The statistics are that, every year in Canada, 300 teens commit suicide.
One of the faces behind the statistic is a young, 15 year old Ottawa boy named Jamie Hubley, the son of a city counselor, who said that bullying directly contributed to Jamie's death.
Jamie was, according to Mercer, a 'great big goofy gay kid' who was bullied for years and expressed frustration on his blog at being singled out by his peers.
he said in his last post before he committed suicide:
“I hate being the only open gay guy in my school… It f***ing sucks, I really want to end it. Like all of it, I not getting better theres 3 more years of highschool left, Iv been on 4 different anti -depressants, none of them worked. I’v been depressed since january, How f***ing long is this going to last. People said “It gets better”. Its f***ing bull****. I go to see psychologist, What the f*** are they suppost to f***ing do? All I do is talk about problems, it doesnt make them dissapear?? I give up.”Absolutely. Breaks. The. Heart.
“Im a casualty of love.
Well, Im tired of life really. Its so hard, Im sorry, I cant take it anymore.
First Id like to mention my friends Nancy, Abby, Colleen, jemma, and Kasia
Being sad is sad : /. I’v been like this for way to long. I cant stand school, I cant stand earth, I cant stand society, I cant stand the scars on my arms, I cant f***ing stand any f***ing thing.
I dont want my parents to think this is their fault either… I love my mom and dad : ) Its just too hard. I dont want to wait 3 more years, this hurts too much. How do you even know It will get better? Its not.
I hit rock f***ing bottom, fell through a crack, now im stuck.
My favorite singers were lady gaga , Adele , Katy perry, and Jessie james, Christina aguilara and most of all I think KASIA!!! I LOVED Singing, and she helped me a lot : ) Im not that good at it though :”/, Im going to miss you guys
(well You know who you are, But to the people who didnt like me (many) A big f*** you, Go ride a unicorn. But w/e I love you anyway.)
Remember me as a Unicorn :3 x) MAybe in my next life Il be a flying squirreel :D
Il fly away.”
Mercer, who came out in 2003, says that all the hopeful videos about "It gets better" are not working. He made a plea to all adults who are LGBT to come out and become role models for LGBT youth.
"I'm sorry," he says to LGBT adults, "you don't have to run around with a flag and bore everybody, but you can't be invisible. Not any more."
Here's the video that is making the rounds in social media:
He's right. Absolutely.
We need greater accountability for those kids who bully - and their parents who allow their kids to bully as a right of passage through the rocky waters of adolescence.
There's a paradox to adolescence. On the one hand, the goal is to become self-differentiated from one's parents and become one's own person. However, being "different" and not "fitting it" with the rest of the crowd leaves one exposed and vulnerable and a target for ridicule.
If one is LGBT, that gets intensified to the nth degree - meaning that it is almost impossible for even the most secure, loved adolescent individual to withstand the pressure of growing up to be all of who God made you to be.
So, if you're a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender adult and you're not "out", please consider this message from Rick Mercer.
Rick Mercer isn't the only one with a rant. I have a bit of one myself. Fair warning: Here it comes:
I know several LGBT clergy who, they say, are "low key" about their sexual orientation because, they say, they don't want to be "defined by an issue".
I get that. Neither do I. But, you know, it sort of comes with the territory. I simply don't allow myself to be defined by my sexual orientation and, for the most part, it works. Except, of course, when I get an occasional slam from someone in the LGBT community for - and I quote - "not being gay enough".
I understand. I have some friends who don't believe you've really "come out" unless you've had a letter to the editor printed in the NY Times which clearly and unequivocally identifies you as LGBT.
I'm not concerned. I think I've paid my dues and earned an Eagle Scout Badge in "Coming Out".
The problem is that there is a fine line between being "low key" and being disingenuous and even duplicitous.
Some of these "low key" clergy have "friends" in neighboring states and/or dioceses where they spend their days off. They often take FABULOUS vacations and even, sometimes, show pictures where you might just get a face - and, perhaps, a name. A first name. They don't talk about these nebulous "friends" in too much detail but one gets the distinct sense that they are Very Important People.
Everything they say is carefully coded. There are considered pauses before answering questions. They rarely take stands on issues of justice, but they say they do their best work "behind the scenes" and you can usually count on their vote. Except no one really knows how they actually voted and they don't really say. They sort of leave you with your assumptions. About everything.
People whisper about how they'd make a "great dean" or a "fine bishop" if only they'd "find a stable relationship". But, that would mean living into a kind of honesty that might just cost them the position to which they have begun to believe they are called.
Everyone knows but nobody really knows, if you know what I mean.
You know who you are.
The thing of it is, we do, too.
You aren't fooling anyone.
More importantly there are kids who need you as a role model.
I can't tell you how many kids - gay and straight - who have told me how important it is to them that I am and Susan Russell and Michael Hopkins and other LGBT clergy are open and honest about who they are. It's especially important to them that Gene Robinson and Mary Glasspool are bishops in the church.
It's the only "canary in the coal mine" dynamic. If the church is safe enough for LGBT clergy and bishops, maybe it will be safe enough for them to be who they really are.
Bottom line: The best "It Gets Better Message" is incarnational truth. We're all "casualties of love" and yet - Behold! - we live.
I grieve the loss of Jamie Hubley and all the bright, beautiful young people who are bullied into desperation and despair.
We can turn that around. We can prevent teen suicide.
The truth will set us all free. Oh, it will make us miserable for a while but it's also true that living well is the best revenge.
If you are LGBT, you don't have to run around with a flag and bore everybody, but you can't be invisible any more. Too many kids are counting on you.
Rick Mercer is right: Three hundred kids is 300 too many.