Comments

  1. AllBeefPatty says

    Yes. Every child needs a mother and father so they can get an equal opportunity, gender-neutral beating.

    Extremist christians….indeed!

    Nasty pieces of garbage.

  2. says

    This is so profoundly sad. When will these bright, beautiful, loving, vital youths stop killing themselves!

    It DOES get better, but we all have got to keep telling those who are beaten, battered and hopeless that they are worth it; life is worth it!

    Rest in peace, EricJames.

  3. candideinnc says

    Family support is the most important stabilizing factor in young people’s mental health. This is why the judgmental forces of religion are so evil. They tear apart loving families in the name of some Holy Book written centuries ago by superstitious twits. When will the churches begin to recognize the harm they do by instilling this ugly bigotry in their followers? They are the villains of this piece.

  4. Dastius Krazitauc says

    Candideinnc, you’re right, his parents are the villains. Laura McGinnis is a better person than I am, in saying her heart goes out to his family. They abused him, disowned him and drove him to his death. My heart goes out to his friends, not his family.

  5. bandanajack says

    as i sit here questioning how this can continue when we are reaching these youths at some level. how can we help it to sink in, to beco0me a reality rather than a fairy tale. the only thing i can come up with while wracking my brain is that despite the reparative element, the support comes too late, and it seems entirely likely that the absent the ongoing abuse by the parents, PTSD or something like it is the culprit. children of abusive families often experience PTSD, as do battered wives. perhaps we and those who are trying to help are mistakenly putting children who are too damaged and haven’t had sufficient time and counseling to integrate that positive message out there on the front lines, even though they may be eager to do so.

    it seems to me that at least a couple of years of counseling and at least that long of loving support would be required to sufficiently heal emotionally to start challenging the training of the immediate family in a public forum.

    i hate to say it, but for those so traumatized, going public to soon may be damaging to each pf them, but even more so to those who look up to them as beacons of hope.

    i know that i find it spirit crushing, i can’t begin to imagine the affect on peers.

  6. Greg says

    Christ shed tears over the sorrowful and again they are being shed over EricJames’ death. Mine are shed for his inhumane treatment and suicide. Know that your memory is loved.

  7. just_a_guy says

    It doesn’t just “get better.”

    It ONLY gets better if we change things.

    To change things takes millions of folks of all orientations standing up for themselves and their rights–and their own worth–on their own f***ing terms.

    F*** the “it gets better project.”

    Saying everything’s fine, cuz just grow up and “it gets better” is a HORRID and HAUGHTY lie.

    The “it gets better” project has a potentially fatal flaw: It affirms the status quo. It affirms gay people FOCUSING simply on HOW SUPPOSEDLY it is ALREADY better. Thing is, IT’S NOT.

    It gets better if you stand up for yourself, demand the respect you deserve–and do so even if you spend your LIFE (til ur 105 years old or so) doing so.

    And only then, if the majority straight community and politics of the moment don’t give undue power to the far-right HATER-powers, it MIGHT get better for the next generation.

    Reality:
    –virtually all political power is controlled by two major parties–which is fine, except that the Republican party OPERATES as a gay-hate machine, and the Democrat party plays the middle in hopes of appeasing those who hate gay people.

    Things will get better when they do.

    In the meantime, maybe a kid like this one would have been better off saying an APPROPRIATE f*** you to the powers that be…but privately, on his own terms. As it is, the videos maybe just gave power and legitimacy to the hater elements by setting it up like THIS ONE KID had to take on the world BY HIMSELF???

    Kinda ain’t right, y’all.

    Stop naively SAYING “it gets better.” Do more fighting like He** to MAKE it better.

  8. Mickey says

    Sadly this is the result of organized religion. Teaching GLBT children from their own earliest memories that gays are hell bound anyway negates their own teaching on suicide. These teaching engrained in your mind and reinforced by those who supposedly love you unconditionally are sometimes impossible to overcome. Organized religion is given a free pass for tormenting these kids and all the rest of us hidden behind their freedoms of religion and speech.

