Heartbreaking News: Teen Who Made ‘It Gets Better’ Video Commits Suicide
Remember the “It Gets Better” YouTube video that went viral last fall? It was created by columnist Dan Savage and his partner, Terry, and the aim was to let young people facing harassment – particularly those who are LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi or trans) – know that they are not alone and that things truly do get better. The project has since turned into a worldwide movement that has inspired tens of thousands of people to create their own “It Gets Better” videos (famous faces from Ellen DeGeneres to President Barack Obama have participated, as well as countless everyday people affected by bullying and harassment).
Some heart-wrenching news has surfaced about Jamey Rodemeyer, a 14-year-old boy from Buffalo, New York, who made his own “It Gets Better” video back in May. Rodemeyer was found dead early Monday morning after an apparent suicide, reports wgrz.com. In the video, he speaks about being bullied in middle school: “People would just keep sending me hate, telling me that gay people go to hell… It was a constant taunting. The same people over and over.”
Fortunately, Jamey’s parents Tracy and Tim Rodemeyer were aware of the situation and they spoke with Jamey’s school about what was going on. Jamey received counseling from a social worker and therapist, and his family was very supportive – but it wasn’t enough.
Just reading what Jamey endured before taking his own life is painful. He blogged a lot about his feelings on being bullied (in his last post he thanked Lady Gaga) and, as Buffalo News reports, he opened a Formspring account last year, which permits anonymous posts. He received ones like these:
“JAMIE IS STUPID, GAY, FAT ANND UGLY. HE MUST DIE!”
“I wouldn’t care if you died. No one would. So just do it 🙂 It would make everyone WAY more happier!”
Jamey’s family and friends say he was always troubled, that he often had suicidal thoughts, but his mom thought he was getting better. She told Buffalo News that when the family went camping this past weekend, her son seemed happy. “He used to cry about [being taunted], be sad and angry,” she said. “But lately, he’s been blowing them off, or at least we thought he was.”
I cannot even begin to comprehend how Jamey’s parents must be feeling right now. It is such a tragedy and just so heartbreaking that this poor child felt so hopeless and alone – and that he’d be teased so incessantly for his sexuality. The sad reality is that this type of bullying happens every day.