Comments

  1. says

    @Scott,

    And your point is what? That it is this young man’s fault for being gay and being in that community? It is his fault for being bullied by people who learned to hate?

    This young man felt that his only recourse to deal with the bullying was to kill himself and you blame him. How sick can you be?

  2. Derrick from Philly says

    PHOENIX,

    SCOTT was simply letting us know that Jadin lived in a small town in a conservative part of Oregon. I don’t see how you interpreted his comment the way you did.

  3. Francis says

    7 teen suicides in one town over the span of a few months. 2 teens dead by suicide in one town over the span of three months.

    What’s going to be done? Nothing.

    Growing up as gay in a small town w/out out gay role models to look up to or any gay community to associate in, is simply absolute hell. Why does it take a gay child dying, heck, any child DYING, for people to start realizing that bullying is a serious issue that needs to be taken care of and to step in and empower and support the child being bullied? Not blaming the parents at all but we see over and over and over that this bullying is constant and not enough is proactively done, until these children die.

    And it’s no coincidence essentially all of these suicides by young LGBT kids and suicides in general are in small towns and/or socially conservative areas. Cultures where conformity is expected and promoted and if you don’t conform 100% you’re ostracized are the absolute worst places to grow up because there truly are very few places to turn.

    Just heartbreaking. Tragic. Only 15 years old. RIP Jadin.

  4. Todd says

    Portland and LaGrande are hundreds of miles away from each other physically and much, much further away culturally. Anyway, consider consulting a map before writing about any western state…

  5. So sad says

    Sad, sad, sad. This is why I feel that it’s so important for gay adults to come out of the closet and be visible. The more visible we are, the more these homophobic pigs will have to deal with us and the more role models young kids like this will have. Gay people have a responsibility to come out – PERIOD. So sick of reading sh1t like this. How many more times is this going to happen? And why the fvck aren’t schools preventing this sh1t???

  6. Pdxblueyeses says

    Scott and Todd… That should make NO difference. I understand the reasoning. But we still have a kid who’s in this state. I have family a town over from LaGrande and I understand the backwards culture…truthfully, it INFURIATES me…but it is no excuse.

  7. So sad says

    “I wonder what people, who bullied him are thinking now?”

    Sad thing is that most bullies are sadistic evil people, so they probably couldn’t care less.

  8. says

    absolutely shattering. far too many young people are being stifled by a bigoted culture that seeks to protect the bullies more than their victims.
    for so long we have been losing our young as they take their hopes and dreams and hang them on the end of a noose.

    “”He was different, and they tend to pick on the different ones,” Hill said.”

    Too true. Young kids with targets on their backs. I’m sure there are a lot of us reading this who know exactly what that was like, and in many cases still is like, and have utterly been in this young man’s place.

    the heart aches.

    Help Out, Come Out, adults.

  9. Francis says

    Where are the gay adults in these small towns, conservatives areas? Where are the straight supporters, straight allies? I honestly partially I won’t say blame them, but I don’t think they are doing their part to protect the youth in these areas. I know a lot of them are scared for their own lives but clearly the only way to create change is to be the change, and the gay adults and straights in these communities who say they’re pro-equality…………..what are they doing to push change?

    We saw in Vicco, Kentucky, last week, that change and progress is realistic and that, even in smaller, conservative towns, acceptance is possible, when they passed a discrimination ordinance. Some people blame the gay community at large for these suicides or Dan Savage, but we/they can’t be everywhere. People in these communities need to start standing up for standing up for gay youth, and kids in general. You’re either part of the solution or you’re not.

  10. ratbastard says

    What Derrick from Philly said. And the bullying, being mocked and laughed at. The kid probably developed serious mental health issues. We don’t know what mental health issues Jadin had. Maybe he was even taking psychotropic drugs like SSRIs which really do adversely effect teens and young adults pretty significantly. It’s a complex picture.

    I will say in this day and age it is considerably easier for kids his age in many ways, especially due to the information revolution and internet.

  11. says

    this is why our fight utterly needs to be for inclusive and informative LGBT discussion and education at the elementary school level.

    and f**k the parents who don’t want their kids to “learn about homosexuality” – those parents are either raising the kids that bully, or the kids that take their own lives.

    you have to be carefully taught how to hate (South Pacific, anyone?)

    education about diversity. at an elementary school level

    no more excuses about “it should be taught at home” when clearly that simply isn’t working and isn’t bloody happening.

