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Bullying body count: 15-year-old gay teen commits suicide

How many have to die before people can collectively agree that the responsibility lies with parents, teachers, school administrators and students to stop the bullying? Being a target of bullying is not a “rite of passage” or a lesson to “man up” — it’s about a vulnerable teen feeling that school is an unhospitable environment. (Ottawa Citizen):

Jamie Hubley documented the final month of his life in heartbreaking and painful detail.

The 15-year-old boy, a son of Kanata South Councillor Allan Hubley and his wife, Wendy Barber, kept a blog in which he wrote openly of his struggles with depression and the challenges of being an openly gay teenager.

“I wish I could be happy, I try, I try, I try … I just want to feel special to someone,” he wrote.

He was, of course, special to many people but, tragically, the Grade 10 student took his own life on Saturday.

Jamie’s final blog post (via Towleroad):

“From the outside, he looked like the happiest kid. He was always smiling and giving everybody hugs in the halls,” said Steph Wheeler, a close friend who had known Jamie since the pair were in figure skating together as children a decade ago.

But Wheeler, 16, knew the sensitive boy was struggling with being out in high school and often felt the sting of verbal bullying. She said all that Jamie wanted was what every teenager wants — somebody to love.

…[H]e also wrote of his sadness and despair, about being called a “fag.”

In a post three weeks ago, he said he was depressed, that medications he was taking weren’t working, and that being gay in high school was so hard — a thousand times harder in real life than on the popular television show, Glee, which he loved.

I hate being the only open gay guy in my school … It f—ing sucks, I really want to end it,” he wrote.

Hubley suffered from depression; for the numerous young people who also have challenges with mental health, those walls close in when faced with hostility and rejection — it’s a sign that we still have a long way to go to accept that as a society, the well-being — emotional and psychological — of teens is too often minimized.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding