Comments

  1. Sarina says

    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?

  2. bostonbeardad says

    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.

  3. says

    @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.

  4. says

    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.

  5. Eugene says

    @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?”

  6. Zell says

    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.

  7. Fenrox says

    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.

  8. Shortaie says

    @ 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!

  9. justme says

    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?

  10. jomicur says

    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.

  11. Zell says

    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.

  12. Francis says

    “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.

  13. Jesus says

    @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.

  14. Zell says

    @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?

  15. Paulie says

    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.

  16. Francis says

    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.

  17. David C. Jones says

    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

  18. R says

    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.

  19. Hollywood, CA says

    When I was bullied at school, at LEAST when I went home, it stopped. I didn’t have Facebook to continue the bullying around the clock. Maybe these kids should be cut-off from the internet, if they are havign such a hard time. Use that time to strengthen the relationships with their parents and family, so they are better equpped to handle the bullying at school.

    We have got to get some solutions for these kids.

  20. Eugene says

    @Zell
    “Is it because Jamey and Jamie were bullied more?”

    Perhaps they were more sensitive – like canaries in a landmine. Perhaps homophobia was tolerated in the world around them – in a way that, say, racism, wasn’t. In other words, it irresponsible to attribute it to mental illness.

  21. says

    Because, Jamie, your insistence on “Mental Illness” as the be-all and end-all to this problem is (to put it mildly) dangerously simplistic.

    People who kille themseleves aren’t all “crazy.” My friend Anthony Hollad went as far as he could go with “full-blown AIDS” until he reached a point where he could no longer go on, and with great care, planning and consideration committed suicide.

    An earlier poster asked why “three more years” was too long for these kids to wait to be free of th pirson that is “Middle School.” That’s fogetting how time warps when you’re being persecuted day after day after day. The reust is kids — even those aware of the fact that “it Gets Better” like Jamie Rodemeyer — find they can’t see a future. To say they’re mere’y “Mentally Ill” is to dismiss what’s at stake here. Moreover it subdivides those gay kids being subjected to homophobic atack. Those who “take it” are apprently of better quality than those who can’t — and are therefore “Mentally Ill” for killing themselves.

    You’re really a pro when it comes to playing “Kick the Corpse” Zell.

  22. BobinBoulder says

    I know that we have all asked these questions before… “how many have to die, before it stops?” “Who can help these kids?”, etc… but is anyone really DOING anything to help them. Making a video and posting it on the internet is one thing (remember the yellow rubber bracelets… it was the “in thing” to do). .. talking about how it is going to “get better” sounds great coming from a person who has made it through the other side of this kind of torment… but what are WE (THE GAY COMMUNITY) really doing to help these kids? Is there a hotline that they can call? Is the Lambda Legal/ACLU actively involved in pursuing and prosecuting cases of bullying that result in suicides? Are there plans in place so that if a kid needs help, they can get out of the environment, quickly, to potentially save their lives? There are so many “practical” things that could be done to help these kids that I just don’t see happening.

    Who is the philanthropist out there who will start a foundation to save these kids on a large scale, mobilize resources and give more than just lip service to helping them out? Tim Gill, Cyndi? Others? I’m calling on you guys, because you appear genuinely interested and have access to the money and power structures needed to organize something of this magnitude. Short of folks like these, who else can devote the time/money/power to create something large enough to address this increasingly desperate situation?

    I love the “grass roots” idea, but at some point, you need a person with the money, voice and access to power to make a change of this magnitude as quickly as this is needed.

    Who is it going to be?

  23. Zell says

    You obviously have an archaic and rather insulting idea of what it means to be mentally ill, Ehrenstein. Who said anything about anyone being of “better quality?” And who used the word crazy–you did! And you STILL didn’t answer how excusing bullying (which I didn’t do) would benefit me at all, as you stated earlier.

    The only thing “irresponsible” here is reporting on the suicide of a smattering of mentally ill teenagers, attributing it to bullying, case closed, and then when copycat suicides happen, blaming THEM on bullying, too.