  12. Holamigo says

    Are there any national, or even regional, orgs whose mission is to reach out to schools and communities in isolated areas to educate on bullying and tolerance of LGBT youth? It has to be taken on independently since schools just don’t care. Otherwise, there will continue to be more Jadins, Matthew Shepards, and all the others. This is so sad.

  13. ratbastard says

    @Lil’ C*unt,

    I know and have met numerous gays who would consider themselves ‘inclusive’ and P.C. who’re also arrogant bullies and control freaks. Bullies and control freaks come in ALL shapes, sizes, colors, nationalities, sexual orientations, ideologies.

  14. says

    I know for some of you, especially those who had a support system upon coming out; it’s inconcievable why a young gay kid would take his life, but having lived it, I can tell you it’s daily torture. To be 13 and in a small town as I grew up, and go to school every single day and have dozens upon dozens of your peers push you, hit you, call you names, all make sounds when you walk into a room, and then have a homophobic family and homophobic school system. It’s brutal. Grown adults would have a challenging time getting through that, much less a child. Suicide is NOT the answer, but to this day, I don’t know how I endured so much hate on a daily basis. I really don’t. I think part of it was watching Pedro on The Real World San Francisco at the time, and seeing how proud and brave he was. But otherwise, it’s a living hell, and those of us who are grown and out and have friends can’t begin to understand how vulnerable and lonely most of our gay youth feel.

  15. stephen lucas says

    If this happened in liberal Oregon, what does it say about the young people of America and their homophobic attitudes? Maybe we are failing to realize the huge sea of homophobia that lies underneath. Women contribute to it as much as men.

  16. Scott Johansen says

    I feel we as adult LGBT have a *duty* to our LGBT youth. Yes, a duty to them. Each of us owes it to them to fight for equality, challenge homophobia, mentor at risk GLBT youth, and advocate and educate society about the harms of homophobia.

    The GLBT generation before us did that for us and we live to benefit from their valiant efforts. We owe it to our next generation to make this society even more tolerant for them. It starts with each and every single one of us doing our part.

  17. says

    @HOLAMIGO, the unfortunate reality is that in many states, townships and individual schools the overall culture of anti-gay bigotry takes top priority.

    It’s frankly disgusting how many schools will side with the parents who raise a fuss and say “we don’t want you coming into our schools to indoctrinate our kids into your gayness”, preferring instead to indoctrinate their own children into bigotry, and refusing to allow for discussion about the simple reality that there are (let’s be real here) gays in every class, in every school, all across the country.

    and the world.

    because of this, discussions seem to only be revolving around high schools, which is frankly too late.

    http://toronto.ctvnews.ca/plan-for-gay-centric-toronto-school-shelved-1.973410

  18. Jorge says

    I have to echo the comment above about how insanely hard it is for some of us in small towns. Some of you all are so fortunate to have the support you have. I’m 19 and moved to Austin, but just a few years ago I was going to high school in a small town outside Lubbock Texas. To be called awful mean names every single day and then go to school administrators and they not care at all (because they were often homophobic themselves) sucks. It sucks so bad. And my parents are super religious, so if I told them, they would have sent me to some ex gay conversion program. there’s so many of us gay kids from small towns crying ourselves to bed cuz we feel no one has our back. I’m happy to have made friends with someone in Austin and moved after graduation but not everyone’s so lucky. Homophobia kills!

  19. says

    Scott Johansen, i love you for that. Amen, brother.

    I was lucky enough to be going through adolescence as the Internet was taking off, and did indeed spend a lot of time reading blogs (then called Webpages!) by other young(ish?) LGBT people, who shared their stories, and showed that we don’t need to live silent and invisible lives.

    LGBT people in my neighbourhood and community who made it their business to be Out, and visible, to others. Because of this, my parents knew gay people. They had gay friends. My coming out was aided immeasurably by those brave men and women, who put a face and name to What Gay Is, and thus showed others that being gay is no cause for shame and alarm.

    Closet Culture is literally what’s killing us, and i tip my hat to all the brave men and women who think of others, and not themselves, and Come Out to open the doors for the next generations.

  20. Just Sayin' Y'all says

    The parents of the bullies need to named, and need to be held accountable. The role of the school administrators and teachers needs to be examined.

    That being said, if you’ve never lived in a small town you really have no clue what the struggle is about. Urban gays with no experience need to stfu and *listen* for a change. What worked in the cities doesn’t work in the country, and the work that needs to be done hasn’t been done. And this is not Canaduah, so urban Canadians opinions are pretty much useless here.

    Just sayin’.

