feelings that ALL LGBT citizens have dealt with.

    It's as if some people are blind to reality. Being gay in a suburb of Ottawa, Ontario is not the same as being gay in Toronto or being gay in NYC. It's easy to make an IGB video when you're in Los Angeles and not having to deal with daily bullying and threats. These teens need a message of empowerment. Most importantly, these teens need a support system. This is where parents, friends, school board, have to step up to the plate, and if they notice any signs of depression, to do something about it before it's too late. This is where adult gays need to COME OUT and be active, set up LGBT youth organizations and make a difference instead of sending a negative message by closeting themselves. This is where schools need to do their part to active pursue and punish bullies. The #1 reason LGBT teens kill themselves is a feeling of despair, but that can be reversed if people in these communities and LGBT citizens and supporters as a global community let these kids know they do have a lot of people who care for them, who love them, and who will do their part to see they are hurting anymore.

    Posted by: Francis | Oct 17, 2011 11:39:19 AM


  19. @Zell, I hear you. There has been a lot of discussion, especially among suicide prevention advocates, about the publicizing of these tragic incidents and the potential for copy-cat suicides. It's a very delicate subject and there are proper ways to handle these things, but I understand where Andy is coming from when he reports on here.

    Posted by: Jesus | Oct 17, 2011 11:41:34 AM


  20. If you're goijg to excuse bullying your not going to help anyone, Zell.

    Except of course yourself.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Oct 17, 2011 11:41:41 AM


  21. @David Ehrenstein: I'm not really sure why you keep personally attacking me, unless that's just the only way you know how to discuss anything. I never excused bullying and I went out of my way to emphasize what a problem I think it is. And I have absolutely no idea what you mean with your comment "except of course yourself." How is excusing bullying, even if I had done it, helping myself?

    Posted by: Zell | Oct 17, 2011 11:49:45 AM


  22. This just shows that achieving marriage equality (same-sex marriage is legal in Canada) does not end the fight against bigotry and homophobia. This is a battle that wages on.

    Posted by: Paulie | Oct 17, 2011 11:52:53 AM


  23. Because, justme, these are kids. So, for starters, they don't have the same perspective and ability to look beyond their immediate situations. Kids are less able to cope with such hostile living situations. Secondly, this particular suburb in Ottawa is a more conservative suburb, in fact, the fact, its a suburb to begin with. Meaning, kids who live in areas such as this do NOT see things better any better after high school. The way they see it, they'll be hanging around the same kids who bullied them throughout middle/high school in college. There is no "fresh start" unless they runaway and leave, which is another dramatic and traumatic decision. Just dropping out or going to another school, is not just a willy nilly decision, he would have to leave his friends, and go to another school where who knows what will happen and if the same problems he encountered at the school he was entered in would take place in the new school? People adapt to their environment, especially kids. There is no outreach, there isn't any real sense of community for these gay teens. As this young man here said, he was the ONLY openly gay teen in his school. He doesn't know any other openly gay guys his age who he can relate to. And there clearly wasn't enough of an effort to promote the gay-straight alliance in his school or promote anti-bullying campaigns.

    When a person gets to this point, you literally hate looking at yourself in the mirror. There is no more pride, there is nothing to live for in their eyes. No life worth, no self-worth. 3 years isn't "shortly" either. 3 years is a long time to be depressed daily. A very long time, with no end in sight? That's how these teens see it. Bad doesn't really begin to describe it. It's like you're at war all alone against an entire culture (school culture, social culture) that hates you. It's very very hard, and it's not about mental illness, it's about personal pain that may lead to psychological/emotional illness.

    At the end of the day, until people start taking responsibility for why this continues to happen and does their part to make a chance, nothing will change.

    Posted by: Francis | Oct 17, 2011 12:03:39 PM


  24. I am teacher and youth worker. I am greatly greatly concerned that the more we promote by name and video these teenagers the more we are going to get copy cat suicides.

    Teenagers who are victimized and alone and feeling small are seeing over and over - kill yourself and you become a super star in the media. Friends will write songs about you, celebrities will mention your name. It is called The Werther Effect and in our grief and need for answers we are promoting suicide as a viable option.

    Suicides are not reported in newspapers because of The Werther Effect.

    We should definitely mourn, we should definitely demand change. But these kids need to be treated anonymously or we are going to see more and more teens opt for taking their own lives for the perceived reward as will as the escape from pain.

    In Vancouver we recently started the Purple Letter campaign and the main thrust of it is that the letters do not have to name names. Tell the stories, and shine a light in the pain and the problem not the indiviuals.

    My heart breaks for these kids.

    Suicides

    Posted by: David C. Jones | Oct 17, 2011 12:04:44 PM


  25. Zell,

    I can see what you are saying but you are being to black & white. There are grey areas in this spectrum of yours and in that grey area is NOT mental illness but low cognitive dissonance.

    Young people especially suffer from this until they go to university and learn how to analyse material-the past, present and future. Primary and Secondary. Objective and Subjective.

    If you go to a good schools you are given these tools from the ages of 15-I will never forget analysing I know why the caged bird sings from Maya Angelou as a teen for my A'Levels.

    So when you are not armed with this ability to see above YOU and YOUR surroundings, everything is intrinsic and that includes your pain.

    If you're black and growing up in a racist narrow minded area-every white person hates black people. If you're a lower middle class white gay gawky kid growing up in the suburbs-everyone hates gays.

    It doesn't matter that there a smattering of gay blogs-and I repeat smattering-on the internet, you go on to any other entertainment or gaming or music blog etc and there are hundreds of homophobic comments (See ZQuinto's imdb page and the comments on every main entertainment blog).

    So double this with being intrinsic and you have a potential defeatist and destructive attitude towards life that is slowly building up.

    Some people remain intrinsic until they die of old age. Others become extrinsic, read more books, travel the world, open their minds, listen to differing opinions and look at life as something is designed by you-not your homophobic parents, neighbours or peers.

    Posted by: R | Oct 17, 2011 12:06:39 PM


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