  24. says

    Andy, please stop glorifying these acts of self-murder. I know your intentions are good – I love this site and read it many times daily – but bestowing attention and celebrity on these kids is literally dangerous. Other kids who are prone to suicidal thoughts and actions may hope to be glorified here as well. I’m not angry. I don’t think you’re screwing up royally. I just want you to understand that there are better ways to go about addressing these kids’ pain. Making each one famous, even if for an hour or day, isn’t the way.

    Many years ago the CDC published guidelines for the media to help prevent suicide contagion. Contagion is a real problem – it’s not a theory; we’ve seen it happen many times, most recently and famously at NYU. And I’m afraid we’re seeing it again. I’m writing as a guy who knows more about this than your average person. Tragically I lost a sibling to suicide ten years ago. Again, I think what you’re doing, generally, is great. Your politics are spot-on, and of course I know your heart is in the right place. But please reconsider the attention you’re bringing these kids in their afterlives.

    I know this is a heated topic, so to remove it from context, here’s a piece I wrote about suicide contagion regarding the financial crisis. In it, you’ll find a link to the CDC’s guidelines.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/douglas-faneuil/suicide-contagion-will-ma_b_155727.html

    I want these suicides to end as much as anyone. I know we all do. You just need to look at this problem from a slightly more clinical perspective. We as doctors and professionals understand a lot more about the hows and whys of suicide than most people realize. Contagion is a serious threat, and it CAN be avoided. We just have to be careful – and not trust too deeply in our common sense.

    Thanks for listening. I really hope you understand.

  25. ohplease says

    “It doesn’t matter that there a smattering of gay blogs-and I repeat smattering…”

    This one statement throws all the rest of what you wrote in doubt. A “smattering”? If you were an extraterrestrial on the Internet for the first time today, you would know there are more gay blogs than there are enough days in your life to follow them all.

    Why minimize the reality that there is no shortage of online resources for gay people?

  26. Zell says

    You are disgusting, David, and I’m done arguing with you. The fact is, people here WANT bullying to be the cause, because it gives them something to rally behind. They (you) are using these kids as martyrs for their own cause. And no matter how noble the cause is–trust me, I know how difficult bullying can be and I know what a problem it is–it’s not worth the lives of more kids.

    We will never stop bullying. NEVER. There is absolutely no way to change whatever it is about human nature that causes the weaker minds among us to prey on those perceived as weaker than them. So instead of blathering on about what can be done to prevent bullying–and again, the answer is NOTHING–our time and effort would be better spent on getting people like this the help that they need.

  27. Eugene says

    @Zell

    Why are the teenagers “mentally ill”, though? Do you believe it has nothing to do with bullying and homophobia?

    We know that gay men are much more likely to kill themselves. Does it mean that homosexuality is a mental illness that leads to suicide? Or does it have something to do with the world around them?

    And, yes, there are “copycat suicides” – but they only demonstrate that other teenagers are in the same painful position. So it’s ridiculous to pretend that “contagion” is a serious issue.

  28. says

    It’s not just because of “being gay” – everyone was bullied at some point in their life, for having a belief or simply out of jealously. You have to learn to deal with it, it’s part of life. People aren’t always going to like you, they will express that, and that’s that. Especially when you are in the minority, the majority will disapprove. As a vegan, a minority, I know this well. The ideal is to overcome it and move on, show those people that you’re stronger and unaffected by them, even doing better than them.

    I put more suspicions on the medications he was taking, if serotonin levels drop low enough, you’ll desperately want to kill yourself no matter what.

  29. Karrie says

    To Jack M. This is not the result of a Christian Society. A true Christian knows of the preachings of Jesus and would never treat one of His own children this way. I hate that this is such a big part of society now. We need to learn to live together and embrace everyone as our equals. Different isn’t bad! Different is what makes us beautiful. My heart to you Jamie. I would have loved you no matter what!!!

  30. Zell says

    No, Eugene, I don’t believe that it has nothing to do with homophobia. You’re right, the statistics say that gay men are more likely to commit suicide and there is definitely something to that. I do believe, however, that to take a case like this and say that bullying was 100% the cause and then to ignore all other factors that might be present is incorrect and, frankly, dangerous. Of course people commit suicide for their own specific reasons. But, as Occupyreality said, lots of people are bullied, lots of people go through bad times, and most people don’t commit suicide. There has to be something different about the ones who do, something that is present in them or their situations but not in other people (or vice versa).

