If being gay is so much easier in this day and age, why are kids still killing themselves over it?
Jamey Rodemeyer's It Gets Better Video
Visit The It Gets Better Project Website
If being gay is so much easier in this day and age, why are kids still killing themselves over it? (For those of you who will leave bible quotations below, I all ready know your thoughts on the matter.) Recently a young man named Jamey Rodemeyer committed suicide. The claim is that he was bullied in school with the usual gay taunts and chose to end his life instead of endure the bullying. I’m sorry to say I was not shocked to hear of another suicide related to bullying nor that this young man identified as bisexual and felt this had caused much of his taunting at school. What I was surprised about was that this young man had actually made a video for the It Gets Better campaign (a web campaign devoted to people submitting videos to let kids know that “It Gets Better” so as to discourage them from committing suicide). I began wondering why a kid who knew about this project that I felt was so good and important and doing all the right things would still choose to end his life, even after making and submitting his own video. I got mad. I’m still angry.
I am not one of those gays who had a traumatic coming out. I always knew I was gay and I’m pretty sure my parents, brother, extended family and anyone who ever met me did too. I was bullied through all of my school days and while I cried and lied about the bruises I never thought of taking my own life. Maybe you can chalk it up to my mother’s excellent administration of Jewish guilt (I knew it would kill her if I killed myself). I grew up way before gays were known as gays. There was no Glee, no Lady Gaga. We had Paul Lynde (who told everyone he was straight) and a handful of other people who all seemed more a stereotypical character like the court jester than an actual gay human being. (Even today the gay characters on television appear this same way more often than we’d all like to see)
So I began to wonder how I survived and even thrived in the game of life when I didn’t have The Trevor Project (excellent resource for gay teens thinking of suicide) or even the online It Gets Better project. What I believe made the biggest difference for me was that I had parents who instilled in me a very important quality, I’ve never spent a day of my life not knowing I was loved or wondering whether or not my parents loved me. That’s right, even as I brought home the first failing grade ever in my family (in geometry the same year my brother was named the best in the state in mathematics), when I lied and got caught, and even when I brought home a six foot black man who was a former altar boy as my spouse. No matter what I’ve done in my life I’ve always tried to make my parents proud of me. My father told me to be an honest man and my mother told me it was more important to be a good person than anything else. But most importantly, they loved me and let me know that doing these things were all it would ever take for me to make them proud of me.
I am not suggesting that Jamey’s parents didn’t tell him he was loved and I’m not suggesting that this is some cure-all for the teen suicide epidemic going on, especially by gay teens. As I write this there are thousands of people who are demanding Jamey’s tormentors be put through the legal system for hate crimes against this young boy. But are the bullies the ones responsible for this young man’s death? More importantly, what can we do to prevent not just one more kid from taking their own life but all of them?
My thought would be that we all need to start building up the self-esteem of kids so that bullying and taunts don’t penetrate so deeply to the psyches of these kids. Yes, I’m saying we have to make tougher kids. How do we do that? We don’t allow kids to manipulate their parents who find it easier to agree with the kids than to discipline and follow through with the discipline no matter how much they whine. Boundaries, people! We show kids that there are consequences for every action you take in life no matter how old you are and that if you don’t learn this early on then society will teach it to you from the inside of a prison cell eventually. But mostly importantly, let’s not give them a false sense of self-esteem and have the entire population become as delusional as the contestants on American Idol who can’t stay on pitch let alone sing and are angry at the world because they didn’t get a gold ticket. You have to earn other people and respect for yourself by being an honest person and a good person.
Look, the world is nuts out there. All you have to do is look around. When you have people hoping to become the next leaders of our country stand silent while their followers clap for the death penalty and boo a gay soldier fighting for all of our rights no one is safe. But I’m not going to kill myself over morons like these with their bullying mob mentality and neither should any kid when faced with their own attackers. We need to teach kids that they are responsible for how they feel and that they should not give that power to the bullies in school or in life. And to all the gay kids out there, shhhh, don’t tell anyone but it gets better because gays ARE better! Just watch my video for the It Gets Better Campaign!
Some Like It Scott's It Gets Better Video
- Preventing Suicide Among LGBTQ Youth | The Trevor Project
The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth.
A great site from an award winning educator and author!
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An acquired taste, like Tab cola, Some Like It Scott is one gay man's experiences with love, life and things that make him crazy, all done to a musical theatre soundtrack.