Is it Getting Better? 14-Year Old Gay Bullying Victim Lost to Suicide

20 Sep

Jamey Rodemeyer

This weekend, after years of bullying, and telling anyone who could listen about it – 14-year old Jamey Rodemeyer took his own life.

Since 5th grade, Jamey had been dealing with taunts from his classmates and routinely blogged and posted online about what he was going through. He would speak against bullying frequently and even call out his own school which he said was doing nothing about it. Just last week, Jamey wrote:

“No one in my school cares about preventing suicide, while you’re the ones calling me fag and tearing me down.”

His attentive parents frequently would speak to him about what he was going through and in recent months, it seemed as though either the bullying had subsided or that Jamey had learned how to brush it off. but then late Saturday night, Jamey posted two final comments to his Tumblr blog – the first saying how he wanted to see his Grandmother (who had recently died) and another was a message of thanks to Lady Gaga. The following is a line from Lady Gaga’s song, “The Queen”

According to Buffalo News, “He touched so many hearts, so many people,” said his mother, Tracy Rodemeyer, who met with some of his grief-stricken friends at Williamsville North on Monday. “I didn’t realize how many people he touched. He was the sweetest, kindest kid you’d ever know. He would give all his heart to you before he gave any to himself.”

Olivia Rinaldo, an eighth-grader at Heim Middle School, said she was drawn to his outwardly upbeat and extroverted personality. He made friends of the friendless, she said.

“He was always putting people first,” she said. “He always wanted other people to smile, even on the worst of his days.”

Jamey also had a Formspring account which allows anonymous comments to user’s posts. In recent months, some of those commenters said things including:

“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 is another in a long line of teens who’ve succumbed to endless bullying and torture. This is not a rite of passage. Being tormented can make some stronger and cause them to come out of it and succeed in spite of their bullies. But some of us aren’t prepared for the kind of harassment young LGBT kids receive.

We need to be doing more.

Just a few months ago, young Jamey made this “It Gets Better” video. It’s very difficult to watch knowing what this child was going through when he made it. Despite his own circumstances – it was important to him that he help other kids feel better about themselves. Please watch and share Jamey’s story so that maybe one more kid won’t have to go through this.

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6 Responses to “Is it Getting Better? 14-Year Old Gay Bullying Victim Lost to Suicide”

  1. NG September 20, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

    I posted the following on August 28

    http://ngforequality.blogspot.com/2011/08/did-it-gets-better-project-fail-kailee.html?m=1

    It got zero response.

    There can be no doubt anymore that all Dan Savage has done is create a venue for people to escape culpability and personal responsibility and accountability by allowing people to make videos online, cash in on the celebrity by getting a book and TV deal from this, all the while, kids like Jamey and Kailee were left alone to fend for themselves.

    And then people wonder why I’m so bitchy and embittered.

    • Jamie McGonnigal September 20, 2011 at 1:55 pm #

      While the “It Gets Better” Project has not saved every teen contemplating suicide, I have personally met several now for whom it has. I don’t think Dan Savage had any expectations that by having videos posted on YouTube, that it would save every young LGBT life. But speaking from personal experience, I can tell you it has not failed.

      It Gets Better cannot be a catch-all for every teen that isn’t getting the help he or she deserves and to expect that of it is naive. What exactly is your problem with the campaign? Is it that the videos, books, commercials, etc are not saving every life? Is it that Dan Savage has gained some notoriety from it? Is it that the Trevor Project has made millions and now been honored by the White House? The project itself never claims that it will solve all the problems of LGBT bullying, in fact Dan Savage and others involved in IGB have quite clearly stated that it can’t end with making videos. IGB has backed petitions and other campaigns involving anti-bullying legislation and I believe it to be a very worthwhile organization.

      I’m sorry, but so frequently, we have campaigns within this movement for one micro-cause or another and we as a community have this vile tendency to attempt to bring down anyone who is trying to make a difference.

  2. NG September 20, 2011 at 2:56 pm #

    Obviously, you’re not paying attention. If you would have, then you would know that I’ve been arguing against bloggers and activists who’s shared activist focus has been sold in exchange for their outrage in in exchange for front page status, a membership to the InsidersOut group, or an all expenses paid trip to a Netroots, Haas, or Creating Change convention,

    And you would have known that I wholeheartedly endorsed the It Gets Better Project back on September 28, 2010:

    http://ng1260.blogspot.com/2010/09/im-just-saying-it-gets-better.html

    I was also not the first person to express my doubts; in fact, it came later.

    But once the celebrities, politicians, and A-gays with no integrity whatsoever began submitting their videos and Savage didn’t say a damn thing about how it’s these people who are having it both ways being the problem – not the religious right because they’ve been on rinse, lather, repeat mode for decades – then as a blogger and would be activist, I would be remiss if I didn’t address this problem within our community.

    I know others do and they’re being treated quite well: they’re interviewing porn stars and rappers, they’re being invited into book parties and attending Broadway plays, meanwhile there you are debating me about an teen who obviously tried to reach out but no one was listening.

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  5. Liz June 20, 2012 at 11:59 pm #

    This is so sad, first of all why would other kids make fun of Jamie he was a sweet kid. And I hated when kids get picked on I’m I’m high school but when I was in 8th grade I got bullied and no one even cared the only person who cared was my gym teacher. So what I was saying it doesn’t matter what kids look like they can be gay by and so on there still just kids and all of them should be treated with respect. And with the other kids who’s been bullyied because they are. Those kids are the same people Dont bully them because they have a disiibilites or something else we are all different people but in a good way. I hope this is enough so bye

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