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Gee Whillickers

Hi. I'm Jonah...

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That's posted on YouTube.

That took immense courage to write and to film himself. He's stronger and more of a man than any of the phobic idiots who leave bigoted or hateful comments.

He is, at least to me, one of the reasons sites like AwesomeDude, Codey's World, and so many others are needed online. Simply by being ourselves, warts and all, and putting out our message that it's OK to be you, including if you're gay or otherwise different, we have the chance to make someone's life a little better for a little while, and maybe permanently.

It made a huge difference to me to find stories that said there were other people with the same feelings and the same very ordinary hopes and realities of living a regular life...including as a gay person...or handicapped...or otherwise different.

I hope he keeps on and finds that there are other guys and girls who like and love him for who he is. Back in 8th and 9th grade, I was too often lonely and sometimes desperate. And I just saw my cousin's son, who's 14, last week, a great young guy, shy and finally beginning to come out of his shell and show the kind of man he can grow up to be. This old world needs young guys like the young man in that video, and like my shy young cousin.

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I assume this video is authentic. It's amazing and sad and frustrating and made me so goddamn angry. I feel so sorry for Jonah. I wish I was there to hug him and help him and convince him that he is worthwhile.

The problem is, being STRONGER isn't enough. In middle school HAVING FRIENDS is critical.

In the intermediate (middle) school I attended there's a Buddy program that helps kids who are having problems fitting in. When I was in the eighth grade I was a Buddy. It's sort of like the Big Brothers/Big Sisters programs but with kids in the same school as the ones they are helping: their peers. This is a very important part of the program because kids will trust other kids before they'll trust an adult and because kids their age understand their problems. A Buddy becomes like a caring brother to a kid, he becomes a best friend and confidant, he has their back, he makes sure they aren't being hassled by anyone, he takes the same bus or walks to school with them, he helps them with their homework and studying for tests, he helps them make friends of their own.

BTW, this kid is an amazing actor if he's not the one having the problem.

Colin :icon_geek:

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I'm of the opinion it's authentic. If not, he's one hell of an actor.

This video was posted in August. Before school started. Read through the comments on the youtube video page. He seems to have support, and has gathered a bit of a support group around him, at least a virtual one. Unfortunately, as is so often the case, not all the comments are positive. Some of them are just continuing the bullying, calling him a crybaby, etc.

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Jesus, that is heartbreaking. There's only about 1000 hits -- I hope the kid hung on. (This was posted back in August.)

Wow -- hundreds of comments added just today, if I read my YouTube correctly. So apparently people are stumbling upon this. Maybe the kid will take heart and heed the encouragement.

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Jesus, that is heartbreaking. There's only about 2000 hits (but something like 20,000 "likes", which makes no sense) -- I hope the kid hung on. (This was posted back in August.)

Wow -- hundreds of comments added just today, if I read my YouTube correctly. So apparently people are stumbling upon this. Maybe the kid will take heart and heed the encouragement.

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This is heartbreaking. At first, I thought whoever was off to the side was making him do this. As I continued to watch, I decide someone was there for encouragement and support.

It also reminds me a story I've been reading at GAStories, Indiana Summer by NightOwl88. One of the protagonists is a cutter.

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Evidently sometime yesterday, it got attention from a few people who were moved and pushed it viral. The comments started pouring in. Good, for all the supportive people. Bad, all the cyber-bullies.

At least one YouTube partner "liked" the video, which meant it got Recommended to subscribers like me, after I'd seen Gee's link.

He may also get real world support from some respected, empathetic people who've seen it or who got emails, calls, etc., if that's deemed appropriate by both sides.

About to check the response video.

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Cool, he's doing some better, standing up for himself more, and yes, he's saying there he's gay. (In the first video, he wrote he was being called gay which left unwritten if he is. But yes, here, he says it.) Good job, awesome honesty, being for real.

On that same YT channel, there's a new video with him and a friend or relative, lip synching and dancing around to a song, having fun. Much, much better, regular teen stuff. Wishing him all the best and plenty of friends.

But hey, he needs our good thoughts. Let's hope he gets a lot more with real world friends.

...And just maybe some other young guys and girls can see all that and know they are cared about and have a better future ahead with people who love them...

