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Anti-Gay Bullying Leads to Another Teen Suicide

Anti-Gay Bullying Leads to Another Teen Suicide

“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.

Columnist Dan Savage, founder of the It Gets Better Project, reacted to the news of Jamey’s suicide on his blog.

“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
1-866-4-U-Trevor
www.thetrevorproject.org

USA National Suicide Prevention Hotline
24/7, Free & Confidential
1-800-SUICIDE
www.hopeline.com

 

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Photo credit: skyseeker (Creative Commons)

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65 comments

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2:22AM PST on Feb 29, 2012

Im a year 12 student from Australia, I recently found this story about Jamey.
As my first english assessment for the year, we are required to deliver a speech.
I chose to base mine on teenage bullying and suicide.
I am using Jameys story as a base for my speech and a tribute to him.
In my speech I am going to inform my peers about his story and play the video of the tribute song Hair - By Lady GaGa dedicated to him and his family and friends.
RIP Jamey, your in a better place now.
Their lesson will be learnt. Bullying will be stopped.

8:28AM PST on Dec 5, 2011

mandatory therapy for b ullies would be a start, criminal charges are necessary if these bullies won't change.

10:08AM PST on Nov 20, 2011

Bullies are cowards.....the individuals who are bullying need therepy more than anyone. They may be little angels at home, but it looks like their first indepedant actions are to tear someone down, no matter whether they are gay, fat, different or whatever. They are getting an adreniline rush from targeting someone, anyone and destroying them. And don't think for a minute that it ends with their school years...it continues into the workplaces too. I've been a target in the workplace by co-workers who are Mothers and one a Grandmother...Whenever I hear of someone shooting up their workplace, it always makes me wonder if they haven't been taunted ot bullied there and they couldn't take it anymore.

11:13PM PDT on Oct 19, 2011

FYI - Thursday, October 20, 2011 is International SPIRIT DAY - one of the minor holidays on the LGBT Calendar. It is asked that you wear a PURPLE SHIRT as a sign of LGBT support, and in memory of the LGBT Teens who have died because of their orientation.

4:21PM PDT on Oct 18, 2011

How many more deaths will it take until something is done? My heart goes out to Jamey's family and friends.

2:55PM PDT on Oct 7, 2011

So sorry for him and his family.

7:52AM PDT on Sep 29, 2011

Heartbreaking.

9:34PM PDT on Sep 27, 2011

tragic...

3:11AM PDT on Sep 26, 2011

Thanks for the article.

12:46PM PDT on Sep 25, 2011

This was right in my backyard (same general area). I really wish I had known about this boy and somehow been able to reach out to him to be there as a friend, ally, and confidant.

*sigh*

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