Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Makes You Want to Holler

More tragic news about yet another teen suicide.

James Hubley was 15 years old.  He lived in Ottawa.  He was openly gay at A. Y. Jackson Secondary in Kanata, a suburb of Canada's capital city.  He was bullied.  He died on Saturday, October 15.

I want you to know a little about this young man, and what he went through.  The following excerpts are from "Gay Ottawa teen bared his emotional pain on blog," by Matthew Pearson, published in today's Vancouver Sun:

In his blog, James wrote:  "I wish I could be happy, I try, I try, I try....  I just want to feel special to someone."

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for Canadians between the ages of 10 and 24 and disproportionately affects gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth.

...The sensitive boy was struggling with being out in high school and often felt the sting of verbal bullying.  ...All that Jamie wanted was what every teen wants, somebody to love.

His friend, Steph Wheeler said:  "I just remember him wanting a boyfriend so bad....  I think he wanted someone to love him for who he was...."

...He wrote of his sadness and despair, about being called a "fag."

James said:  ...Being gay in high school was so hard--a thousand times harder in real life than on the popular television show, Glee....

"I hate being the only open gay guy in school.  It fucking sucks, I really want it to end," he wrote.

On Friday, Jamie made a final, heartbreaking post [on his blog].  He thanked his family and his friends, but wrote that he just couldn't take any more.

"It's just too hard," he wrote, later referencing It Gets Better, a popular online campaign in which millions of people have posted heartfelt messages directed at young people struggling with their sexuality and acceptance in the world.

"I don't want to wait three more years, this hurts too much.  How do you even know it will get better?"

As I sit here in front of my laptop, reflecting on everything above, I don't even know what to write anymore.

This young man, this precious soul, killed himself because he was gay.  Can there be any less a reason to kill yourself, especially since there's nothing wrong with being gay?  This isn't good enough, dear readers.  What can we do to get the message out that this isn't good enough?  That we're not going to accept this?  That this can't happen again?

Accountability.  I want someone held accountable for James's death.  James took the pills that ended his life, yes.  But he died at the hands of others.  They are responsible.  They have his blood on them.  They made life intolerable for him, put the gun to his head, and pulled the trigger.

Who is to blame?  Our culture?  James's parents?  The principal and teachers at the school he attended?  The bullies?  Religion?  Who?  I want to know.  You should want to know.  All of us should want--need--this to end.  

Because, you know what?  This could have been me.  This could easily have been me.  In the 1970s.  When the bullying I put up with for years was so harsh and bitter, I didn't know if I could take it.  How easy it would have been to find my mother's bottle of Valium and consume every pill.  I wanted my pain to end.  I would have done anything to make my pain end.  Except, thank God, commit suicide.  Somehow, I found the strength.  I don't know where, but I did.  

You bet I'm pissed off.  I'm angry as hell, and you should be, too.  We cannot accept this any longer.  None of us.  Our young people deserve better.  None of them deserve to die because they're gay.  This has to stop.


(I encourage you to click here to check out Ian Capstick's terrific article "Coming Out Should Be Easier," published in the Ottawa Citizen on October 18, regarding the recent suicide of James Hubley, and what we can do to stop the insanity.  Thanks, Sarah, for bringing this to my attention so I can bring it to the attention of my readers.  I appreciate your thoughtfulness and support.)

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