Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Sad One

A friend once pointed out a fact about the English language. We have a word for the surviving spouse when a husband or wife dies -- widow, or widower -- and we have a word for a child who survives when their parents die -- an orphan -- but we have no word for parents who survive after their child dies. My friend believed that this was because the situation was so sad nobody wanted to give it a name.

Monday a family in Buffalo, New York, found themselves in that state. The Post will tell it.
Jamey Rodemeyer, a 14-year-old high school freshman in Buffalo, N.Y., was bullied. A lot. After years of being called gay slurs at school and being told by anonymous people online that he should die, he killed himself Monday.

Jamey’s mother, Tracy, told the Buffalo News that her son had questioned his sexuality and that his classmates began to tease and bully him. His parents were supportive of their son, and Jamey was seeing a social worker and a therapist. But that didn’t stop the bullying, and it didn’t ease Jamey’s pain, which spilled onto his Tumblr account.

“No one in my school cares about preventing suicide, while you’re the ones calling me [gay slur] and tearing me down,” he wrote on Sept. 8. He said the next day: “I always say how bullied I am, but no one listens. ... What do I have to do so people will listen to me?”

Despite their son’s numerous cries for help online, Jamey’s parents thought he was doing well. His father Tim told WGRZ that Jamey said that he was happy.

Last May, Jamey told his friends that he was bisexual and created his own “It Gets Better” video. He thanked Lady Gaga for supporting the gay community and told the viewers, “Love yourself and you’re set.”

Indeed, he received an outpouring of support online from Gaga’s fans, who call themselves “little monsters,” as well as from his friends.

But others online did not embrace him. “JAMIE IS STUPID, GAY, FAT ANND UGLY. HE MUST DIE!” an anonymous commenter said on Formspring. “I wouldn't care if you died. No one would. So just do it :) It would make everyone WAY more happier!” said another. Jamey Rodemeyer, bullied teen who made ‘It Gets Better’ video, commits suicide

Jamey had put a video up on the "It Gets Better" channel of YouTube. See if you can watch this.





Columnist Dan Savage, who created the “It Gets Better” project, said on his blog that the people who bullied Jamey should be held accountable “for their actions, for their hate, for the harm they've caused.”

“They should be asked if they’re “WAY more happier” now, if they’re pleased with themselves, and if they have anything to say to the mother of the child they succeeded in bullying to death,” he wrote.

Teen suicide is not a new or uncommon problem. Of the more than 35,000 suicides reported in the United States in 2008, 4,513 of the cases were youths between the ages of 10 and 24, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Savage said the high number of teenagers who are gay, bisexual or transsexual who have taken their own lives prompted him to found “It Gets Better,” a platform where adults could tell bullied kids that someday their lives will be brighter. But, as he wrote on his blog, the negativity is sometimes louder than the love:

“The point of the ‘It Gets Better’ project is to give kids like Jamey Rodemeyer hope for their futures. 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.”

I don't know if there will ever be a time when people can accept these kinds of differences, I'm afraid the general tendency is to flock toward the middle rather than fly free, people are motivated to conform and to punish nonconformists, whether the nonconformity is by choice or design. But the norm is shifting, slowly the harassment of LGBT people is being seen as the deviant act.

We thank people like Lady Gaga and Dan Savage for using their visibility to further the effort. And we grieve for the young ones, like Jamey Rodemeyer, who decide that it is better not to live at all than to live in a world where they are hated for who they are.

15 Comments:

Blogger Priya Lynn said...

One can see how pervasive and damaging the hatred of LGBTs in schools is. And yet evil people like bad anonymous insanely claim that hate somehow magically vanishes outside of the school and when teens become adults and no LGBT person is ever assaulted or murdered merely for being LGBT.

September 22, 2011 12:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh, I think that happens

I just don't think it is any worse than when someone is murdered for their diamond necklace or to prevent them from testifying or because they made a joke at the expense of a drunk redneck or a million other reasons someone might be assaulted or murdered

why does sexual deviance have some hallowed status deserving special protection?

btw, if you feel like in meddling of the affairs of another country, nasty Priya, why America?

lately Iran has been publicly executing homosexuals caught engaged in sodomy

why not go to Persia and get some people riled up over there?

why not follow the old adage?:

I won't be home 'til it's over, over there

it won't d

September 22, 2011 2:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are a mess, Anonymous. Ewwww!!

