As a young guy I was bullied in school, fortunately I had a great support system of educators and my parents who I could turn too. I never thought of taking my own life – so I’m outraged and saddened that young gay men feel they have no other option when they are bullied but to take their own lives. I cannot stand idly by and watch my gay brothers -our gay children- take their lives – and I am calling for accountability.
The epidemic continues as 17 year old Terrel Williams, a Clover Park High School student, took his life Oct. 13th, just hours after being attacked by five classmates. His mother found his body hanging in a closet at their family’s vacation home in Lakewood, Wash.
Then, Corey Jackson, a 19-year-old student at Oakland University in southeast Michigan, committed suicide late Tuesday in the woods outside his college campus. Both young men were openly gay.
Before taking his life, Terrel detailed in a note, saying that coming out and his relationship with his boyfriend, were some of the best things in his life.
“I’m sorry to my immediate loved ones, but I feel suicide is the only way out,” “Today, was the record worst day of my life, some kids at school stole some of my stuff that I got from people I really cared about, and that really pushed me over the top, next to being shoved into a wall, and my ribs being broken.”
This is beyond sad. Why did he have no one to turn too?. Again, I just can’t even comprehend that suicide was his only choice.
Hundreds gathered in the rain Wednesday night to mourn Corey, many students wore purple in support of Jackson. But in my eyes, wearing purple is not enough it’s too little too late. Jackson’s aunt, Kim Jones, said that Corey that had recently been having a “difficult time.” “He said ‘I don’t know what’s wrong. Ever since I came out people are treating me different. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know where I belong,” Jones said.
Cheryl Williams, Terrel’s mother, tweeted, “My son meant the world, and high school bullies pushed him over the edge. I hope and pray, that no other child ever has to go through what he did. Bullying isn’t worth it. Why can’t people just be nice?”
As the epidemic continues it’s time to call for accountability. Educators, parents, politicians need to step up to plate and address this issue. Bullies need to be punished and more importantly counseled. And the parents of bullies also need to be counseled. I hold them accountable. Who is teaching their children such hatred towards others? I want the names of these kids that are bullying and their parents published in the media – lets see how they like all the attention. More importantly, lets make this a teachable moment and not have these deaths in vain.
Crimes against the LGBTQ community are escalating. This Sunday, the family of Brian Betts joins me to discuss this issue on my radio show. Brian was the DC school principal who was murdered by men who targeted him on a gay chat site. The trial for the 3 men starts next month and I am asking – “Why are they not charged with a hate crime?” Also joining me is the family attorney, Rene Sandler, an expert on the issue of bullying. Please show your support by joining in the conversation. We need creative ideas and solutions to this epidemic.
click here to listen Sunday night at 8:00pm