Wednesday, September 21, 2011


A few days ago I got a text message from a dear friend with a story. A tragedy, actually. The story, as I had heard it, was nothing new- but I hadn't heard something like it since last October. Since I last visited the issue of teen suicide and bullying here. A rampant wave of teen suicides had taken the nation, and they were all LGBT youth who felt there was no room for them in a heterocentric world. Who felt that the pressure to be straight, the bullying, and being made fun of by all who surrounded them was just to much to handle, so they took their own lives. I thank SA, EC and EA for getting me through that day.
Dan Savage and his partner Terry Miller began a project called "It Gets Better".  Hundreds and thousands of videos were submitted to youtube, from the President to gay Orthodox Jews, from celebrities to the average Jamey.  He swore he'd fight off bullying. He swore he wouldn't let them get to him anymore, and he swore that he understood it would get better.  So many people put so much effort into making the world a safer place for LGBT youth and adolescents, and so many people seemed to be on board with the cause. It was a remarkable project.

When I heard the news about Jamey Rodemeyer, a fourteen year old from Buffalo, New York who had taken his own life, I did some research. Jamey was a blogger, Jamey was a youtube vlogger, Jamey was an activist, Jamey was only fourteen. Jamey inspired hundreds with his posts and writings, myself included. Somewhere along the way it became too much for him. So on September 18th at 2am, Jamey Rodemeyer tweeted goodbye to his support system, the ever wonderful Lady Gaga, for her work and belief in equal rights for all. He said goodbye to his "mother" and raised his "paws up" forever. Jamey took his own life at fourteen years old.
This story is one of many. This story makes me cry not simply because a child committed suicide, not simply because he was bullied, not simply because he was gay, but touches my heart because he was an activist like me. He was strong. His friends have spoken wonderfully about how strong their friend Jamey was.
I wish I could've met Jamey. I wish I could've spoken to Jamey. I wish to God that he watched the It Gets Better video I released last year, just in hopes that he knew there was and is hope out there. I will miss this boy I had never met. I will miss the impact he was capable of having on the world. I will miss his strength and I will miss the hundred years of life he did not get to live because people decided he wasn't worth it. Because other people decided that he was a joke.
A few hours ago, Lady GaGa began a campaign, which is now trending on Twitter, to spur the movement for anti-bullying legislation. Tonight, Anderson Cooper, joined by Tracy and Tim Rodemeyer, Jamey's parents, hosted a segment about the incredible life of Jamey (here).  Although it took a few days, the news of Jamey Rodemeyer has finally reached the national public, and should not fade until the bullying stops. Until the hatred and the violence stops. Until the Jameys of the world get to live past 14 years old.
Here are some links about Jamey and the interviews/articles/campaigns his untimely death has sparked:!/ladygaga/status/116634542135189504


  1. Watched his "It Gets Better" video and cried all the way through.

  2. No Jamey, apparently it didn't get better. So sad. I wonder about a new generation where 13 and 14 year olds have cell phones, YouTube accounts, Facebook profiles, Formsprings, MySpaces, blogs, emails etc etc. Jamey mentions Formspring. I know what this is because my 14 year old little cousin was on it until his parents found out and made him get off. Jamey mentions support he received online, but it all makes me question, I have no doubt he was bullied online too, just look at some of the comments on his videos. Is it really healthy for children to have all these social media profiles and cell phones? I don't think so, not for a second.

  3. My guess is that when people yearn for friendship and acceptance and they get ignored, this is the kind of thing that can happen....

  4. To anonymous:
    There are many pros/cons with the social media. Saying things via text or off social media sites have serious detrimental effects. To the same extent, there are a lot of good that have come out of them. People who are still 'in the closet' can anonymously discuss their fears, troubles, etc. They can broach topics which would be too embarassing to discuss otherwise.

    Although this seems amazing at first, the power of what someone can write back can ultimately break a person to pieces. Jamie was undoubtedly attacked anonoymously via the internet. But, he also was able to connect with people who understood his situation. People he would not have met otherwise. People who gave him courage and hope to continue fighting, and see past the storm of doubt. [Unfortunately, that wasn't enough.]

    My question really is, how many children have to commit suicide until someone realizes there is a problem and fixes it? Things should start being put into place to protect these innocent children.


It Gets Better- Gay Orthodox Jews