  21. Scott says

    To follow up, my comment was only to correct the original headline that said this poor boy hanged himself in a Portland schoolyard (which was subsequently corrected). I was not making an editorial comment of any kind, other than to suggest it would might have been a different story had it happened in Portland. It’s a shame a few people interpreted my correction as a commentary (based on their own issues). Let’s focus on helping other LGBT youth avoid this fate, and take on bullying as the societal issue it is.

  22. says

    @Betty, that’s the same troll under a different name. His issue? I don’t hide and he does. Same old story.

    we can make this world better for our young brothers and sisters, and it requires us adults to stand up to be counted, and no longer live invisible and silent lives.

  23. Bob says

    1– slight error in story: the vid is from the Portland TV station, right up the street from me, and KOMO is in Seattle.
    2- slight errors in comments:
    a- La Grande has 13,000 people, heavily mormon, so expecting it to a tolerant place is dreaming.(as is expecting local adult Gays to be vocal, sad to say)
    b- One reason for suicides like Jadin’s and others — young kids see “Gay is OK” in the media, and want to be free, but local straight folks are still backward. In the olden days, Gays came out to themselves later in their teens, when a bit more mature.
    c-Portlanders are always so very anxious to point out how liberal they are (and take NO criticism, in my experience). It’s a good town for lesbians, backward for Gay men. I call it “Kansas with pink hair” There is not even a strong movement toward marriage equality here.

  24. Eric says

    Kids learn what we teach them. Take the movie “Seven Psychopaths”- it’s loaded with homophobic slurs and insults. Just loaded with them. Almost no one said a damn thing about it. Because, hey, if Colin Farrell, who has a gay brother, can star in it and throw around some slurs, and Sam Rockwell, and the rest of “liberal” Hollywood can take part in it, it must be OK. The slurs aren’t part of the plot, and no one is ever punished for them in the movie.

    I am so sick of LGBT people saying that they don’t care if people throw around words like “faggot”. Listen, that word might not hurt you, but the world is bigger than you, and not as advanced as you, and that word hurts LGBT kids who don’t have your armour. Some kids have to hear that in the hallways, and at home, dozens of times a day. And violence often starts with words, with being thought of as “less than”.

  25. Gerald Bellin says

    “. . . after being bullied. . . ”

    Look for variations on this use of the passive voice. He “was bullied” or he “was the victim of bullying.” All of this is just a way for the press and law enforcement to cover up who actually did the bullying. Some real person or persons taunted and/or beat this kid. Why are these bullies never named? Why don’t the families and friends of these bullycide victims name the killers? As far as I know, the only case where we ever learned a bully’s name was that of Tyler Clementi. In every other case, there was widespread collusion to conceal the names of the bullies, and it seems that this case will be no different.

  26. Jeff says

    Everyone is pushing this away from Portland. What’s so special about Portland? I’ve read depression is rampant there due to the never ending rain and gray weather. Sorry this young boy had to die. Who had a duty to us when we came out? No one.

  27. Francis says

    Jeff, the fact of the matter is, something like this happening in a conservative small town vs happening in a fairly liberal big city are clearly two different circumstances, and runs in line with the numbers, which show a majority of these suicides do occur in small towns, where outlets that aren’t homophobic or are gay are few and far.

    To the poster “Just Sayin Ya’ll” aka Yupp, it’s easy to say that posters in urban areas have no clue about why this continues to happen in these smaller, conservative towns. And personally, I can say, I really DON’T know because I’ve never had to deal with this sort of blatant complete lack of respect and acceptance. But what is clear is that not enough or the right things aren’t being done because these suicides continue.

    We’re all in this together, and the fact is, if you’re living in an area where there is general acceptance, you’re in a position of privilege. And you need to use that privilege for good and we need to do our part to highlight what is occurring in these towns so we can at the very least have a conversation.

  28. AJ says

    I blame the media for this. There will always be bullies. The media makes martyrs of these kids. Just remember that suicide does not happen in a vacuum. A plus B does not always lead to C in these cases. There are other factors. I feel bad for those he left behind. He just punished them for what the bullies were doing.

  29. says

    don’t blame the media – thank it. the LGBT Youth suicide rate has not changed over the decades.

    the only thing that’s changed is that for the first time the rest of the world is finally talking about it.

  30. UGH says

    Give it a rest AJ. Don’t start your crap again. When a kid feels there is no other choice you know that they look to the suicide martyrs that went before them because suicide is so glamorous and glorified. Give me a break. The real people to blame: the bullies themselves and the people who do nothing to stop it. If the media didn’t report about this kid the officials who did nothing would still do nothing and there will be many more Jadin’s in that community. Now we can work to make sure it doesn’t happen again. But we wouldn’t now about if the media didn’t report it.

