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Gee Whillickers

14 year old victim of bullying commits suicide - even worse: he authored an "It Gets Better" video

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That's awful. I've been following the It Gets Better stories with interest, and I've been heartened by all the wonderful positive testimonies from so many people. It's always a tragedy when someone dies young, but for someone to die in such circumstances is heart-breaking.

If there is anything good that comes out of this story it's the confirmation that the It Gets Better campaign is necessary - it's addressing a very real problem despite what some politicians and legislators have been saying ('bullying isn't really a problem here').

My heart goes out to young Jamey Rodemeyer's family in their grief.

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How very sad, for the life lost and the parents who could not do anything about it. Its enough to make you cry.

Jamey posting to "It Gets Better" only serves to confuse because he didn't seem to understand it himself. In looking for further details on the local news scene in Buffalo I read the following article:

http://www.buffalonews.com/city/schools/article563538.ece

It isn't what was said by the news media. Repeating the hate speech posted to Jamey's social networking page only confirms the blind hatred that festers in his peers. But then go look at the commentary in response to the article.

The It Gets Better campaign has been labeled an athiestic venture in the mainstream Christian media and here again that comment is added to one of the posts. By labeling a gay led effort, although many posts are by straight people, as part of an athiest consipracy it blames that movement for the deaths of these kids. What a horror of disinformation.

Many of the comments on this and other articles on gay youth suicide scream about the immoral gay movement, as if the Christians who make these comments are blameless. I don't see anything Christian about spreading lies, this is all about feeling morally superior. Any religion based upon hate doesn't deserve to survive, we already have an Islamic Taliban, do we need a Christian one?

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Imagine if that lot joined forces.

They did, they are, and they will continue to be joining forces. They got Prop 8 passed here in California, they've moved forward with slashing any and all benefits for gay people in states across the nation, they are spending well over half a million dollars defending the Defense of Marriage Act in court, spending millions more trying to force the mlitary to undo the repeal of DADT, and in some states trying to re-pass sodomy laws so they can send you to jail.

They'll tell you we shoudl be thankful we don't live in Iran - or Uganda. Those mean people have no problem killing gays. Here all you have to do is shut up, sit in the corner and pretend you don't exist. Unless you start to get uppity, and then all they'll do is try and put you in jail.

Edit to add: So as many know, my partner and I are raising my niece and nephew. My nephew is now age 13 and playing Fall Ball (baseball) on the Juniors team. His teammates range in age from 12 to 14 and so I'm getting reminders four times a week on what it's like to be around teenagers full time - and a bunch of jocks at that. Some are quite dense, like one guy that had to have the stickers on the car pointed out to him (We have disney stickers, you know the stick figures representing families with mickey mouse ears on ). We even had to spell out for him Guy-Guy-Boy-Girl-Dog. Then his eyes got really wide and the light bulb went off over his head.

What's really pertinent to this thread is how he reacted. A lot of eye blinks and then the jokes started rolling again, just like they were before it was pointed out to him. The young man is quite the jokester and has been doing a lot of teasing back and forth. I was happy this continued, and that there weren't any real awkward silences.

When the subject about gay kids in his school came up, he got quiet for a moment. "I don't really know any, but if I did and they were being picked on I'd have to stick up for them." Hopefully he's not blowing smoke up my ass, but it's good to see there might be kids who at least pay lip service to that idea.

None of this will help the fourteen year old in this article but it's reassuring to know that change is happening. What this story points out, though, is that saying "It Gets Better" might be a good first step, but it's only a beginning. The next part has to be "We will MAKE it better." When it comes to fulfilling that next part, it is up to all of us, in our every day lives to work at making it better.

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I saw the national evening news video on the boy's suicide and that he'd made an It Gets Better video. Last year or the year before, a boy from my old school district had killed himself. It hit home for me, because of course, I remember how it felt when I was growing up. Heck, I hear homophobic b.s. even now.

I am sure that, and plenty else lately, is one of the things which prompted me to start posting at Codey's World and here at AwesomeDude again. (But no, I have not been totally silent or absent. I am out online and I'd be more out if I could, if some people weren't so (willfully) unaccepting.

I'd like to comment on what DK said:

Edit to add: So as many know, my partner and I are raising my niece and nephew. My nephew is now age 13 and playing Fall Ball (baseball) on the Juniors team. His teammates range in age from 12 to 14 and so I'm getting reminders four times a week on what it's like to be around teenagers full time - and a bunch of jocks at that. Some are quite dense, like one guy that had to have the stickers on the car pointed out to him (We have disney stickers, you know the stick figures representing families with mickey mouse ears on ). We even had to spell out for him Guy-Guy-Boy-Girl-Dog. Then his eyes got really wide and the light bulb went off over his head.

What's really pertinent to this thread is how he reacted. A lot of eye blinks and then the jokes started rolling again, just like they were before it was pointed out to him. The young man is quite the jokester and has been doing a lot of teasing back and forth. I was happy this continued, and that there weren't any real awkward silences.

When the subject about gay kids in his school came up, he got quiet for a moment. "I don't really know any, but if I did and they were being picked on I'd have to stick up for them." Hopefully he's not blowing smoke up my ass, but it's good to see there might be kids who at least pay lip service to that idea.

He learned something. He was confronted with something he hadn't considered, about friends of his, and he had to make a personal choice, at least while there, of what to think for himself and what to do. He did good, and that is a very rare and wonderful thing. Quite glad he kept joking. That's healthy for all of them. Hopefully, he'll think about it later, and not only listen to what other people say, but to what he himself feels toward his friends, in how to act. It sounds like he has the capacity to go beyond what "everyone else says," and think and do for himself. That's awesome.

Hmm. It sounds like he may not be so sure whether he knows any gay kids at school or not. (Aw, they haven't come out with those neon signs yet, have they?) -- Sure, he may be backpedalling some, but it sounds like he was thinking about that too, trying to adjust to something he hadn't considered in a situation he'd never thought he'd be in. He said the right thing and he was thinking about it. He did well while he was with y'all. That says again, he's capable of being more than he has been. It also says, together with the joking, that he might actually be one to be friendly and stand up for friends. I hope so. Shoot, I stood up for friends, and I wasn't the bravest guy in the world. I wasn't really able to stand up and own up to it about myself yet, but that might have been a good self-protection move, considering how I thought my parents and others would react. (I think I was both right and wrong on that last bit, btw.)

But it sounds like your nephew's teammate might at least have faced a test of his character and passed with pretty good grades. Not a bad first step. The chance to be around y'all and see that he's OK and your nephew's OK and you and your partner are OK, sounds like the kind of continuing education that'll help most. That he sounds like a kid who can think and stand on his own, well...that's more of a real man than many men ever are. Whatever his parents think, they ought to be proud of him for showing that much good character. -- Here's hoping he does great.

None of this will help the fourteen year old in this article but it's reassuring to know that change is happening. What this story points out, though, is that saying "It Gets Better" might be a good first step, but it's only a beginning. The next part has to be "We will MAKE it better." When it comes to fulfilling that next part, it is up to all of us, in our every day lives to work at making it better.

Absolutely. Out or not, we need to do what we can to make a difference. Being an accepting, caring person can make a huge difference. Just a smile and a genuine, "It's nice to see you," or "How are you?" can make a difference. I know there are days when hearing that has helped me feel better.

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