    They do not care and will never own the blood of innocents that can be directly linked to these hateful, harmful and spirit destroying messages taught everyday. Since the choice for these kids is an apparent lifetime of pain, hate and discrimination verses a quick release from it all what is there really to look forward to because in the end hell is what they are taught awaits them anyway?

    Until we can do more than just a simple slogan this will continue like it has for years on end. We only see it now more clearly because of the 24 hour news cycle. Kids are still forced into pews and this message is programmed from birth and I do not see anything that can ever stop it because these killers have all the power and the shield of protections granted to them from our very government.

  9. princely54 says

    @Bananajack, I agree and think you hit on something that describes exactly what I was thinking:

    ‘it seems to me that at least a couple of years of counseling and at least that long of loving support would be required to sufficiently heal emotionally to start challenging the training of the immediate family in a public forum.

    i hate to say it, but for those so traumatized, going public to soon may be damaging to each pf them, but even more so to those who look up to them as beacons of hope.’

    It’s hard to accept that his act of going public saying ‘it gets better’ and then succumbing to the abuse and taking his life will send a dangerous mixed message. I am NOT blaming Eric James for his decision as I am positive he came to the program to ONLY help others. But, like all of us, he was only human and probably didn’t even realize how much he was suffering with PTSD. Mental health in this country, for all of the lip service, is still a mystery to most people and states like PTSD are not well acknowledged or known. It’s not just soldiers that get it coming back from combat — ANY human who faces the kind of long term abuse like Eric James did can easily suffer from it.

    I hope kids who do go the Trevor Project get the message that what Eric James did is NOT inevitable and that he was trying to get help along with helping them. It’s just that sometimes we think we’re treading water right up until the time we realize we’re drowning.

  10. George says

    It may be that It Gets Better is helping some kids, but it obviously is failing spectacularly with others. This is the second kid to have killed himself AFTER doing an It Gets Better video. They need personal interaction with a support network. That doesn’t mean interacting with an organization, like this kid’s internship. It means interacting with supportive individuals who are willing to listen to them at 2 or 3 am and to take the time to get to know them and understand their problems. I, for one, would be willing to volunteer to do that but I am unaware of any group that is attempting to make that happen.

  11. says

    Astoundingly heartbreaking. His IGB video is haunting insomuch that you can see the desperation in his eyes. It’s as if he wanted to believe in the words he was reading but realized that, for himself, the words were merely just that. If he only believed in his own words…this beautiful boy could have – would have – flourished. Another senseless tragedy.

  12. just_a_guy says

    So I know slogans are just slogans, but maybe “IT’S WORTH IT” is a better message than a false “It gets better.”

    It’s WORTH IT to grow up, live on your own terms, figure yourself out, and be true to yourself—all while saying f** you to the hate that CHURCHES and SCHOOLS TAUGHT you. It’s not easy, and it might take sometimes not being overly loud and proud all the time–soley for your own self-protection, til you are stronger.

    Also, sad reality: I think in my lifetime, it has actually gotten WORSE, not better:

    The immoral “moral majority” has pushed hate in the public schools and religion at a more visible level than ever. And those haters TRULY BELIEVE they are right. Just like those “National Socialist” folks TRULY BELIEVED that Jews were inferior and deserved to be suppressed and exterminated.

    But maybe we shouldn’t be asking these young kids to fight the battle FOR US. They need to fight THEIR OWN battles. And each individual is unique. Their lives are not JUST about gay rights. They need to make it in the world, build a skill set, support themselves to the point that they are ready for love and family (dad, dad, and kid or two) of their own.

    It’s a bit wrong to send a child into battle without armor and strength, skill, etc. and all the seasoning that it takes to truly WIN.

    Don’t get me wrong: The people in this kid’s lives who treated him like SH** because they believed he was inferior KILLED HIM.

    And yes, he fought hard for a good cause which was noble and correct. BUT HIS LIFE WAS WORTH MORE TO THE WORLD THAN DYING SO YOUNG!!!!

