“People were really cruel to me, bullied a lot, beat up, thrown against the walls, lockers, windows, stuffed into bathroom stalls, people shit on my car, people scratched my car, broke my windows.. and my parents went in to talk to the school administrators about the harassment I was getting in school. One of them basically said ‘If you look that way, talk that way, walk that way, act that way, then there’s nothing we can do to help your son.'” Terry, the partner of Dan Savage (founder of the It Gets Better Project), said these words in the video above. I chose to highlight these words because it highlights the fundamental problem in the way human beings think about sexuality that lead to further bullying and supporting sexual assault.
Today I read about Jamey Rodemeyer’s death. Reading about it broke my heart, man.. It really did.. He was so young. I watched his video for the It Gets Better Project (Yes, he made a video encouraging hope months before he took his life). It was obvious he was sweet, sensitive and conscious. We really needed more people like him. Lets not waste the impact of his death because each and every one of us is a special, ordinary person that matters. I am thankful that he had a supportive community to balance evil he faced from his peers. I want to say thank you to the people who stood by him. I hope none of his supporters are blaming themselves for this. You did more than you will ever know. I’m so, so sorry his life ended this way.
I used to think suicide was selfish. The first time someone very close to me in my family attempted suicide, I was angry for years. I thought this person was inconsiderate to the people around them and weak. It took me 5 or 6 years to understand how much grief comes over someone to consider suicide. That person is so far gone into hopelessness, so far gone.. I can hardly imagine. The second time someone else in my family attempted suicide, I was full of rage at the people I felt pushed him to it. Yeah, this person chose to attempt suicide but those people.. pushed and pushed and pushed and pushed. Eventually, a person will break down, no matter how strong willed they are.
When someone is in this kind of aching, it is important to be compassionate. The world has already been brutal enough toward them.
Terry’s words in the video above struck home with me. If he had been different, if he had done something different, then he could receive help. Lets place the blame where it belongs: on the one bullying, shaming and being an inconsiderate evil little monster. As much anger as I have toward these people that pushed this kid this far, I know that the way to beat anything is to be the thing it is not. What they offered was hate; we can offer love. I don’t mean being soft. I mean being challenging and educating. I mean, stretching the boundaries of the heart and finding a way past our anger to kick this kind of thing to the curb. Enough.
It was enough a long time ago but goddamnit, no more. Be kind to each other. Please, for the love of this kid, be kind. Whatever your actions are it is your thoughts that fuel the energy behind them. Pay attention; they matter.