Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Where Do We Stand?....Tragedy and Triumph



Yesterday saw the end of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" and one more victory was won in the long march towards equality. Celebrations are being held all over the nation and in the news. Everyone is overjoyed to see this bit of institutionalized hatred bit the dust. I know it meant a great deal to my husband, who served a tour of duty under DADT during the original "Desert Storm" operation in Iraq. Jay came to accept himself as a gay man during his time in the Army and it has always been his regret that he served in the closet and ultimately left the Army because he knew their would be no place for him in it as an openly gay man. He was particularly jazzed then to be able to make his own celebration video marking the end of DADT.

And then reality punched us in the face again....another teen had killed himself due to bullying...


our email inbox carried the sad news that another teen had committed suicide due to being bullied over being gay. 14 year old Jamey Rodermeyer of Buffalo New York, committed suicide a bare four months after he had filmed his own "It Gets Better" video. Jamey was a avid Lady Gaga fan and an active Youtuber...yet again, it seemed that  we had lost one of our own. And...how I wish Jamey's bullying had ended with his death. It seems that in ANY news outlet, blog, or Youtube channel that covers his story people think its OK to offer their personal judgments of Jamey's  decision to kill himself. Many have assaulted him in death by calling this emotionally beaten child a coward who took the easy way out of his problems. His personal YouTube channel has been the sight of many of the most hateful and vile comments imaginable and it utterly sickens me. Can the world really be so cruel?...oh yes, it appears that it can. This young man's spirit was literally broken by the same judgment that people feel so justified in unloading on him in the wake of his death......It makes me furious and he doesn't deserve it....no one deserves it.



To celebrate the end of one form of discrimination only to have to mourn the loss of another teen to another form of discrimination left me with the feeling of the enormity of our journey. For every brick we take out of the wall of hatred and discrimination there are still more...and the foundation for that hatred remains. In the wake of the end of DADT the nameless soldier became no longer nameless as he came out to his father and found acceptance.....and then Jamey Rodermeyer was driven to death by an utter lack of acceptance. He was told every day that he was "disgusting" and a "pervert" and I can imagine what else. Just where the hell are we in this world anyway?  Do we measure our progress as a people by how many laws we overturn?...or by how many lives we are losing? I can not help but feel that any victories we have won should be celebrated in the memories  of those who aren't there to share them with us.



DADT is just one battle down...there are so many more to go...

Now maybe we can put the lie to the Michelle Bachmans and Rick Santorums of the world who want to wipe out bullying programs as just another example of the "gay agenda". Maybe we can breath one small sigh of relief before we realize that our Trans brothers/sisters/friends...still face the same hurdles we just jumped through. Maybe we can take a moment to breath until we have to go to the ballot again to fight for marriage somewhere in the next state to take it to a vote. Perhaps we can breath until we have to hold that breath again to wait for yet another court verdict.

I am happy that DADT is gone because it will make such a difference in the lives of the gay men and women who choose to serve in the military. Losing that awful law did nothing but make someones life better for no longer having to hide. So I celebrate it's end with gusto..but, at the end of the day I can't help but think about how much farther we have to go....and how we can stop our own losses....

Until next time dear readers....

9 comments:

  1. it grieves me deeply that the ugly bigotry consumed that boy's life. Iagree with everything you have said Bryan, and where do we go from here? How long before the dark path we walk on turns to a brighter path? We should move forward, but always remember many who have lost their lives. It's disgusting to say he was a coward. It's extremely disrespectful and ignores that he went through a lot of miserable pain.

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  2. Dear GFV,
    Thanks for posting what you did. Hopefully something good will come from all of this. I like to believe that good things come from tragic events in our lives. As this is true with my own life.
    However, let us all keep in mind and in memory Jamey and his family and friends as they grieve. I would like to think Jamey is in a very beautiful place now; a place free of bigotry, hatred and any kind of phobia. I will ask my own guardian angel, Michael to keep an eye on Jamey as his own spirit comes to all of us.
    Peace to all, David

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  3. I agree with you to Bryan, I can't believe how horribly cruel people are, and to say suicide is the easy way out is such a total lie. There is no easy way out, just some that are slower then others like drug abuse. Suicide is more accurately a sign that the person has struggled so much had so much strength and that that strength finally gave out. I mean I would hope that any one that has even seriously considered suicide would know that it is not any easy thing, let alone that the path that leads to it was not full of fight. It takes so much strength to fight for so long in so many cases while projecting happiness and normality to the world while on the inside you struggle fight and slowly die bit by bit inside.