    He was worth MORE than dying as the faggot Rick Santorum sees him as.

    We need to arm kids like this better. And maybe we need to not push them to battle so QUICKLY. He wasn’t ready.

    It takes a lot of psychological strength to stand up to all the hate in the world.

    Kids, it gets better when you are stronger cuz you’ve worked your a** off and MADE yourself stronger, and are READY to stand up to all that hate PUBLICLY. RUSHING it is self-defeating if you haven’t got yourself STRONG ENOUGH to fight it yet.

    Religious-conservative parents, administrators, and peers CANNOT BE TRUSTED. Build your own independent strength…and fight in ways that take less psychological strength than public pronouncements until you are READY to take all of that on more publicly.

    I’m not advocating for telling kids to go back in the closet or to not come out. But maybe kids should be careful to NOT TOO QUICKLY COME OUT SUPER-PUBLICLY because they need to build up themselves a lot more before going out and so PUBLICLY taking on the hate of their enemies.

    Strength, y’all. THIS kid was not yet strong enough to wage this public fight. He needed to build his PRIVATE self first. Now, some kids ARE ready, but THIS kid wasn’t.

    Think of the WORTH that this kid could’ve brought the world.

    F***NG sad. This kids death was a casulty of the far-right’s anti-gay violence.

    I suspect he fought so PUBLICLY because he saw so little ELSE to fight for in his life…because the AS**OLE “mentors” in his life didn’t believe in his worth otherwise.

    Let this be a lesson to those of us who ARE established in our lives, and ARE strong enough to fight for what is right more openly or aggressively: Could we have fought harder? Smarter? In a way that could help kids like this?

    One thought regarding our efforts:

    WHY ARE WE NOT FIGHTING HARDER IN TENNESSEE?!!

    Tennessee is the EPICENTER of legislated gay-hate in classrooms right now, right?? Folks like my parents and some of my straight peers who hate gays so much that they deny their EXISTENCE see Tennessee as a step towards their imagined “final solution.”

    I say we need to fight harder in places like Tennessee! The haters are destroying kids like this one, and we need to fight them at the spots of their most egregious assaults…I think right now most exemplified in Tennessee.

    Yeah, the far-right has done its best to elminiate the middle class, to make it harder for folks without supportive families to make a go of it in the world. Things ARE NOT BETTER. They are tougher. We need to be tougher. Heck, I’m in my thirties now and still establishing myself. It’s different for different people, but those who ARE established and strong maybe need to reevaluate their priorities…

    Sorry if some of these thoughts could be better organized, but this stuff really disturbs me.

  13. anon says

    As I’ve stated before, the It’s Gets Better campaign will make no difference to clinically depressed teens. If it were that easy to cure then depression would be long gone. Depression causes people to dwell on the negative regardless of their external circumstances. What we would really need is for all teens to get professional counseling to see if they are depressed. This could be done in schools.

  14. just_a_guy says

    btw, I haven’t watched this kid’s video(s). I can’t bring myself to. It’s too sad and heartbreaking. I already know what they are about. I don’t need to watch them, don’t want to put myself through all that heartache.

    But am I wrong that this sort of thing calls for a STRATEGY CHANGE???!!

  15. Caliban says

    Obviously the It Gets Better Project isn’t enough but I think it’s a mistake to blame the project itself. It can only do so much. It’s like sending out messages in bottles, hoping the right people find them and that it helps.

    I can even understand WHY some of the young people who have made them did so even though they hadn’t really reached a place where it WAS better for them. They wanted to believe that things WERE better for them, so they said it was hoping that would make it true. Really, it’s probably a mistake for teenagers to make those videos in the first place because they don’t have enough perspective yet, they’re still in the middle of it and haven’t experience it getting better yet. Maybe they should be called something else, The Hope For A Better Future Project or something, so they’re not putting a false happy face as a front to cover serious issues.

    And so far as the religion thing goes, I just don’t understand. I don’t. How can you reject your own family, your own blood, in favor of an ancient book written by heat-addled nomads who couldn’t find their way out of the frigging desert?! Eff them and the “savior” they rode in on!

