Succumbing to Defeat
Life is not often easy when you are different, especially when that difference is being gay. It can be a self imposed death sentence if you are a young, gay, harassed, bullied, humiliated and stigmatized student. Listed here are eight young men who could not overcome the force of enmity and hatred that surrounded them at their high schools.
The most recent was Jadin Bell in January 2013. Despite an enormous support system across the USA for LGBT people, including gay youth; despite the popular ‘It Gets Better’ video program so visible on the Internet; despite the many Gay-Straight Alliances in schools; despite the cultural shift toward marriage equality; despite ‘Will and Grace’ and ‘Glee’; despite the countless LGBT social media networking–despite all this ’emergence’ of gay life in America, each individual comes to inner terms with his or her sexuality in a fragile, delicate and sensitive manner at their own pace. It is a gradual tentative process over time as self-acceptance builds into an confident identity.
But for homophobic students a gay classmate is a target for all the irrational pent up anger and hatred they have consciously and unconsciously accumulated from their family, church, school and government over their young and teen years. Bullies brutally steamroll over a gay classmate’s coming-0f-age and completely disregard the truth of natural same-sex attraction. With their crimes of aggression they violate the identity of another human being.
Fortunately, most LGBT student are able to survive the assaults and insults and move on to college and away from home where they find community and love.
But sadly a few succumb to the war against them and surrender their lives to darkness. Here are the most recent gay youngsters who have committed suicide in the past year. (Photos are in order of the names.)
January 2012 Phillip Parker 14
January 2012 Eric James Borges 19
January 2012 Jeffrey Fehr 18
January 2012 Rafael Morelos 14
April 2012 Kenneth Weishuhn 14
April 2012 Jack Reese 17
June 2012 Brandon Elizares 16
January 2013 Jadin Bell 15
(This list was derived from http://quipsnquills.com/wordpress/?p=17349)
Opposite these tragic suicides is the remarkable story of Jacob Rudolph, a gay 17-year old who courageously declared to an assembly of his high school peers that he is gay. This was followed by a standing ovation and brought him an invitation to appear on Anderson Cooper’s TV talk show. (photo left)