Bullied Teenager in Buffalo, NY, Takes His Own Life
by Dan Savage
on Tue, Sep 20, 2011 at 7:55 AM
Some very sad news this morning out of upstate New York:
Jamey Rodemeyer needed help. At 14, he was grappling with adolescent demons that could torment grown men. And when he was online, he wrote about it. "I always say how bullied I am, but no one listens," he wrote Sept. 9. "What do I have to do so people will listen to me?" Just over one week later, Jamey was found dead outside his home of an apparent suicide.
In the months prior, he routinely blogged about school bullying and thoughts of suicide in between upbeat posts about his pop star idol Lady Gaga and the ordinary types of teen rants typical for kids his age. On Sept. 8, he wrote: "No one in my school cares about preventing suicide, while you're the ones calling me [gay slur] and tearing me down."
It sounds like Jamey had help—he was seeing a therapist and a social worker and his family was supportive—but it wasn't enough. Whatever help Jamey was getting clearly wasn't enough to counteract the hatred and abuse that he had endured since the fifth grade, according to reports, or Jamey's fears of having to face down a whole new set of bullies when he started high school next year. The Buffalo News quotes two comments that directed at Jamey by his peers:
"JAMIE IS STUPID, GAY, FAT ANND UGLY. HE MUST DIE!" read one post.
Another read: "I wouldn't care if you died. No one would. So just do it :) It would make everyone WAY more happier!"
Presumably those comments were posted publicly somewhere. I would like to know exactly where those comments were posted and if it's possible to identify the hateful, malicious little fucks who tormented this vulnerable kid. (Were they left on a Facebook page?) His tormenters need to be held to account—not bullied themselves, not prosecuted or persecuted, but held to account—for their actions, for their hate, for the harm they've caused. They should be asked if they're "WAY more happier" now, if they're pleased with themselves, and if they have anything to say to the mother of the child they succeeded in bullying to death.
And then there's this:
Last September, the "It Gets Better Project" was launched online as a place for adults—including high-profile celebrities—to reassure troubled and potentially suicidal lesbian, gay and bisexual youth that despite the taunting, bullying and physical abuse they face as adolescents and teens, life improves after high school. In May of 2011, Jamey posted [a] YouTube video with the description "Jamey From Buffalo, New York telling you, IT GETS BETTER!"
The point of the "It Gets Better" project is to give kids like Jamey Rodemeyer hope for their futures. But sometimes hope isn't enough. Sometimes the damage done by hate and by haters is simply too great. Sometimes the future seems too remote. And those are the times our hearts break.