  31. Brian says

    Where this took place is completely irrelevant. I don’t care if it takes place in a small, ultraconservative town or on Mars…it is tragic no matter what. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.

  32. Bill says

    @Jeff and @Brian: The location matters because contributing factors to LGBT suicides are very different in Portland versus La Grande. Portland is large enough to provide various support services. La Grange (as of the 2010 census) has a population of 13082, with 22.4 percent under 18 years of age. If you figure half of those are boys, 3 percent are gay, and 5/18 are teens under the age of 18, you get a rough estimate of 12 gay teens in that town, and that doesn’t factor in the age at which they come out or even realize that they are gay.

    Also, social attitudes vary substantially from one area to another. For California and Proposition 8, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Proposition_8#Results has a map and a table showing the breakdown by county. Support for Proposition 8 was over 75% in Kern County versus under 25% in San Francisco County. That’s probably an indication of how supportive people in these areas are of LGBT rights, and there is a huge variation in California depending on where you live. I’d imagine it is similar in Oregon.

  33. Francis says

    AJ. You ALWAYS blame the gay person. Without fail. Regardless of circumstances. It’s the gay persons’ fault. You need to ask yourself why that is, because it’s a severe flaw you need to work on. There is clear self-hatred there you need to work on.

    And yes, location does matter, most of these suicides are occurring in smaller towns and/or social conservative areas; the same as gay bashings. So location is critical……….it goes to show the night and day existence that one gay person can have from another. You have a New Jersey teen coming out to applause and on Ellen. And then you have stories like this. As Bill said, you have your San Francisco’s in California, but then you have your Orange County’s. Hate is everywhere but there are clear and distinct differences between communities that are generally gay positive and those that are gay negative.

    In anti-gay communities gay people are generally silenced, their issues aren’t heard and aren’t respected, there are very few to no out LGBT adult role models and no avenues to turn to for support and likeminded understanding. THAT is why location is a big deal. Millions of LGBTQ youth are forced to more or less suffer in silence in this country. That cannot be anymore.

  34. DC Arnold says

    Perhaps the Homo Robbing Committee could stop brown nosing politicians long enough to finance outreach programs to our youth to let them know there are alternatives to suicide.

  35. Fruit-for-Peace says

    Oregon is NOT a “liberal” state! Portland (and a few other towns) are the exception, NOT the rule.

    I have lived in Oregon for over 9 years and have traveled to over 70 towns all over the state for business and I can tell you that most of Oregon is a VERY SCARY place socially! The level of education is very low and the level of religious furor is very high. There is a small town on the eastern side near La Grande that has a cafe that has been closed for ages, and in that front window is STILL a sign that says, “We only have WHITE servers.” WTF!?!

    Portland is liberal, Oregon is NOT!

  36. ratbastard says

    Will some decent Canadian in or near Toronto please put a sock or something else in Lil’ C*unt’s mouth? This character is by far the biggest and most obnoxious troll on here. I think most contentious TR threads are majority Lil’ C trolling under various personas and answering his own troll posts. It’s so obvious, it’s painful.

  37. ratbastard says

    I’m very sorry for this boy’s suicide. It is painful to hear about. Let’s be honest,folks; he must have had some serious mental health issues. Yes, bullies s*ck, I agree 100%. But where were is parent[s]/guardian? Family? Friends? I see he has a different last name from his mom, so he was raised in perhaps a so-called broken home, by a single parent? Mom by herself or with B.F. or step father? I don’t mean at all to be mean or cruel, but I suspect he didn’t have the best home life, and that probably played a major role in his suicide. It’s VERY easy to place the blame on ‘small towns’ and what-not. It’s a lot harder [intellectually and emotionally] to dig deeper.

  38. says

    “He feared turning in the bullies would make things worse.”

    That hits home. I’ve been there and I know countless others of you have been, too. I remember thinking to myself, after being jumped at school, “What, is the school going to expel or suspend more than 10 students??”

    And in so many schools and districts we’re seeing “oh, kids will be kids” and the bullies given a total pass.

    Even now, with the whole Boy Scouts of America issue – there is a galling amount of anti-gay bigotry flying around. It’s all over facebook, it’s in every newspaper, it’s on television. Grown adults freaking the f**k out and making it clear that they’re the ones who are raising their children to hate their gay classmates.

    Adamant that “no gays” be allowed in the Boy Scouts. Bigotry against CHILDREN.