    And I don’t agree that it’s ridiculous to pretend that contagion isn’t a serious issue. When we make heroes out of these kids, other people who are in the same painful position, as you say, are going to want to follow their example so that THEY can be tragic heroes, too, and everyone writes songs about them and feels sorry for them. That seems like common sense to me.

  31. Francis says

    I’m not going to address the shrill(s) by name, but when people within your own community use words like “mentally ill” or trivialize the death of teenagers by saying it’s just a “smattering” of them who are mentally ill, there really shouldn’t be any wonder why LGBT teens feel hopeless in many situations. In our own community we have people blaming the kids for their own death and saying it’s a result of problems they have, and not the situations around. Sort of highlights what these kids are dealing with. They feel like no-one understands them whatsoever.

    BTW, we need to stop looking at celebrities to do our dirty work. We need to stop criticizing each other. None of us are at fault for this. Doesn’t mean we can’t all do more. But ultimately, it’s a COLLECTIVE effort of people in these communities (and all communities) where bullying and homophobia is most prevalent to do their part to prevent situations like this occurring, both in the home, on the street and in the schools. Rome wasn’t built in a day but something can be done to make sure that these areas/schools/etc. aren’t as hostile towards gay youth as they are now.

  32. upsetter says

    Gay teen suicide is tragic but I’m not sure if we should all blame it on “bullying” since there seems to be disparity in group incidence. Most of the reported cases seems to be white males. Most minority gay teens have to face homophobia in their communities (church) and even at home….in addition to good ole racism and bullying from outside society. Yet documented report seem to indicate suicide rate is higher for white teens…many of whom come from a good home and middle-class background.

  33. Zell says

    Look, I’ll answer Francis since he’s clearly referring to me, at least in part. I think people here have a TERRIBLE association with the phrase “mentally ill.” I’m not dismissing their suffering, I’m trying to explain it in a way that can be dealt with realistically, as opposed to people who cry “bullying!” and cluck their tongues and say that “something” simply MUST be done. Does everyone think that people who are diagnosed with a mental illness are merely being written off as unredeemable? If so, you’re only revealing your own prejudice.

  34. says

    Well according to Zell “We will never stop bullying. NEVER. There is absolutely no way to change whatever it is about human nature that causes the weaker minds among us to prey on those perceived as weaker than them.”

    Kind of invitation on oyur part to “Take the gas pipe!” isn’t it Zell?

    After all these “weaker minds” need to be separated and cordoned off lest “contagion” set in. And we all know what “weaker” means — GAY.

    Internalized homophobia, your magic spell is everywhere. Right Zell?

  35. Bryce Ageno says

    Zell I think people have a problem with your original post because it was so black and white. These kids are obviously more susceptible to bullying. There is a reason why gay teens are more likely to attempt/commit suicide. We need to address the whole problem and not one aspect.

  36. cls says

    It is worrying to read he was prescribed anti-depressants. There has been a documented link, and a warning issues, that such medications often increase the risk of suicide. The FDA made such warnings and there are too many physicians who are ignoring them and prescribing psychoactive drugs to kids.

  37. Eugene says

    @Zell

    Have you actually read the post? Jamie had been taking medications. Someone clearly had explained his suffering “in a way that can be dealt with realistically” – and we know how it ended. So maybe the people who cry “bullying!” are actually right.

  38. Chuck Mielke says

    R. You make a great point. If I understand it, you imply that some of these suicides arise because of institutional homophobia that prevents children knowing about the homosexual community. You also imply the fault of institutional anti-intellectualism which fails to give teens the tools and confidence to develop objective means of understanding and evaluating their lives — they have no means for approximating this outside of public opinion, rumor, and stereotype.

  39. Bryce Ageno says

    I hate to martyr these children, but this should be a wake up call to the gay community. I do volunteer work at a youth shelter (25-40% LGBT youth) and I know of only 1 other LGBT person volunteering there on a regular basis. I am a fervent atheist, but the people I work with are mainly all religious. I hate to say it, but talk is cheap, get out there and do something!

  40. Rin says

    I would like to understand how a disorder like depression is being so highly critiqued as though it is an “insult”. Mental illness is no different than asthma. Why is everyone so angry with Zell for describing chemical depression, which is what this child had obviously if he was being medicated for it, as a mental illness.

    Quit demonizing mental disorders. That would be a starter in helping to prevent teen suicide. By accepting that in some people their genetic markers predispose them for a chronic disorder enables them to get the help that they require. It is dangerous to politicize what could be a medical issue. Dangerous and counter-productive.

    In the United States there are 75 million school-aged children attending public schools. Let’s say that the 1 in 10 ratio of gay to straight is applicable then that means that 7.5 million children in public schools are gay.

    If gay bullying is so pervasive that all gay children are affected enough to promote anti-bullying legislation than the proportionate numbers of suicide to the general population is less than 1% of all gay, bullied children commit suicide.

    This is directly proportional to national teen suicide averages in general, thus making it a mental health issue like Zell suggested.

    You can be suicidal and chemically depressed without killing yourself, and then be met with a “trigger” such as these two young men that puts you over the edge.

    Does that mean that the cause is the trigger, or is it a dopamine or seratonin deficiency?

    I’m not arguing that his death wasn’t directly related to his sadness over being bullied, nor am I arguing that chemical depression does not contribute to it.

    I’m stating that the issue is complex and I’m not at all certain that Zell should be met with such vitriol for suggesting that suicide as a public and mental health issue should be considered and addressed.

    I’m also stating that I think that being offended by mental illness is medieval thinking. Someone chemically depressed with a bipolar disorder or borderline disorder can no more help the fact that they have this disorder than someone can help orientation. It just ‘is’.

  41. Stephen says

    I am gay. I didn’t realize it in high school, even though others bullied me. Suicidal thoughts in teens and young adults isn’t just from high school. I was in college before I figured it out. My thoughts were that no one would ever love me, my parents would hate/disown/try to kill me, and that by admitting my sexuality to myself was my one way ticket to hell. I survived thanks to an observant friend (my parents had NO idea I was considering killing myself). She grabbed me one day, said she wanted to talk and we went to a place where we could be alone and no one would disturb us. She confronted me, held me and dried my tears. Don’t blame the parents. Just pay attention and listen.

  42. says

    I do not agree that publicizing these suicides is harmful. Drawing attention to this problem is what got the current national conversation going. And it was long overdue! Can we have forgotten so soon that SILENCE = DEATH?

    We’ve got to realize that it really doesn’t get better. What does an LGBT child, when he or she completes school, have to look forward to, especially one who is noticeably binary gender non-conforming? Second-class citizenship, housing and employment discrimination, legalized Bible bigotry, snide Gay and Transwoman jokes on late night TV, and other kinds of sex and gender-based abuse. We just exchange one form of persecution for another.

    Anti-Gay bullying exists in the schools because it exists in the society! Impotent campaigns like “it gets better” make us complacent with a hostile status quo. We’ve got to get serious about making this world safe for gender-neutral human beings of all ages. It’s time for an Occupy The Churches movement.

  43. Makes Sense says

    Imagine if you used a few hours a week to be a mentor or a big brother to a gay teen, instead of spending it at the gym or at happy hour. Then you wouldn’t feel the need to wonder where their role models are on a blog that does no good other than makes you feel like you did something.

    Bullies win only when people aren’t given the strength or confidence to defend themselves.

  44. John says

    Not publicizing these suicides is not ‘death’ – these media savvy teens understand they’ll be frontpage headlines. They know their videos will be watched and Lady Gaga will dedicate X song to them, they’ll be held up as heroes, etc.

    I believe we need to instead let our young people know that giving up on yourself is not an option. It is not acceptable, ever. It’s a selfish act and harms those around you far more than any bully’s actions ever could.

    THIS… is the message Lady Gaga and Andy should be broadcasting to the world: DON’T give up on yourself. It’s not acceptable. It won’t give you a platform.

  45. Eugene says

    @John

    These kids aren’t giving up on themselves. They’re giving up on the world – and, frankly, people like you are a good reason. You want them to suffer in silence because the alternative is “a selfish act” – as if you, John, are selfless.

  46. John says

    Yes, they’re giving up on the world because of people like me.

    You are just a professional victim, Eugene. You see tragedy and you want to blame everyone but the ‘victim’… he killed himself. Utterly tragic, but true. This young man, living in the most liberal and pro-gay country (marriage equality and all) in the world, explicitly aware of all the gay-positive media and informational campaigns, still decided to take end his own life.

    He gave up. For whatever reason or reasons, he couldn’t cope with his life.

  47. Zell says

    @Danny

    How is saying that suicide is a mental health issue “blaming the victim?” I’m certainly not suggesting that it’s the suicide victim’s “fault” that they have a mental illness. Do you blame people with clinical or chemical depression for their illness? If not, I really don’t see where you’re coming from.

  48. Eugene says

    @John
    “You are just a professional victim, Eugene.”

    Actually, that’s called empathy – something you clearly lack.
    Yes, Jamie lived in the most pro-gay country in the world. But he still was the only openly gay guy in his school – and he was bullied for it. But keep pretending that everything was fine and he was just a selfish bastard.

  49. John says

    You can commit a selfish act and not be a selfish person.

    But I’m sure most subtletly is lost on you, Eugene. Must be nice, the world drawn with crayons.

  50. JeffCA says

    Why can’t we rescue these kids? Airlift them out of their depressing and oppressive communities, to a gay boarding school in San Francisco? A Hogwarts or Professor Xavier’s school for young gays, a place where they could go TODAY and not have to wait until it gets better. The Geffen School?? The Trevor Academy for rescued young gays?

    This is fantasy thinking, but I wonder if there’s any possibility — if we could save at least a few, if we didn’t have to wait for some to become homeless before we rescue them with housing and school, if we didn’t have to wait for some of them to be disowned before sponsoring their education? What if they had a place to go right now, a concrete alternative to their small-town high school torment? A supportive school, place to live, gay peers, hope, and a future.

  51. says

    I was 24 when i came out to myself and to some guy on a crisis hotline. It was not about bullying for me it was about my perception of thinking everyone I knew and loved would hate me if they knew I was gay. Why? not because of drugs, but because of bullying from a hateful society in general. If I had been open and bullied I probably would have committed suicide! After that night and talking to the dude on the phone for about three hours, he gave me a phone number. I called that number the next day. The girl on the phone said, so, do you want to try and change or what. I told her I wanted to be happy and hung up.

    These kids are not going to kill themselves because they think they will receive some sort of celebrity status! That’s simplistic and frankly institutional book learning garbage. The ONLY thing these kids want is to be happy! The ONLY cure for that is acceptance, love and understanding!

    We are drugging our children way to much these days as though that is the answer. The answer is (as someone else suggested ‘sort of’ earlier) Someone with very deep pockets needs to say, if you are being bullied in your school, call this number and we will send someone to your school and investigate it, and we will TAKE ACTION if that means legal action against the bully, the school or even the bully’s parents. We will be there for you NOW!!!!!!!!

    And Andy, please do continue reporting on this pathetic problem we have with HATE and allowing those who hate to pick on others. My only suggestion would be to include a crisis hotline number at the top of each of these disturbing news stories, for any young person who is feeling like it is the only answer for them. You are at least offering them hope. But the stories need to be told!

  52. anon says

    So much for Canada for being a gay utopia, free from Christian bullying. Anyway, the problem of the clarity of an anecdote within a statistical fog will never go away. A single case will not explain all cases. You can’t extend any one case to represent all others. In this case, clinical depression led to a suicide. It should be understood that teenage clinical depression is extremely hard to treat because the undeveloped brain areas do not respond to the medicines designed for adults. Also, several classes of anti-depressants will increase the risk of suicide because they remove the fear of death from the equation rather than fixing the underlying desire to die. It’s often the case that finding the right combination of medications can take years, which is another reason it generally works better with middle-aged adults and less so with teens or the elderly, the two populations most at risk. Also, anti-depressants are largely a “sales magnate” drug, sold primarily to the mildly depressed (think Valium). Treating clinical depression is much harder. Currently the best treatment options are no better than rigorous exercise. Shock treatments also provide temporary relief but they have bad side effects. Sunshine also seems to help. You also can’t use another suicide to decide what happened here. It would be like saying if in one murder the husband killed his wife then every female victim was killed by their husbands/boyfriends. While this is likely, it ain’t always so. As to the Werther effect, it’s mostly unproven or highly anecdotal, but the real danger is the overreaction to any particular case without knowing the facts. This is why the Ty Clementi case is going to flop.

  53. Rick says

    Notice how all the kids that kill themselves are fans of Lady Gaga and other “divas.” Further evidence that the lack of a male/masculine identity is the cause of their misery and despair.

    The culture of effeminacy is indeed deadly, in all kinds of ways, which is why it needs to be eradicated completely.

  54. Bryce Ageno says

    Rick, non-fem gays consider suicide too. Even kids who aren’t bullied for being gay. These thoughts stem from self hatred and you/people like you just make it worse.

  55. Wendy says

    I cried reading this.

    I felt like this everyday during highschool. how people could be so mean is beyond me.

    I wish I had been there for you. I wish all the people around you had been there for you. I wish you had seen the ones who were.

    I’m sorry we failed you.

  56. Rin says

    @Eugene

    nor am I discounting bullying as a factor. My mind is not “made up with hospital corners” as one poster suggested.

    I’m saying that 99% of gay teens–teens in general are not suicidal and/or clinically depressed. This young man was on medication for clinical depression in his own words.

    When dealing with dangerous disorders like drug addiction or depression, therapists ask them to define “triggers” for their negative feelings and/or behavior. In this case, anti-gay bullying was his “trigger”. Another child who did not have clinical depression would have had the same trigger, but told the kids to eff off or flip them the bird.

    It is important not to dismiss true mental illness as teen angst or a case of the sads brought on by bullies or loss of relationships etc. in order to prevent teen suicide.

    See I see this as a parent. I would want my child to be diagnosed correctly and given a real plan of treatment. It is my job to know those triggers and remove him or her from a situation where those triggers may arise.

    In this case a clinically-depressed teen on medication was allowed to continue schooling in a place where he felt threatened or abused. That is a recipe for disaster.

    These kids aren’t weak its not “lady gaga” its not female friends its not bullies. It is clinical depression being triggered into suicidal empathy by mean-spirited bullies.
    He needed real help so that he would have the life skills to deal with his triggers.

    The fact is that in the grownup world not everyone will be kind or like you or treat you well. If fear and intimidation killed everyone then there would be no refugee camps filled with live people. Inner city ghettos would have bodies strewn everywhere.

    Teachers, counselors, and parents need to be made aware of the signs of clinical depression and stage a medical and social intervention. These kids need help no differently than a diabetic needs insulin and they also need to be protected from those triggers that could propel them into self-harm.

    So in short: I think it is a combination of clinical depression and bullying that drove this poor child to suicide. BOTH elements could have been addressed in such a way as to prevent this tragedy from happening.

  57. says

    I hate reading stories such as this because it’s a constant reminder of just how heartless this world and many of the people living in it are. It’s incredibly depressing to know that. even more depressing is the fact it doesn’t look to change anytime soon :'(

  58. katie says

    This is awful, yet another beautiful creation who could have made a diff. in the world taken by their own hand by being left to feel “stuck”. As for the bullying, it starts in the homes.. kids see how their parents (more commonly fathers than mothers) react to gays, and they move on with their thoughts upon it. I am currently in college, my major is elementary education, I know it is a long shot as of right now but I think that kids should be educated young about gay people, about how they are normal people with feelings just like you and I, that there is NOTHING wrong with them and they should not be seen as diff. in any way shape or form! The schools should step up and do this because parents are not doing this on their own!! SOMETHING HAS TO STOP THIS!!!

