Stop the Suicides

The Trevor Project
The Trevor Project

The local news, YouTube, radio and magazines have been talking lately about GLBTQ middle school and high school kids killing themselves because of bullying. This is getting out of hand and I don’t understand why society as a whole cannot grasp that GLBTQ people have existed in ALL societies since the beginning of mankind. Ignorant people say it is a matter of choice; really? People choose to get ridiculed, spit on, ostracized, tormented, beaten, bullied and even killed? Some kids are being harassed for being perceived as gay, bi or lesbian when all they are is different. My manager told me about a personal story from when he was a kid and he said I can share it with you guys.

My manager Kerry, 13 when this story took place, was attending a Christian middle school in California. On Wednesdays and Sundays he would be part of the youth group that had both middle school and high school kids in it. Kerry became good friends with this guy Mike (16), who was a junior in high school, in ROTC and was part of the local police youth academy. Mike was an honors student and lettered in three different sports, and he was planning to become a cop someday. That particular spring the youth group took a trip to Disneyland. Kerry, Mike, Pastor Paul and another high school student Jeff were sharing a room together. That night Kerry was woken up by some moaning and saw Pastor Paul (early 40’s) lying naked on top of Jeff. Pastor Paul assured Kerry that everything was ok and then asked Mike to join them in bed, which he did.

Kerry was confused, afraid, and didn’t want to tell any of his friends or family about what happened. But Kerry was always told he could speak with Pastor Willis, the man in charge of the church and school he attended, about anything. After hearing Kerry’s story, Pastor Willis pulled the cricket paddle hanging from his wall and spanked Kerry repeatedly for making up this story. Then he insisted that Kerry go with him to tell and apologize to Pastor Paul. Upon opening Pastor Paul’s office door, Pastor Willis saw Pastor Paul having sex in his office with Jeff (16). Two days later it was announced that Pastor Paul, his wife and kids would be moving on to another church across the country.

Mike didn’t take the news well. You see, no one knew why Pastor Paul was suddenly moving except for the few people involved. But Mike had grown close to Pastor Paul over the years. Mike’s mother had left him when he was 3 years old and his father was a severe alcoholic who never paid any attention to him. The youth group, Kerry, and Pastor Paul were everything to him. The youth group was ended, he felt betrayed by Kerry, and now Pastor Paul was gone. A few days later, Mike’s father came to Kerry’s house and said that Mike had taken his shotgun and blew his head-off. He left a letter saying, “I can’t take it anymore.”

Kerry has been asking himself for the last 25 years, who was to blame. Was it Pastor Paul who himself was in the closet and married with 3 kids? Was it Pastor Willis for handling the situation the way he did? Was it Kerry for speaking with Pastor Willis, the one person he thought he could trust? Or was it society for not accepting people for who they are or at least giving them the freedom to figuring it out for themselves. Kerry finally concluded it was all of the above. You see it doesn’t always take people throwing stones, calling names, or even bullying a person to drive them to suicide. Just the fear that any of these things might happen is enough for some kids to take their life.

What I would really like all of you to get out of this story is this; accept people for who they are, not who you think they should be. Don’t place labels on people because they are exploring their feelings and sexuality. Allow people to decide for themselves who they are and how they want to live. You don’t have to agree with people’s lifestyles, but you have no right preventing people from living their life the way they choose to live it. And this goes for people on both sides of the argument. Some people want to stay in the closet and they shouldn’t be forced out; this is no different from someone being harassed for coming deciding to come out. It’s their life and they should be able to life it the way they want to, without labels.

I know that this is not what you expected to read on my blog today, but I felt it was important to say something with the increase of bullying and suicides recently. And if you know someone that needs help, here is what you can do:

  • Connect the person to resources and to a supportive, trusted adult.
  • Accept and listen to the person’s feelings and take them seriously.
  • Respond if a person has a plan to attempt suicide and tell someone you trust.
  • Empower the person to get help and call The Trevor Lifeline at 866-488-7386 or visit Live Chat with trained volunteers is also available on this site.

Thank you.

Written by PeterFever


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  1. the right story to tell on a sunday afternoon! but just to have it mentioned: this story is not only about GLBTQ…, but also about child abuse or abuse in general. Having sex early does not have to be traumatic at all(!), but it’s the strong emotional bond that can wreak havoc. You can mess up a child’s growing psyche almost irreversibly by leaving it alone with problems or energies that are too intense for it to handle or to make sense of. It can be just as intense as having been through a war, or having your head banged against a wall -- the mental injuries can be just as real. However long the term GLBTQ*** might ever get; this is about being humane, being responsible, being a good friend. ‘Pastor’ Paul moving away surely failed in that. Howevermuch queerness you find in yourself, there is always a humane way to live it. If Mike had been a girl the case would be the same -- so here some ‘discrimination’ might be appropriate…
    I think your life and your work play a huge role in preventing any of this. Who knows how many Mikes around the world are looking at your pics right now, perhaps getting the strength to live another day? Keep on fighting, keep on being a dream come true for us! Thank you for being around!

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