  16. TJ says

    Saw this yesterday; figured I’d see it here today.

    It does get better, but it takes time. So many wise people above have mentioned PTSD, the need for therapy, the need for a friend at three AM. This poor young man experienced years of abuse and rejection; it takes time to balance the scales. “Better” is not a destination, it’s a journey, with many helping hands along the way.

    What I fear is the message sent by those who make these “it Gets Better” videos who then get publicity when they, sadly, give up trying. I don’t point fingers at those who felt that they couldn’t take it anymore, because they felt pain many others don’t understand. They didn’t know what they didn’t know, and weren’t really ready for. But when young people who are struggling and who have yet to gain experience and perspective hear of these suicides of people who put a face and a story of hope out there, what does this do to their belief in hope?

    A factor of suicide risk is knowing someone who has committed suicide. Young people connect with each other through media. For them, it is normal to form friendships/relationships without ever actually meeting /physically interacting with people. And how many of us older folk have been moved, have empathized, when watching these videos? For those of us who are farther along on the journey, who have strength and a history to balance out the bad, we are better able to process the loss than are these young people.

    I don’t have answers, but I think the question now needs to be, how do we facilitate getting better? Because just saying it isn’t enough in the face of evidence that shows these kids, “No, it doesn’t.”

  17. TJ says

    JUST A GUY – no need to apologize. Your passion is appropriate. And you are feeling this loss in an appropriate way – anger at the injustice. Anger is a terrific, underrated emotion. It can be very compelling, and impelling. Let us all find a way to use our anger constructively to actively MAKE it better, rather than send the more passive message of it “gets” better.

  18. Rick says

    Maybe the problem is that, once they have escaped from their homophobic environment, what they find around them in gay life does not give them much hope that it really does “get better.” Maybe the real problem is a gay culture that does not seem very appealing to them and is a tremendous letdown after having had their hopes raised so high.

    I see no other way to explain this, really.

  19. says

    More proof that Dan Savage’s overhyped “It Gets Better” Project does nothing to prevent suicides among LGBT youth! Borges’s death does not reflect well on the Trevor Project, either. Not long ago, TP director David McFarland wrote an Advocate op-ed claiming that talking about Gay suicides causes Gay kids to kill themselves. Imbecile! I wonder what he’s got to say about this tragedy?

  20. TJ says

    OF COURSE, RICK, you see no other way to explain this. BECAUSE YOU ARE AN EFFIN’ IDIOT who sees everything through the prism of your tragically narrow ideology and world view.

    >see how someone one has never met can have such an impact and create so much bad feeling? Time to step away from the iPad, and (p)RICK<

  21. Caliban says

    Stuffed Animal, there actually IS research that shows suicide can be “contagious.” Lavishing attention on and mooning about the tragic loss of someone who committed suicide can give other young people the wrong idea, that the way to finally be seen and appreciated is to kill yourself.

    It’s a delicate balance because these suicides DO need to be talked about, their cause and possible ways to combat them discussed, but it has to be done in such a way that doesn’t romanticize those who took their own lives.

    I truly hope this boy’s parents are experiencing the torments of Hell right now, a Hell of their own making, because their “faith” and their actions directly caused this.

  22. says

    It DOES get better, but I agree with Just A Guy. LGBT kids need a lot more than just a slogan-they need an actual support network. For example; I came out to my family when I was 25, but I didn’t really “come out” until I got sober. Say what you will about the 12 Step programs, but they DO offer a support network of people who will answer the phone at 3AM. It’s not enough to say “It gets better”. We have to MAKE it better, and give these kids what they are so sorely lacking in their families. Support. Thing is, HOW to do it?

  23. uffda says

    Isn’t there a hotline distressed LGBT people can call? If they did so could there be a place for them to go, new place to live where they can sort things out in a positive atmosphere? Are there people willing to provide this who can be referenced through a/the hotline?
    It can only get better if a struggling young person can GET OUT of the situation he or she is in without having to live on the street. Practical measures are needed.

  24. ScottyNorq says

    I am from the central valley of California about 30 minutes from Visalia. The central valley is not the place to grow up gay. I did not have the courage to come out as a teenager because of this and waited until I went off to graduate school in a different state. My heart goes out to the loved ones in his life.

  25. Linda says

    I’m not sure anything could have saved this precious boy from the damage done by being brought up by parents who shattered him emotionally. Ethics founded on religion are a vestige of savagery and should have been thrown out with human sacrifice and watching people die in the Colosseum as entertainment.

  26. says

    you know, folks, there’s nothing stopping any of YOU from making videos that detail HOW to make your life better.

    truly. i don’t get the complaining about the It Gets Better campaign.

    rather than whining that people aren’t giving the “right” messages, get off your ass and make your own video where you say what you feel needs to be said. that’s the beauty of the campaign – anyone and everyone can make a video with a message of hope and guidance.

    so, what’s stopping you from doing it? it would take precious time away from complaining about things?

    *snore*

  27. Jeff R. says

    Let’s perform an exorcism on the PARENTS! Get the name of that FUCKIN’ teacher that stood by and did NOTHING while Eric was physically and verbally assaulted, and the name(s) of the students that tortured Eric thoughout his life. A HUGE billboard, with Eric’s sweet face, right in front of the school as a constant reminder to this school’s administration for doing NOTHING! It “Gets BETTER?!?” Hardly. Rest Eric. I’m so sad.

  28. TJ says

    KIWI – suicide can be a rather impulsive act with permanent consequences. Living a happy life takes not only encouragement, but experience, and time to know for oneself that things can, are, and will be different. Videos may be enough to inspire in the moment. The work and support to facilitate “better” takes more, in my opinion, than just a video.

  29. RoBBin says

    Knowing that EricJames took his life makes his “It Gets Better” video haughtingly heartbreaking. One can not miss the devastation in his eyes as he recalls his history. “Invisible Creatures” has a beautiful message….love is love. I’m sorry that his parents are so misguided that they missed that point. I keep trying to understand the idea that a parent can hate their child for being gay. The home should be a safe haven for a kid, not another place where hate can smack them in the face. RIP Eric…you deserve peace.

  30. AJ says

    “It gets better” is…inaccurate and inadequate. It gets easier to deal with the hate because to some degree you get used to it. It gets easier to deal with society as a whole because you learn how to avoid the haters, and because as you get older you have more choice in who you spend your time with. It gets easier to keep wearing the straight mask in many situations because you’ve gotten practiced at it. But it will never be easy to be LGBT until more of the hate and unintended cruelty aimed at LGBT people drops dramatically. These “it gets better” videos hold up hope for a brief moment until reality sets in again, and lifting someone’s spirits briefly means their spirits can fall even farther the next time that happens. People need to be teaching coping skills, conflict resolution skills, awareness, responses to hate speech, and the like — not just implying that it gets better somehow, without giving a clue how to *make* it get better.

  31. says

    This is so sad. I’m sick of hearing these tragic stories.

    I’ve also wondered what is the legal view on throwing your gay minor child out of the house. Are parents breaking the law when they do this? Can they be penalized? I realize the kid in question was 18, but I doubt the abuse started on his 18th birthday. This kid must have grown up in Hell.

    Does the law view exorcism of gay or lesbian-identified children as abuse? If it doesn’t It damn well should. This poor boys disgusting family should be up on charges for mental torture and driving him to suicide.

    Do we need a specific law banning psychological torture by parents? I hear all these horror stories, but never anything about the parents getting into trouble.

    These horror stories about parents behaving in this way have to stop. If parents are psychologically abusing a gay child, can the child call “Child Protective Services?”

  32. Kerry says

    This is so sad. This boy’s story really gets to me. His parents should have never performed an exorism on him. I am christ follower not your typical Christian. I believe in my heart God made more than one sexual orientation and that he made each one beautiful in it’s own special way. This boy was only 19. He had his whole life ahead of him. I know he was in pain and I know he must have felt this was the only way out but there are true Christians like me who believe everyone is beautiful….Brian was beautiful. He was making a difference. He was helping people and he is in Heaven. This just really makes me cry. Pain is hard to get through but it’s possible. He was so special this truly is a tragedy.