  59. Fred says

    Our community is failing these kids. How many more kids will end their lives before our community rises up and says enough.

    I say the time is here – and we should call out Michelle and Marcus Bachmann (and others) on their disgusting attitude and behavior toward GLBT. A defamation of character lawsuit filed by GLBT folks would be appropriate – anyone agree?

  60. walter says

    it is time to start holding the parents of these bullies responsible for the action of their children. maybe if they were better and more understanding parents their kids wouldn’t be bullies. these so called religious nut jobs don’t the first thing about their religion. hate was not a teaching of christ just man.

  61. Drew Morris says

    “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.”

    That was uncalled for.

  62. ratbastard says

    It is worrying to read he was prescribed anti-depressants. There has been a documented link, and a warning issues, that such medications often increase the risk of suicide. The FDA made such warnings and there are too many physicians who are ignoring them and prescribing psychoactive drugs to kids.

    Posted by: cls | Oct 17, 2011 1:08:48 PM

    ==========

    this. +1

  63. Stephen Tropiano says

    THE TREVOR LIFELINE
    24 hours/7 days a week hotline for LGBTQ youth
    866-4-U-TREVOR (866-488-7386)
    It’s free and confidential.
    Keep spreading the word!

  64. Ashley says

    This is soo sad. My heart goes out to him, his family and his friends! Why must you bully someone just because they are different. When will we relize we all have hearts that beat, and lungs that breath! we all have feelings, some people just dont understand the struggle of the gay community and how hard they really have it. My cousin is openly gay and we cant go any were with out someone telling us that he is gonna go to Hell and that what he is doing is wrong and Disrespectful. Its not disrespectfull for being yourself!!!!

  65. Emily says

    I don’t even see the purpose of pointing out that these teens have a mental disorder as if that fact somehow makes the bullying less lethal. People with mental health afflictions are much more likely to live through them in a supportive, accepting community. Depression is a combination of internal and external factors, so of course kids who are being ridiculed and ostracized are bigger suicide risks. It is completely fair to blame bullying for their deaths because even if it is not the sole factor, it is a major one that likely pushed them over the edge.

  66. Swiffer says

    It’s sad to see another obviously troubled teen, regardless of the circumstances. “The medicine isn’t working” indicates he was already undergoing some kind of treatment. Do people realize how dangerous psychotropic medications can be for under-aged kids? We need to put people in a positive environment where they can succeed, and help them learn the things (coping strategies) to get through tough times. I think access to mental health treatment is still something incredibly lacking in our modern society.

  67. KimChi says

    Wow, that just sad.

    No kid should ever deserve this, gay or not. Teenagers should be able to live out there life and full potential. No child should deserved to be bully, or any LGBT person.

    Just because the bible said that gay is a sin doesn’t mean we have to follow the bible way of life. Sure maybe that whats most christens would want to do. But really? Do you really think that living the bible ways will be good for everyone? Its not like these kids asked to live this lifestyle. Its how it is.

    If god really created us, than you would think he created gay people too and that he loves them the same way he love non gay people. But who knows, no one ever going to see it that way since there follow a book.

    I don’t see any christens attacking atheist people and seeing reports about them killing themselves because they got bullied because they don’t believe in god. So why attack the gays when they didn’t do anything wrong to you but try to live out today and try to fit in with everyone without all causing trouble because there gay and to actually step out of there house without being scared for once.

    This bullies needs to stop. But obvious its not going to happen because of how society is since they think being a bully is alright and cool. What happen to ‘All men are created equal’ from the Declaration of Independence. You would think LGBT has the same rights as we do too but they don’t since maybe most of the whole country forgot about that.

    Seriously, bulling needs to come to end before all the LGBT start to commit suicide and it becomes too late to save them.

