By Brandon Gray
October 3, 2011
Latest teen suicide sparks outcry across the country
The untimely death of 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer reminds us that homophobia is not only alive and well, but that its roots continue to spread in a dangerous place: the minds of the younger generations, the next great battlefield for the LGBT movement.
The teenager from Williamsville, N.Y., took his own life on Sept. 18 after experiencing years of bullying in middle and high school. Rodemeyer had come out in May to his friends and family, and posted videos and articles on his blog as well as on a site that supports LGBT youth, ItGetsBetter.org.
His parents were aware of the problem when Rodemeyer was in middle school, but he had not expressed to them the hatred he encountered in high school. He did, however, express his grievances and struggles online in multiple blogs and videos.
Rodemeyer was a huge fan of Lady Gaga and had posted a tweet to the singer the day of his death, saying, “bye mother monster, thank you for all you have done, paws up forever.” The singer supports “Jamey’s Law,” which would make bullying a hate crime, and has called on President Obama to take action against bullying.
The homophobia and bigotry that led to the young man’s suicide have continued even after his death. During a homecoming dance, when a Lady Gaga song came on, Rodemeyer’s sister and his friends began chanting for him. In response, the bullies responsible for his death chanted back: “We’re glad he’s dead” and “He’s better off dead.” Even in death, his struggle rages on!
Similarly disturbing posts were made on his blog actually urging the young man to take his own life. One post read: “I wouldn’t care if you died. No one would. So just do it :) It would make everyone WAY more happier!”
These attacks are illustrative of the homophobia and bigotry that persists in the United States despite the great strides made by the LGBT movement. Children are not born bigots. Anti-LGBT hatred is neither natural nor inevitable; it is actively promoted by the institutions of the capitalist ruling class. The media, politicians and religious leaders alike go to great lengths to keep homophobic ideology—sometimes with deadly consequences.
Rodemeyer’s death spurred an outcry across the country. On Sept. 25, in Allentown, N.Y., more than 1,000 attended a march and rally against bullying, dubbed a “No Hate” event.
A militant response of the LGBT community and its supporters is essential to combat this particular form of oppression. The revolutionary movement must join the fight for justice for Rodemeyer and so many others, the fight to build a united movement that can break through the feelings of isolation and hopelessness of youth who find themselves surrounded by bigotry and hate.
These atrocities must not be lost in the pages of history! No more anti-LGBT bigotry!