  33. uffda says

    Little Kiwi. That was an excellent and creative suggestion. It’s the next logical step. You are emminently qualified to create such a supportive video and many of us would love to see you do it. Go ahead, I think you could upstage the whole “Better” issue and set an example at the same time.

  34. classychazy says

    How sad this young man felt this was the only way out, but as a person who suffers from depression I know what it feels like to believe your all alone in the world. I wish they had better more understanding school counslers at schools who could point these kids to a good psychologist or Therapist. That would help these kids even when their idiot evil parents turn their back on them. I hope he has found the peace and acceptance he desperately was trying to find.

  35. TJ says

    CLASSYCHAZY – as someone who has worked as as school counselor, I appreciate your advice. I also know about session limits due to budget constraints, and the limitations on referrals to outside therapists if the client has no insurance. “Better” takes time. There is only so much that one can do ethically, and practically. Peer counseling is helpful, to a degree (lord, the rape victims I have seen who have gone to peer counseling, only to be told some version of “Well, you shouldn’t have… ” As I continue to posit, “Better” takes time. So how do we support people in the midst of the struggle? Three sessions and you’re on your own? Believing in hope takes more than just being told to do so.

  36. GTMSJ says

    The TP is only one step in a very long process. Connecting young people with mentors, who are supportive listeners will go a long way toward showing them “how” it gets better. As an earlier poster noted, “Better” is a journey; perhaps, as a community, LGBTs could step up to the plate and make ourselves available to guide a young person’s life through the tumult that arises from the process of becoming an actualized adult. Showing them that the road won’t (always) be easy, but supporting them on that journey will go a long way towards helping them survive it. We know that life isn’t fair, let’s teach the younger generation to not only get through it, but to thrive in spite of it.

  37. says

    UFFDA, already did it. I’ve made a few, actually.
    youtube.com/MOKandRIFF

    the It gets Better campaign is what you make of it. and it’s thus very easy for those of us who have a specific and applicable message of positive action to post a video ABOUT those specific positive actions.

    so, to all those who think it’s a bad campaign, you don’t have to “let it” be a bad one…you can easily make a video of yourself where you share the steps to making a better life that you feel other videos are not doing.

    and for what it’s worth, with me totally oversharing, i was one of those young people who tried to take his life at age 11. why? i had no hope that life would ever get better. truly. the early 90s? the sea of fag jokes in film and tv, no presence, no visibility for children? that’s where i was.

    it seems some people think that the campaign is ‘bad’ because “it’s not enough” – well, nobody said it was the cure, nor that it was the ONLY thing to do. simply one of MANY things people should be doing.
    you can’t hate the campaign. you can only hate yourself for not doing more.

  38. TJ says

    KIWI – Thanks for expanding on your position. I hope I didn’t come across as saying “It Gets Better” videos are of no value. I think that they can be very inspirational. But after inspiration comes action, and practice, and living the life enough to believe it. I think the idea of in-person mentoring is great. Also, for those who are really struggling, competent, long-term support through counseling.

    One of my frustrations in my two experiences counseling at universities was the failure of LGBT support groups to start – not enough participants. Individual counseling was always limited, and groups are seen as “cost effective” (as well as sometimes pretty amazing and effective therapeutic experiences). But the “out and proud” students didn’t think they needed support (other than through “Pride” groups), and the others – some who could really use and benefit from counseling – were very reluctant to come forward and join a group.

    Anyway. In the spirit of over-sharing, let me just say that I am very glad you are still with us, and fighting the good fight.

  39. uffda says

    Kiwi…it’s true that you’ve done more and I’m glad I asked so that you could reference your videos which are energetic, funny, both sweet and sour, though largely positive and affirming, especially the one referencing the Mordan book How Long Has This Been Going On, and of course the Brother-Boyfriend card was apex chaming.

