“Hi, this is Jamey from Buffalo, New York, and I’m just here to tell you that it does get better,” Jamey Rodemeyer told the world in a May 2011 YouTube video. “All you have to do is hold your head up and you’ll go far. Just love yourself, and you’re set.”
Many of us fail at following our own advice, but rarely are the results so devastating. This Sunday, after enduring years of anti-gay bullying, 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer took his own life.
The Buffalo News reports that Jamey had been posting depressed messages to his Facebook page and his blog over the past several weeks. “No one in my school cares about preventing suicide,” he wrote.
“I always say how bullied I am, but no one listens,” Jamey stated in a September 9 entry. “What do I have to do so people will listen to me?”
Jamey’s mother, Tracy Rodemeyer, admitted that her son was emotionally troubled. She said Jamey was seeing a social worker and a therapist. “He has had issues since fifth grade. He had suicidal tendencies back then,” she told the Buffalo News, adding that Jamey “would give all his heart to you before he gave any to himself.”
“He was always putting people first,” said Olivia Rinaldo, one of Jamey’s friends. “He always wanted other people to smile, even on the worst of his days.”
Since he began to question his sexuality last year, Jamey became the target of horrible taunts online as well as in the hallways. The Buffalo News quotes two anonymous posts directed at Jamey: “I wouldn’t care if you died. No one would. So just do it … It would make everyone WAY more happier!” and “JAMIE IS STUPID, GAY, FAT ANND UGLY. HE MUST DIE!”
Yet his parents reported that Jamey seemed to be doing well at the start of the new school year. The teen drew inspiration from his friends, online supporters and celebrities like Lady Gaga. “[L]ately, he’s been blowing [the bullies] off, or at least we thought he was,” said Tracy Rodemeyer.
“The point of the ‘It Gets Better’ project is to give kids like Jamey Rodemeyer hope for their futures,” Savage wrote. “But sometimes hope isn’t enough. Sometimes the damage done by hate and by haters is simply too great. Sometimes the future seems too remote. And those are the times our hearts break.”
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, please remember that there is help.
The following national hotlines are free and confidential, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week:
The Trevor Project
24/7 Suicide Hotline for GLBTQI Youth
USA National Suicide Prevention Hotline
24/7, Free & Confidential
Photo credit: skyseeker (Creative Commons)