  68. Kelli Rossi-Benjamin says

    Thank-you for this site….I am Jamies’s Cousin. He was amazing, funny, talented,and so full of love. I told him so many times how special he was and hugged him close not too long before he died. People are cruel and ignorant at schools and we need to stop the ridicule children face in society for being who they are inside and out.
    Your site is awesome and again I thank-you for giving Jamie a ;place’ to feel loved.
    He is singing with the Angels. xo

  69. James C says

    This young man was also a figure skater. One of the sad absences from the It Gets Better movement, especially in the face of contributions from MLB, the NFL, NBA, NHL etc., has been the utter lack of participation by the figure skating establishment. Please contact the USFSA and Skate Canada as well as individual skaters via twitter and encourage them to act.

  70. Pride Entertainment Online says

    A few people on here have implied, if not stated outright that those who committed suicide are trying to attempt “notoriety” or becoming “a super star in the media.”

    I can’t, nor will I, believe that is the case. These kids have reached a point where it, to them, DOESN’T get better. I think that kids who are feeling frustrated and wishing they were dead need to be outreached to. They need to be shown that there are people who will listen, that they can relate to. Online there are so many websites and organizational groups that they can access. In many areae there are community centers. Even in the suburbs. Most importantly, some of these political candidates Cain, Bachman, Romney, Perry need to stop espousing that heterosexuality is the only healthy way of life. There are millions of well-adjusted gay men & women who live and lead by example.

    Politicians need to end laws that are societally destructive. {IE: DOMA}; and enact laws that nationally protect people from hatred{hate crimes legislation}

  71. Larry says

    I always knew as a teen I was homosexual but back then there was no real “coming out”. The majority of us hid our sexuality as best we could. There was some bullying and name calling. I came out when I was 19 and I am 61 now. I feel guilty as my generation has made it easier for some teens to come out. Somehow I feel that being “out” and standing up for themselves has brought some of them to a hell that my generation created for them through our encouragement. Inspite of this all, I still try to maintain that being true to oneself will prevail, eventually.

  72. Nick says

    Sorry, no symphathy for someone who is so cavalier about taking his own life. I get that he’s upset/tormented/depressed, but seriously, I’ve seen less smiley faces in an AIM chatroom

  73. FRANK says

    You idiots who are piling on and tormenting and namecalling this poor kid EVEN AFTER HIS DEATH are literally pissing on his grave and are no better than his bulliers who pursued him in life. You all should take a long look at your own problems and neuroses and fears and phobias before judging ANYONE else.

  74. Jusey1 says

    I actually tried to kill myself once because of bullying but the belt I was using broke on me.

    I’m normal; I have no diseases or illnesses. It’s just the fact that bullies makes you feel “Hated, Useless, Miserable” etc. And when you do try something, you seem to get into trouble.

    Also, in some cases, the teachers maybe the bullies and actually help the kids bullying the victim!

    Like myself, when I try to fight back, I get into trouble. Now-a-days, I learn to ignore everything around me and this can be a bad thing for myself.

    Now, about the whole ‘Gay’ thing. From what I’ve seen, TV shows and movies supports the bullies by encouraging them to have hatred toward people who are gay. But, I’ve noticed that the Game Companies are supporting gays. I guess Gamers are nicer then actors?

    Personally, I believe that they should count bullying as a form of an assault and should be punished if one commits it.

    I think that is all I’ll say for now. I wont be back so don’t expect me to reply to anything.

  75. matt says

    My heart goes out to the family. This should never have happened. I hope Jamie is singing in heaven and is happy making new friends and loved ones. Society has to stop allowing this to happen. If anyone thinks being gay is a choice they really need to go back to their caves. Parents don’t pass your bigotry onto your kids. It makes me sad to be a human when I hear stories like this, what is wrong with people.

  76. Matt says

    Tyler Harris bisexual guy who posted a distressed comment thinking of suicide. Bud it will get better I promise. Please stop having suicidal thoughts. Kids are so cruel. They will pick on everyone. Thats why 1st graders always raise thier hands in class and older kids dont. Because older kids have all been laughed at. Please talk to whoever you trust and feel better about yourself. The world so needs you bud. Stay strong. Think of your special gifts and talents. I promise you have an incredible life ahead. In the big cities gay people are so appreciated. You will be an adult and will do your own thing soon. Smile, try to get a puppy or a pet to give you unconditional love. Stay strong bud the world needs you.

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