September 22, 2011 6:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is why people get angry with the public schools...

the whole discussion simply does not belong in the school.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/09/22/texas-school-punishes-boy-for-opposing-homosexuality/

September 22, 2011 8:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is why people get angry with the public schools...

the whole discussion simply does not belong in the school.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/09/22/texas-school-punishes-boy-for-opposing-homosexuality/

September 22, 2011 8:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon, I don't think most people want to see this sort of thing, either, where people can't even say they disapprove of homosexuality without being punished. For instance, look at Queerty's take on this story and similar ones.

September 22, 2011 8:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The GOP audience's reaction to the active duty gay man, Stephen Hill, serving in Iraq, a day or two after another teen took his life over being bullied, was another sad one. Those GOP supportes loudly booed a gay man who was in Iraq protecting their freedom.

Shame on them and shame on the FOX News debate hosts too.

"“Do you plan to circumvent the progress that has been made for gay and lesbian soldiers in the military?” Hill asked, to several loud boos, and silence from the rest of the crowd. There was no applause when his service to our nation was mentioned, and the crowd thunderously approved of Santorum’s answer, that he would reinstate “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”

From the look of him, I doubt very much anyone in that audience would have booed him to his face.

It’s also a bit surprising that none of Fox News’ moderators saw fit to react, to appeal to their collective sense of decency, and say, “You are booing an American soldier?”...

Christopher R. Barron, Chairman of the Board and Jimmy LaSalvia, Executive Director of gay conservative group GOProud have released a statement demanding an apology from Rick Santorum, to Stephen Hill:

(Washington, D.C.) – “Tonight, Rick Santorum disrespected our brave men and women in uniform, and he owes Stephen Hill, the gay soldier who asked him the question about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal, an immediate apology.

“That brave gay soldier is doing something Rick Santorum has never done – put his life on the line to defend our freedoms and our way of life. It is telling that Rick Santorum is so blinded by his anti-gay bigotry that he couldn’t even bring himself to thank that gay soldier for his service.

“Stephen Hill is serving our country in Iraq, fighting a war Senator Santorum says he supports. How can Senator Santorum claim to support this war if he doesn’t support the brave men and women who are fighting it?”"

September 23, 2011 9:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once again, Republicans held a presidential debate on Thursday night. And once again, the live audience helped give the party a black eye.

The debate, which took place in Orlando and aired on Fox News, included questions from a panel of Fox personalities and from voters, who were invited to submit theirs through YouTube. The crowd's big moment came in the second hour, when the topic turned to social issues.

"This question stirred up a whole lot of controversy online," Fox's Megyn Kelly said as she introduced a video submission. "It comes from Stephen Hill, who is a soldier stationed in Iraq."

Hill, wearing a gray "ARMY" t-shirt then appeared on-screen and told the candidates that he is gay and that he had been forced to lie about his identity when he was deployed to Iraq in 2010 because he didn't want to lose his job. He then asked if the candidates would "do anything to circumvent the progress that's been made for gay and lesbian soldiers" now that the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy has been officially repealed.

His video then ended and ... a handful of very loud boos erupted in the debate hall. Otherwise there was silence -- not one cheer for an active duty soldier asking the candidates if they'd let him continue serving his country without lying. No other voter-submitted question all night elicited such a harsh response.

The question went to Rick Santorum, who made things worse by not offering any words of appreciation for Hill's service, which he didn't even acknowledge. Instead, he declared that "any type of sexual activity has absolutely no place in the military," that gays and lesbians have been given "a special privilege" by the repeal of DADT, and that the basic function of the military has been undermined because of it. Unlike Hill's question, Santorum's response produced loud applause and cheers that almost drowned him out as he finished speaking.

Kelly then followed up by asking Santorum about Hill's particular situation: He's admitted he's gay -- what would happen to him if you were president? Santorum allowed that he wouldn't kick out anyone who had come out of the closet before he took office, but that he would reinstate the policy and not permit any future soldiers to make such an admission.