    They don’t seem to care that young people are dying. Being anti-gay doesn’t mean your kids will be straight. It means your potentially-gay kids will suffer massive damage to their sense of self worth, and your potentially-straight kids will likely regurgitate your bigotry, lest you think they’re “f@gs” for not being bigots.

    Seriously, check out the vitriol over the BSAs current “possibility of rethinking their ban on gays” and you’ll see exactly what drove this young man, among countless others, to take his life.

  39. ratbastard says

    @Lil’ C,

    It’s VERY easy to place the blame [talking points+narrative] … It’s a lot harder [intellectually and emotionally] to dig deeper. Suicides are always complex and usually deeply personal in nature. People rarely if ever kill themselves over big issues or ideological talking points; it’s mostly being depressed over personal reasons, relationships, home life.

  40. says

    Perhap’s Jadin’s demeanor and sexual orientation really made many around him feel disjointed about themselves, which led to some finding the need to be aggressive towards him. Who they were really abusing is and reacting to is their own inertia, isn’t that really the way of bullies anyway?

    Then again maybe the bullying has something to do with society’s taboo towards same sex orientation as much as it claims that it is open to accepting such proclivities.

    http://scallywagandvagabond.com/2013/01/jadin-bell-oregon-teenager-hangs-himself-because-he-was-bullied-for-being-gay/

  41. Cliff says

    It bothers me when kids whos are bullied and sometimes pushed to the brink – are called ‘different’. I dunno… to me, it’s just one more negative adjective in the grand scheme of this issue. Different from what? From whom? It kind of feeds the flame IMO…

  42. says

    Well said, Scally. And spot-on.

    for younger kids who can’t ( or *won’t*) blend in and hide they have a target on their back every single day.

    and as we’re seeing in Tennessee, as we saw when Michigan Republicans gutted their anti-bullying bills to allow (no joke) “Christian Kids the Right to Bully With Religious Justification” (so to speak) the message is not to protect and make schools safe for those who are different, but to protect the ignorance of the Bullies.

    over and over again we’ve heard the parents of these children we lose state that the schools have done nothing. over and over again.

    and it seems that in the legislature, the people in charge just don’t care.

  43. jamal49 says

    So very, very sad. May he rest in peace and may his family and friends find comfort over their loss.

    May all of us find the strength to stop homophobia and anti-gay bigotry in its tracks.

  44. Francis says

    I mean, Kiwi is totally right. Look at the conversation with the BSA right now. Look at Chick-fil-A. Look at the Don’t Say Gay bill. We live in a country where a large portion of people have no problem going after children they suspect as gay and more or less tearing them down in an attempt to, I guess, take away their gayness, or punish them for being gay and making them think twice about “choosing” to be gay.

    I mean, that’s where we’re at. This is pure, unbridled hatred. The things I’m reading right now are unbelievable. It’s beyond not getting it, and more about destroying our community. Don’t get it twisted, people. This is a full-blown social war, and things are clearly getting more and more out of control. The closer we come to equality, the more hate against us is going to be slung.

  45. GregV says

    @Jason: This did not happen in the liberal part pf Zoregon; it happened in Union County, which, not coincidentally, voted 69% anti-gay on the 2004 ballot measure.
    If The Northwestern quadrant of Pregon were a separate state, it would be very progressive indeed, while the rest of the state would be very backward.
    There was horrifying violence that came from members of anti-gay groups during one of the previous anti-gay ballot measures. I remember a friend telling me at the time that he watched a documentary on it and then turned off his TV and cried.

  46. tiki2 says

    One thing we have to be honest about as well is that there is also a lot of gay-on-gay bullying. I know when I was in junior high and H.S., the two boys who bullied me the most were gay. Of course they didn’t admit it at the time but they came out much later. There is so much internalized homophobia that teenage gays find other gay people repulsive. Even among gay male adults you hear the snide comments: “He’s such a flaming queen” or “He’s so nelly” etc.

  47. Bryan says

    This is tragic, and there’s nothing I can do about it except what I’m already doing.

    Except…

    I can sit quietly and think about the aggressive, sarcastic, belittling, insulting, bullying posts I often write online. Sitting here, right now, reading through some of what I’ve written in the past week, I wonder how and why it is that I often write like a toxic c*nt. I don’t believe I am a toxic c*nt, and yet online, I often write like one.

    Looking around here, I seem I’m in good company. I’m actually a fairly good guy. I wonder how many of you who write like toxic c*nts might also be fairly good guys.

    After all, being driven to despair by others’ disrespect isn’t limited to young people.

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