    Personally – don’t be offended if you can keep from it – being gay is so far from my larger self or self-image that I could never immerse myself in it as you have. So far IT is actually your dominate calling and while my sarcastic self want’s to call you a one trick pony that would be as out of line as to call a full time parent the same.

    If we don’t all actually follow your lead you must know that we think about it, we are more awakened by you, that you must continue your public persona, and that it may well lead to something very big for you and for your cause. Of course it will.

  40. says

    well, if anyone “shouldn’t” care about the LGBT Movement it would be me. i mean, i came out in highschool toa wholly-accepting family that didn’t ever give me one ounce of grief about it, who met my first boyfriend with open arms and invited him to my highschool graduation. my mum’s the president of PFLAG Toronto, my dad wears his rainbow bracelets of support every day, my entire united church congregation supported me when i came out…frankly, i’m one of the ones who shouldn’t care about LGBT issues….my post-Coming Out experience has been more filled with support than pretty much anyone else i’ve ever met.

    and yet….i still do what i do, and “immerse” myself in it because i’m aware that my experience is the minority. most LGBT folks don’t have anything remotely resembling the outlets for support and love that i’ve been lucky to have.

    i embrace “gay” in a way that others don’t because those that don’t aren’t doing enough to affect change. basically, there’d be far fewer “extreme gays” if there weren’t so many half-hearted do-nothing gays whose nonchalance pretty much forces the rest of us to pick up the slack.

    not that i’m accusing anyone of doing that. but when people say “why are you so _______?” it’s simply because not enough people are even meeting halfway. the work others choose not to do gets lumped onto the shoulders of those of us who choose to work for the benefit others.

    years ago i took in a young guy whose parents disowned him for being gay. his stance, now that it’s 7 years later? “I’m not one of those gay guys that cares about being an advocate, i don’t need to let people know i’m gay, i don’t need to be all about gay rights and stuff…”
    my reply to him: “Yes. and that’s why your family disowned you. because of guys like you who don’t do the work that needs to be done. congrats.”

  41. jamal49 says

    Lord, I read this first thing yesterday and broke down and wept! This so sad. Damn it!

    I am now 62. I grew up in the late 50’s, and 60’s. Everyone knew I was queer way before I did. I was constantly bullied, beat up, spit on, ridiculed, harassed, humiliated, raped (twice), shunned and ridiculed by my family, isolated, terrified and depressed on a daily basis.

    I failed nearly every course in high school because I was afraid to get good grades which might draw attention to myself. I walked 3 miles to school and the same distance to home every day rain or shine hot or cold so I could avoid my tormentors on the school bus.

    My Mom and sisters were ashamed of me because I was queer. I never said I was but helpful neighbors would repeat the gossip of my travails in school to my family or they would ask “How’s that sissy brother of yours?” or “Did you know your son was queer?” and then things would be worse. Sometimes no one in my house would speak to me at all and acted as if I never existed.

    I don’t know how I survived those years. All I thought about was killing myself. I mean, 24/7 that is ALL I thought about. Maybe because I also was going to an extreme pentecostal church and I was convinced that not only was I damned for being queer but I would be doubly damned if I killed myself and didn’t let Jesus cure me of my homosexuality. Well, for years I prayed to Jesus for The Cure and it never happened. But, I didn’t kill myself.

    What eventually saved me, ironically, was enlisting in the US Navy. No, I didn’t come out or have an epiphany, but I was able to at least get away and get some perspective and meet new people, people older than me or more experienced than me and more educated than me and from different backgrounds and experiences.

    It wasn’t paradise but at least during that time from 1967 to 1974, I was able to get to know myself, free from the prejudices of my little town.

    My God, I even fell in love twice. The first was painful and unrequited; the second was beautiful and requited and I knew then that I was OK and everyone else was wrong. My mate and I were discrete, we would sneak away on our time off, meet clandestinely at out-of-the-way motels, go to another town if necessary and spend our time off there and it was beautiful, even if he eventually was sent to another duty station and we lost touch.