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Since this video went viral I've seen a few stories about it today in online newspapers. I, too, was a bit worried because in the original video he never claims he was gay, just that people were insulting him. Yet, the stories I've read had headlines such as, "Gay bullied teen makes touching video."

I feel a bit better now that I've seen the follow up video. But he never comes out and states his sexuality in that one either, just hints at it. In any case, it looks like (hopefully) that will be a non-issue. I'd hate for this kid to have it even worse thanks to well meaning but unthinking internet bloggers and news media who either unintentionally or inaccurately outs him.

As to how it went viral, I'm not quite sure where it started, but somewhere in the early part of it yesterday it got tweeted by George Takei. I think that had a lot to do with it.

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There have been some fantastic response videos from others, though.

The hateful comments...they don't have any idea what it's like. The ones who say to someone in need like that, to just cheer up or quit whining...they think they get it, but they are dangerously wrong.

I notice, though, that the positive, supportive comments far, far outnumber the negatives. Some of 'em are putting their faces and voices and names to it, to stand up for someone they've never met besides a video from a young guy trying very hard to admit something deeply private, and yet brave enough to speak out. -- And so here we have thousands of people speaking up or typing up messages saying they care, or that they've been through it. I sure wish a handful of friends no longer in this world were still alive to see such an outpouring of love.

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I'm one to take things at face value. At the beginning, he looked like he was at the bottom but as it went on and to the end his strength came thru. He may not have smiled, but you could see he was taking the first steps to being himself. I read the description that he expanded on recently, good going!

In the words of Triumph. Never Surrender!

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Jonah just released a statement where he does talk about coming out, and says his parents saw the video for the first time over the weekend (December 2). Almost 3.7 million hits so far. And the kid does seem to be doing OK now.

There's been over 278,000 comments about the video so far!

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Is this the same person?

http://www.youtube.c...ser/RandomTV201

Yes, E.J., that's the same young guy, now a few months after that separate video. There was a reply video, but as you noted, it was pulled in the last two days due to vicious negative comments or comments that show the respondents simply have no understanding of depression or the problems of bullying and self-acceptance, or gender and sexual orientation (or perceived same).

The new videos were posted in just the past few days, I think to celebrate and show he's doing a little better. I'm guessing that's his sister or a close friend in the videos with him, and that it's her channel, RandomTV201. I take that for plain old teenagers acting goofy and letting off steam, a healthy, normal reaction.

There are now several supportive response videos from other people, reacting to his video. Several quite good.

What I'd seen was that not only did it start going viral, thanks to YouTube partners and ordinary people, but it started getting seen by people with enough reputation and wherewithal to spread the word and begin showing more support. (Celebrities, journalists, activists, etc.)

I had seen a thank-you response posted earlier today from RandomTV201's channel. -- I hadn't seen news that his parents now know. But that's better, if they accept him. -- I'd be tempted to ask how could they not have a clue that's one of the underlying issues he was so depressed and cutting, but I seem to recall a certain teen boy who somehow was afraid to tell his parents, either in junior high, high school, or college; and who gave up trying to tell friends after two big crushes went bust. (Me, that is.) I never did know if my parents knew or accepted that I was gay. My mom may have clued in, but wasn't sure. -- But I remained shut down about it, adamantly, too convinced and stubborn to go there. (And whether that was smart or foolish or silly and unnecessary, I doubt I'll ever know.) -- So I can see how his parents might be late learning anything. I hope they'll support him.

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Just a note, that E.J.'s post gave as its second link an ABC News article. Jonah's for real, it's not a hoax, as some people have been claiming. I don't quite see how they could think he was acting. From experience, you just can't act a blush like that, or the other body language, from fear and feeling humiliated, but being determined to admit something you or others find so difficult to handle. And it's brought so much attention to bullying, depression, or the anxieties about coming out, that I'd say it would have been useful even so. But it's genuine. And it shows just how it feels for far too many bright kids/teens out there, who would otherwise love school and life.

There's a tiny part of me that hopes someone showed it to my homophobic aunt. It just might soak in that thick head of hers. (Yes, personal gripe, but it's another example of what kids out there have to deal with.)