    I don't care what others have to say, it is not a sign of weakness, and I can say this from personal experience, so fare obviously I have been lucky enough to have not killed my self, but I have seriously thought about doing so as in planing out how to do so and mentally working on suicide letters in my head, more times they I ever care to thing about. Depression is a terrible monster, and those that say otherwise are so willfully ignorant that it's absolutely disgusting.

    Sorry if this offends any one but as some one that has been that depressed and that broken (and almost certainly will end up that depressed and utterly broken down again, after all its only a mater of when not if) I can't stand such vial things being said about those who because of it are not even here to defined them selves.

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  4. Another wasted life but there's a 1000 possibly 10,000 kids all looking for a way out better than Jamey's. Mourne the loss of poor Jamey but then the battle must continue. We are where we are and that's riduclas and horrible but it is where we are and the only way to change that is to continue to change that. The repeal of DADT shows us things are changing, attitudes are changing. Not fast enough, never fast enough.

    It's sad to say that the "it's gets better" campaign was never going to be a cure-all. This day was coming, but think of the kids who are alive today because of it. They won't make the news but they are out there and they are surviving.

    The repeal of don't ask, don't tell needs to be celebrated inspite of Jamey. The community needs it's victory celebrations, needs to take a moment to say "look what we did". The fight is long and hard and people need to acknowledge the victories (so do you Bryan). Light a candle for Jamey but raise a glass to all the troops who can now say "I'm gay".

    Do me a favour... Go on YouTube and look up a group called Dire Straits and a song called Brothers in Arms.

    "Through these fields of destruction
    Baptisms of fire
    I've witnessed all your suffering
    As the battle raged higher
    And though they did hurt me so bad
    In the fear and alarm
    You did not desert me
    My brothers in arms

    Think Jay might relate to this song too.

    Keep the faith
    Holly xx

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  5. I'm a straight white male. I think the bigger question that needs an answer and a solution is WHY do kids BULLY at all? I was never really picked on much myself. Anything I received I handled as best as I could and I gave as good as I got, or at least I did my best. Any time I saw another kid being bullied I would try to intervene directly or at least just ask them if they were OK. I could usually tell that the kid being bullied was just glad that someone noticed them and cared about them at all. Bullying never made any sense to me at all.
    Why would you treat someone that way when they never did anything to you???
    Pardon my language - but the BIGGEST PUSSIES ARE THE BULLIES!
    We won't stop gay teen suicide until we stop the bullying. Some people just need to GET A LIFE, GET A JOB, GET LOST, GET LAID, GET...SOMETHING!!!
    GET IT?

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  6. After reading this I felt so heartbroken. I just can't believe that kids end their lives this way. No life should go to waste like this, everyone deserves to live. I'm glad that there has finally come an end to DADT. However, I still cannot believe that I am reading all of this in the 21th century! We no longer live in the middle ages!

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  7. When will we understand that Tolerance is to be Christ - therefore intolerance is to be anti-Christ.

    I came out of the closet to my US Military commander on 17 December, 2010, the day before the vote - I came out in protest of the vote. I was an officer in the Air Force and they hid my story for the last nine months - I deserted the military because of how they were treating me after I came out. I spent four months in the US Marine Corps Brig next to Brad Manning, another gay teen... I resigned my commission and am now out of the Military.

    A gay officer deserted the military because of bullying by his commanders after DADT was repealed. Bullying is not just a thing kids have to deal with at school.

    Intolerance is to be anti-Christ. Tolerance is to be like Christ. It's that simple.

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  9. It seems like we have reached out to the right person, Lady Gaga is supporting Jamey and us!
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/22/lady-gaga-vows-to-make-bu_n_975852.html

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