"We have to move forward with conforming with what was happening in the past, which is that sex is not an issue," he said. "It should not be an issue. Leave it alone. Keep it to yourself whether you are heterosexual or homosexual."

September 23, 2011 9:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The GOP audience's reaction to the active duty gay man, Stephen Hill, serving in Iraq, a day or two after another teen took his life over being bullied, was another sad one. Those GOP supportes loudly booed a gay man who was in Iraq protecting their freedom."

so, let's get this straight:

this gay guy has pursued a career in the military and is being paid by the American taxpayer to do a job in Iraq

personally, I don't feel the mission in Iraq is protecting any freedom of mine, but let's grant that it is, for our purposes here

one of those freedoms is the freedom of speech

this soldier is protecting our right to disagree with and debate one another

how then do you get that we are all supposed to applaud anything any soldier says?

if we don't treat him like anyone else who participates in the debate, aren't we really not letting him participate in any real sense

by saying no one can express disapproval of his opinions, you are cheating him out of his chance to take part in the democracy you say he is defending

"Shame on them and shame on the FOX News debate hosts too"

shame on GOPProud and any others who would deny this soldier the right to fully participate in our political process

is there anything they won't say or do to advance the heinous gay agenda?

apparently not

September 23, 2011 10:24 AM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Bad anonymous said "why does sexual deviance have some hallowed status deserving special protection?".

Straw man, no one's suggesting sexual deviance get special protection. What a just society does however is take steps to ameliorate the situation for a minority that is disproportionately singled out for assault and murder - that's LGBT people. This is not special protection as it protects heterosexuals in exactly the same way it protects gays.

Bad anonymous said "This is why people get angry with the public schools...the whole discussion simply does not belong in the school.http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/09/22/texas-school-punishes-boy-for-opposing-homosexuality/".

This is no different than a school child being punished for saying his black classmates are inferior and don't have souls (something conservative churches taught for many years). If you think his discussion doesn't belong in school you should have no problem with him being punished. Schools however do have a mandate to teach that all are equal and gays are not inherently bad people (Do you know what inherently means yet, bad anonymous?).

September 23, 2011 12:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"no one's suggesting sexual deviance get special protection"

please

you are constantly whining how they need special protection, as if they were porcelain dolls

"What a just society does however is take steps to ameliorate the situation for a minority that is disproportionately singled out for assault and murder"

yes, the same steps you would take if anyone else is "disproportionately singled out"

send a cop car if they are threatened

in the situation last week, some idiotic tran was stupid enough to be strolling around alone at two in the morning in Southeast DC

so, for this, we need to give extra penalties for the guy's attackers

why not give extra penalties to the attackers of anyone in this neighborhood, that is singled out for so much crime?

"- that's LGBT people. This is not special protection as it protects heterosexuals in exactly the same way it protects gays"

any normal person doing the same could be attacked in the same manner and no extra penalty or protection

that's not exactly the same way

"This is no different than a school child being punished for saying his black classmates are inferior and don't have souls"

well, there are numerous differences

for one, being black is not a behavioral issue or a matter of desire

it is a physical characteristic

even Martin Luther King, as confused as he was, famously, and correctly, said men should be judged on the content of their character not the color of their skin

do not behavior and desire impact character in Canada?

further, I don't it's common to say homosexuals are inferior and have no souls

is this is discussion we should be having?

"If you think his discussion doesn't belong in school you should have no problem with him being punished. Schools however do have a mandate to teach that all are equal and gays are not inherently bad people"

schools have no business teaching whether anyone is inherently good or bad

that's a matter of opinion and not an empirically verifiable matter

now, your intelligence, on the other hand.......

well, I'm sure you've had a lot of testing done on yourself

read "Flowers for Algernon" if you'd like a fantasy you could get into

September 23, 2011 3:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"personally, I don't feel the mission in Iraq is protecting any freedom of mine,"

Great, then talk to the Bushman and ask him what freedoms he sent our troops into Iraq to fight for so he can personally explain it to you.

"No WMD over here, or under here, or over there! Nyuk nyuk nyuk!"