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Three things from that Huffington Post article really resonate with me.

One is a phrase I've used before: "friends we haven't met yet." It may be a long-distance friend we haven't met, present day. We get to know people on forums or blogs or other places online, and feel a connection, a friendship, even if we never have met them. Or those friends may be people in our future, whom we will meet someday. How many people have you met in the last five or ten years who've been friends? Then think how five or ten or twenty years from now, you might meet someone who changes your whole world, because you like each other. I would never, ever have guessed, back when I was 14, that I'd one day have friends half a planet away or several states away, who have helped reshape my world. Once in a while, those people are around the corner in the real world, not online.

Another is that we all need backup, someone to lean on. Obvious, right? And one of the reasons people feel alone, because they feel they don't have that backup. Some of us are ornery cusses who think we can go it alone. Well, even if that's true most of the time, there will always be those times when we want and really *need* someone. Feel alone? What did I just say about those friends we haven't met yet? There are thousands upon thousands who do "get it" about Jonah, and would be glad to be friends. They may not be right there in person, but they are there. Yes, you need people locally, in person, for real. But long-distance friends can still give good words, heartfelt words, real words. People get worried, with reason, about the anonymity and face-saving and sometimes mask-creation on the internet. Yet there are also real, honest, everyday people online who do give a damn. They exist out in real life. Be careful, online and in the real world offline, for sure, but know there are people who honestly want to lend their good words and friendship online. And find the people locally, not online, who can help you, because they are there.

Then there is that need for someone real world to lean on, to give a hug to you, and for you to give a hug to. As human beings, we need support emotionally and physically, remotely and right there in person. We may not be quite comfortable with a hug or with letting someone know we need help, but we still need those things. We need those connections through our five senses. Even if not all those senses work quite so well, we need what we can have. That look in the eyes, that tone of voice, the body language, the scent of someone else, the touch, even if it's simply being in the same room sitting together. We need that person to lean on, to carry us, sometimes literally. We need that person to lean on and carry us, figuratively too, with their support, their words.

We all have real-world needs. If those aren't met, we feel slighted, less whole or fulfilled. Or we can even get so desperate that we cry out in many ways, hoping someone pays attention. When one young guy videos himself and opens up that much, showing how he really feels deep down, even if he has to force himself to go on despite his misgivings, just on the off chance that someone out there might get it, well, we had better listen and respond somehow. Or we're all worse off than we think. Not only is it amazing that he did what he did, and gained a little bit of strength from the admission, getting it off his chest, but it is amazing that hundreds of thousands of people cared enough to comment or video reply. There just might be hope for us all yet.

He did something he thought was just him. It reached out to others and made them want to change, to help, to connect. It riled up some of us to say this must change, there must be something more, something better than this, for that young guy and for everyone like him. That is a heroic thing. He wasn't trying to be a hero, but what he did is making a difference. I can't think of much better present for the holidays. Yes, Jonah and friends, there really is a chance for a better life for all of us. Somehow. We just have to keep on, and help each other out in the process.

Hurray! OK, back to it.

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I'm kind of late to this conversation, mostly because the tears that have gotten in the way of rational thought.. Blue, I know your passion, and you are not alone. I presented this video to our County (Dona Ana) Unity Coalition to fight bullying in our schools and our whole community. But that was preaching to the choir...they already got it. Bullying has escalated in our schools and they understood that it is a growing problem and that it.continues on in the work place because of what these kids are taught. Yes, many people finally get it as they mature and see the laws, but it shouldn't have to go that far.

Just keep trying. People don't change easily, but with a lot of us out there saying what we believe in, eventually change can happen.

My fear is of the lives lost and of the futures denied,

Richard

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I'm kind of late to this conversation, mostly because the tears that have gotten in the way of rational thought.. Blue, I know your passion, and you are not alone. I presented this video to our County (Dona Ana) Unity Coalition to fight bullying in our schools and our whole community. But that was preaching to the choir...they already got it. They understood that it is a growing problem and that it.continues on in the work place because of what these kids are taught. Yes, many people finally get it as they mature and see the laws, but it shouldn't have to go that far.

Just keep trying. People don't change easily, but with a lot of us out there saying what we believe in, eventually change can happen.

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