Thursday, October 7, 2010


It was on today's date 12 years ago that Matthew Shepard was attacked, beaten, and left for dead, tied to a fence with his own shoelaces.

But the hate continues. In September alone, six young men--that we know of due to the media--took their own lives because they could no longer stand the hate. Spewed at them from classmates, at home, in church, on the television...
  • Tyler Clementi, 18, a freshman at Rutgers, jumped off the GW Bridge after his roommate broadcast a video of Tyler with another guy.
  • 15-year-old Billy Lucas of Greensburg, Ind., committed suicide - an act that was suspected to have stemmed from daily bullying about his perceived sexual orientation.
  • Seth Walsh, 13, of Tehachapi, Calif., passed away Sept. 28 after he attempted to hang himself on Sept. 19. It is reported that Walsh identified as gay and suffered constant hate-motivated bullying from peers.
  • On Sept. 23, 13-year-old Asher Brown of Houston, Texas, reportedly shot himself, which his parents believe came as a result of allegedly unchecked anti-gay cruelty and harassment at his school.
  • On Sept. 29, Johnson & Wales student Raymond Chase, 19, hung himself in his dorm room.
  • 14-year-old North Side High School student Caleb Nolt allegedly killed himself from anti-gay bullying in Fort Wayne.
It's not easy, being a gay teenager. What's even harder today is all the right-wing rhetoric bandied about on the waves: that gays destroy the family, ruin the military, are trying to destroy society... To listen to a sermon (like this lil gem from a moron--oops! Mormon--pastor in Utah right after the media aired a few of the gay suicides this past month...) and hear that you are evil and a tool of Satan? That you want to destroy social institutions? That what you are, that what you cannot stop being, that simply feeling love for someone of the same sex could scare so many, and bring about God's wrath?? Teens should be concerned about what they're going to wear, not if they can survive one more day of being called "Faggot!" in the halls, not of being beaten up for the way you run in gym class after school...

As fellow blogger James McGrath, (and noted professor) stated in a recent post:

Jesus didn't say "Bully people until they commit suicide." [...] If you are a Christian that consider homosexuals and "gay activists" your enemies, then you have two options: love them, or stop pretending you're a Christian. I don't see that you're left with a third option.
I'm reminded of my own dark times as a teen, when I knew that I would either have to spend the rest of my life pretending, come out, or end it all. I risked my family, my friends, my whole world...

But it was a part of my journey, one that many others can probably relate to, and one that others may find foreign and dangerous...

This from 8/5/1998:

[...] I just want to get this all over with. I'm sick of this dragging out and no one at all aware of this inner turmoil. The struggle to gain my gay identity amidst the religious and family pressures & reasonings. Don't get me wrong--I love my family, I even love God in a very distinct way. I also know they ALL (including God) would not agree w/ what I am thinking and wanting to do. I don't blame them, really, either. But how long can the charade go on? [...]
This, a day later:

[...] I see what Q_____ goes through. I try to defend him from the jokes and such, but that brings it's own back on me. I know this is exactly how I would be made fun of & ridiculed if they ever discovered. Why shouldn't they feel that way as the very "life style" I desire goes against all they've embraced, all I've embraced, and accepted as truth?

Which is true, I suppose...

And I still desire it. I am worse than Q____ in at least he has spoken forth about the truth about himself, faced up to it. Of course no one knows about Q___ because then he'd be kicked out of church again.

But they all still know he's gay.

Oh, for such freedom... [...]
And apparently, on 9/6/1998, I agreed to enter "therapy" for my "problem."

[...] Had lunch with R.W. today, and we discussed when I would begin counseling with P.C. Tues. night I call him 'cause R.W. wants to "brief" him first. I said that was fine. :(

[...] I'm not sure this is going to "cure" me anyway. How do you cure feelings, emotions, and desires? How does one even ... Futile. Just futile. What if I am, though, by some miracle, cured? After all the years of prayer, all the nights spent in torment, what if the burden finally is lifted? Doubt clouds my mind, but I think that may be the devil.
And these are apparently my first thoughts after my first night of counseling with P.C.

P.C. strikes me as one who a lot of times neglects the emotional aspect of things and leaps right into "practical application" which can be all well & good at time I suppose.

And what will "therapy" actually do for me? Give me a better understanding of why I have the emotions and desires I do? Help me to cope w/ these thoughts? Make them disappear totally? The last is probably impossible, but P.C. thinks it is possible--I can tell he's never had this "problem."

R.W. suggested my "absent" father, and my desire to have a relationship with him is the root of this evil. And here I thought they always blamed the mother? :) What? A little humor isn't called for here?

If my father thought he was responsible for this it would kill him.[...]
One of my darker moments came a few weeks later, in October:

I hate them all, with their "eternal peace" and their "blameless before God" stance. They haven't a clue, have they? I asked P.C. if he even had a clue as to what I was going through. His reply: "I don't care. It's still wrong."

I must remember to ask him how he would feel if someone were to ask him to give up women, specifically his wife. Would he get a glimmer perhaps? Is it fair to blame them? I suppose not...

[...] They say this is the time of year for most suicides. I can easily believe that. So easily.

Would the family cope better with me dead, never knowing about the evil their son has within him? Would this be a kinder way to let go, and give up this evil burden?

Looking back at my list of benefits and losses, I do see I foresaw my loneliness coming... how wise of me... doesn't make me feel much better knowing I was wise, yet not wise enough, or strong enough, to find an alternative. I suppose I'm just a wise fool...
I survived this dark period, apparently. :D There's much more there, of course, but I thought this conveyed the gist without airing all my dirty laundry on the Internet.

Today is twelve years since Matthew Shepard was attacked and left to die. He was found in the bitter cold, beaten, bloodied, tied to a fence as if crucified. He died on October 12th.

I won't quote statistics at you, but know that this happens every day somewhere in the world. Additionally, every day a homosexual teen takes his or her own life from the verbal, mental, spiritual and emotional attacks that they can no longer live with.

Every. Day.

This post is for you, Matthew, and to all the other gay victims of hate in all its various forms. Someone somewhere is hurting because you are no longer here. You will be remembered.

And to all those who are contemplating suicide, please ask for help. Get in touch with The Trevor Project (866) 488-7386, or look up a number in your phone book! You are not alone, there are many of us who have lived through the hurt and the pain, and we want to help you! Please don't become another news story. Let us get to know you and love you by choosing to live.


Amy said...

J -- This was a really touching entry... The fact that you would share such personal thoughts. Thank you for sharing. :)

Did you see 8: The Morman Proposition yet?

Jason Hughes said...

Thanks, Amy! And, no, haven't seen it yet, but you can bet your sweet patootie it's on my list of "must watch" movies :)