"this soldier is protecting our right to disagree with and debate one another"

Great, and who do you imagine has the "freedom" to keep this soldier from standing up to protect our right to free speech because of his sexual orientation?

Being gay is not a crime. You have to "do something" or "fail to do something required" to have committed a crime. He's done neither, he has committed no crime and should not have been subject to termination from the Military under DADT for being who he is.

He was forced to lie to keep his job even though he committed no crime.

That ain't right and now we've fixed it.

Go ahead and enjoy your "freedom" to spew all the crybaby hate you want. Nobody gives a shift.

"saying no one can express disapproval of his opinions"

Nobody said "no one can express disapproval of his opinions" and nobody tried to stop anyone from expressing their disapproval of his opinions either. The GOP proudly let it all hang out for the TV audience to see.

And now plenty of people have seen and been repulsed by the GOP audiences' deep lust for death by prison guard and by lack of money and health insurance. Americans also saw those GOPers in the audience exhibit not the slightest tiny bit of respect for a serviceman in Iraq, simply because he's gay.

Red blooded Americans who believe all men are created equal are finding these GOP audience reactions quite sickening, but no one has told them they can't react.

September 23, 2011 4:42 PM  
Blogger Emproph said...

“But others online did not embrace him. “JAMIE … MUST DIE!” … “I wouldn't care if you died. No one would. So just do it :) It would make everyone WAY more happier!”…”

Even God would be happier:

Leviticus 20:13:
“If a man has sexual relations with a man … They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”

So, according to anti-gay supremacist Christians, Jamey Rodemeyer deserved all he got.
--
So, a big shout out to all you “family” groups who find pleasure in spreading murderous hate speech.

September 24, 2011 6:43 AM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

I said "no one's suggesting sexual deviance get special protection"

Bad anonymous said "please you are constantly whining how they need special protection, as if they were porcelain dolls".
I never said sexual deviants need special protection.

I said "What a just society does however is take steps to ameliorate the situation for a minority that is disproportionately singled out for assault and murder"

Bad anonymous said "yes, the same steps you would take if anyone else is "disproportionately singled out" send a cop car if they are threatened".
That's inadequate and the hate crime statistics prove it. A just society takes additional steps when its previous response is shown to be inadequate.

Bad anonymous said "in the situation last week, some idiotic tran was stupid enough to be strolling around alone at two in the morning in Southeast DC".
Typical of your idiocy - blame the victim for the assault on her.

I said "- that's LGBT people. This is not special protection as it protects heterosexuals in exactly the same way it protects gays"

Bad anonymous said "any normal person doing the same could be attacked in the same manner and no extra penalty or protection that's not exactly the same way".
False. If a person was attacked because they were heterosexual there would be a hate crime addition, exactly the same way gays are protected.

I said "This is no different than a school child being punished for saying his black classmates are inferior and don't have souls"

Bad anonymous said "well, there are numerous differences for one, being black is not a behavioral issue or a matter of desire it is a physical characteristic".
Irrelevant. In neither case should someone be demeaned for harmless characteristics. This is no different than a school child being punished for saying his black classmates are inferior and don't have souls.

September 24, 2011 12:24 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

I said "If you think his discussion doesn't belong in school you should have no problem with him being punished. Schools however do have a mandate to teach that all are equal and gays are not inherently bad people"

Bad anonymous said "schools have no business teaching whether anyone is inherently good or bad".
Don't be an idiot. Its extremely important for the white heterosexual majority to be taught blacks and gays are not bad people because of their blackness or gayness and as such should not be oppressed and attacked.

Bad anonymous said "that's a matter of opinion and not an empirically verifiable matter".
False. One can take whites and blacks and gays and straights in similar environments and to demonstrate that neither is inherently more likely to be anti-social. If you believed whether or not anyone is inherently good or bad is not verifiable you wouldn't be here ranting about how terrible gays are. That's one of the reasons why you're such a poor debater, in your "stream of conciousness" your priority is to insult and annoy and thus you spend insufficient time thinking about whether or not your arguments are logically consistent with each other - they rarely are.

September 24, 2011 12:24 PM  

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