    What does all this mean? Well, I wonder sometimes if videos with “It Gets Better” are enough. For Eric Borges, it wasn’t. For others, it wasn’t. I ask myself, would it have made a difference for me?

    I didn’t kill myself in those dark periods, although I did try to hang myself and the rope broke. I was left with a nasty red welt on my neck (my Mom’s response when she realized what I did was to take a belt and beat me senseless).

    My answer is “I don’t know”. Such positive videos are great but unless there is a support infrastructure they are worthless.

    If one’s peers don’t understand or continue their harassment; if schools officials are indifferent or of the evangelical persuasion; if parents or relatives cannot understand or change their attitudes; then, a video isn’t going to make much difference.

    What needs to be addressed for the victim of harassment is the immediate NOW. He or she needs comfort, an embrace, a place to go to escape and be with peers, a fight-back posse to accompany the victim and let his tormentors know that they CANNOT continue their harassment or their gonna get the @$$es kicked clear into next week.

    We must continue to fight back. We need to fight as hard as we did against that A-hole cardinal in Chicago and make him, his goddam church, and all the other bigots BACK THE F*CK DOWN in the face of our fierce and determined opposition to their hatred and bigotry.

    I am grateful that I survived my childhood. Obviously, thousands of others have not been so fortunate. I don’t know why I survived. Life has not always been easy and I’ve dealt with many an internal issue since then. But, I am alive and I am willing to lay it on the line for those behind me who still have to deal with this poisonous bigotry and hatred.

    No more tolerance for bigotry. Confrontation to the point of physical violence if necessary (I learned in the Navy and beyond that giving out a good face alteration to a bigot is very satisfying).

    Whatever. This sh*t has got to stop. That Eric, in spite of “It Gets Better”, couldn’t overcome whatever demons tormented him is as sad as it gets.

    May he be one of the last to harm or kill himself because of homophobia. May his soul rest in peace.

    And may a curse a vile curse fall upon everyone who ever contributed to Eric’s torment. Their day will come. Let’s make sure of it.

  42. ANON says

    Excuse me for being insensitive, but does who really thinks anyone will walk away from Borges’ ‘Get Better’ video (knowing what he did just days later) thinking it will actually get better?

  43. uffda says

    Wow Jamal thanks for your story, your courage, your determination and your ongoing resistance to the plague of homophobia you have experienced. You are an inspiration.

  44. Walt says

    So Laura McGinnis of the Trevor Project heart goes out to the parents of this young man. WTF? Maybe the Trevor Project needs a new communications director… FYI Laura, these sicko Christians who made his life a living hell are probably glad he’s dead.

  45. Kenneth says

    Jamal is a perfect example of “It Gets Better,” many of us are and that’s the point. The point of the project isn’t to cure homophobia, teen suicide, bullying…the point is,to let them know there are others out here that feel or have felt what they are feeling and to point them in the right direction to get the support they need. The point is to let them know there are options. Little Kiwi hit the nail on the head – if you have better ideas for support, share them, if you can offer support, give it. If you are in an area that doesn’t have a support group for LGBTQ youth, start one, if it does, support it and make a video telling kids how to find it. Because truthfully it does get better.

  46. anon says

    This has probably been said already and not that i mean to be disrespectful but what kind of example did he set after taking his life. Now when a troubled youth watches a it gets better video after finding out about this guy why would they believe it gets better.

  47. Julianna Smith says

    Every article I’ve read that involves bullying would really cut my heart into pieces. And I am sure that it’s also hard on their parents itself. Furthermore, upon reading this news about this suicide of a talented man, makes me feel regretful. If only we could full force to stop this bullying, this hurtful incidents should have been lessen or better yet be vanished. The idea of my children being harmed or lost is not something anyone wants to consider. And I was reading this blog on anationofmoms and found an article that spoke of a service to protect my family. It said that if I followed the service on twitter, I would enter the drawing for 6 months free of service. Check out the article: http://anationofmoms.com/2011/08/protect-your-family-giveaway.html

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