Sunday, January 15, 2012

Invisible connections

Like many, I have been struggling to understand the death of Trevor Project Intern Eric James Borges. Much has been made of his connections to the Trevor Project and making an "It Gets Better" video a month prior to his suicide as if those things are a barrier to someone making this kind of decision. After all, doesn't working for the Trevor Project bring you into contact with others who could have recognized the path that EricJames was walking?....Being so immersed in saving the lives of others, how was Eric not able to take the message of the organisation he worked for to heart? And the question that sits underneath it all festering like a poison....How effective is the Trevor Project or "It Gets Better" if you can work within them and then still make the decision to kill yourself? Is it all just bullshit? How do you begin to make sense of this?...

I have done a lot of thinking in the last 24 hours and I have to admit that I am no closer to making any sense out of this, but the one thing I think that is missed in our grief over another loss is the message of Eric's life. Eric may have gone but he left behind a gift that I found so heartbreakingly beautiful that I have to share it with all of you. It is that gift that says more about who Eric was and how he saw the world. It is a short film he made called "Invisible Creatures"...take a moment to watch it after the jump...

I watched this movie and cried....It seems that the "invisible" part of this movie was not in the people it captured on film but in the moments of human connection that pass between us in our most intimate and unguarded moments. That spark of electricity that passes unseen between two people in love. The man strokes the womans neck as she leans back against him and both of them glow with the light of a golden sun. I felt the rock of their hips as they danced together and remembered times when I have danced with Jay to music that wasn't there. The feeling of your nose brushing gently passed theirs...and then the smooth skin of their cheek on yours as you lay your head and heart down on their shoulder in love and trust. It looks the same..whether it's a man and a women, two men, or two women.

Whatever Eric may not have been able to see in life....or in himself. One thing Eric knew was what love looked like. It passed like lightning from his eyes to those of his love and became visible in the rays of the setting sun. I think that he meant the "Invisible Creatures" to be these people sharing love in a private moment. He wanted us to see these moments that we normally keep private so that they wouldn't remain invisible anymore. He wanted us to see that love looks the same no matter who may be expressing it. Perhaps when the world can see that. no one else will be tortured for who they love and no one else need take their life because the pain is too great. Like Eric did.

What I wonder does a man with that vision of love not see that his life will not always be pain....that it will not always feel like an open wound that will never heal. After all, it contained enough love for him to capture these amazing moments....

For all the questions that all of us have about why Eric chose not to hang on...his reasons were his own. I can not judge his actions because I will never know who deep his pain ran. Instead of seeing a death that makes no sense, I see a life spent holding out a hand to others...a hand that it seems that Eric could not see also extended to him.

Wherever Eric is right now...I hope that pain is gone. I hope that he is wrapped in the love he tried to show us in his movie. And Secondly, I hope that the message of this film becomes the reason for which we think about him. It is only one small film that tried to make the invisible a little less so....but in those invisible things that pass between us is the stuff of life itself and the meaning for why we are all here. Eric was not as invisible as he may have thought he was...and with him will travel a piece of the spark he tried to show all of us. were not invisible. You were just as worthy of the help you gave others everyday and you need to know that through this movie...we see you. Thank you for making something so simple and so beautifull.

And dear are not unseen or unimportant either. The love you have to share with someone is just as important and just as needed. We see you too.

You can contact the Trevor Project at:


Until next time dear readers.....


  1. I to am very saddened by this young mans death. I can not fault the Trevor Project for not knowing. Many of us learn the art of deception early on to preserve ourselves. It's not hard to present false faces.

    I think as the final words of Eric's short film speak love is the meaning. One can know about love and understand it deeply but it does not mean it fills your life.

    Our journey is usually difficult but to be denied love whether a parents, a partner, a friend, even society, can test us all. Sometimes our choices burst forth without warning because we are silent or ignore things.

    The why is not so important. The life and expressions of a young man are. Will we take his message his struggle and integrate it into our fabric and forever change that which has ripped a thread from us or will we remain threadbear?

    Life is as precious as love. They go hand in hand. Like the earth and moon the revolve around each other remove one and it is a cold dark world.

    Maybe that is why Eric had his couple before a setting son drifting into night. The challenge for us all is to live in the light. AS far as we have come that is not always easy.

    I choose to take the love he expressed and add it my own. I know it may sound cliche but love does make the world go round, at least in in life.

    Simply live a life of love.

  2. Eric’s film made me cry too…. I only saw this once elsewhere. Actually, I think I saw it on I remember the annotations at the end said these were real couples acting spontaneously and without coaching. The film was made a month before his death and Eric was in one of the couples featured. If all the couples were real, can’t we then infer the guy Eric was with was a “real” boyfriend? So it then seems likely that, at least at the time of filming, Eric had love in his life. Wouldn’t that love in addition to his involvement in the Trevor Project be enough to sustain him against the other negativity in his life? That makes his suicide all the more puzzling to me. If, however, Eric suffered a breakup with his boyfriend sometime after the film was made, then his suicide would make more sense. He then would have lost the one really good thing in his life and all that would be left on balance would be negative.

    I seem to recall from The Advocate article that when Eric came out to his parents, they tried to have the gay exorcised out of him, called him disgusting and on his way to hell—the usual religious terrorism you’d expect from hyper-religious parents. So I’m not feeling too sorry for them at all. They were a major part of his anguish and they are now reaping what they have sown. But if there really is a boyfriend who now has been left behind, I do feel very, very sorry for him indeed. I’m sure he’s absolutely devastated.

  3. I hope Eric is free of his turmoil too. I'm sure he is. I'm sure his soul is at peace. He appeared to be hurting pretty badly in his 'It Gets Better' video. I wanted to hug him. But it is puzzling... with how much in pain he seemed to be in his IGB video coupled with his working for the Trevor Project, someone must have had an eye on him. And yet... it still happened. It did. It makes me worried a little.

    Do you know, is there a counterpart to the Trevor Project for slightly older folks. It says it is for youth, up to 25 or so. How about folks in their late 20's or 30's?

  4. I don't think that we will ever know exactly why he no longer was able to keep on fighting and chose to end it all. But like Bryan has said what we can see is such a bright star that has burned out fare to soon.

    I however don't take this as a sign that IGB or the Trevor Project are not affective. It just goes to show that there is a tremendous amount of truth behind the the old saying that one of the 3 hardest things to do is say "I need help".

    Unfortunately that is where I find myself at a loss on how to make a big or even systematic change to stop this cycle, as I don't know how to make it easier to ask for help, lord knows that I have not even totally figured out how to do that in my own life. I don't know but it seems if we as a society (not just the LGBT) community could make it easier somehow for people to admit that they are need support and assistance in dealing with things that are too much for them to handle.

  5. Sometimes the pain is too deep, too great to get at. It goes beyond the reason why it's there and goes beyond getting through it. Sometimes pain is, well unstoppable and relentless. It's like a war wound, it never goes away.

    When you think about it people who are hurt or who have been hurt know what it's like and can empathise with other peoples pain. It's only natural then, that he would find his way to the Trevor Project and do a IGB video. I guess it's "I know how you feel, because I feel it too". On this occasion my mind goes back to Jamey and his IGB video. He's so obviously in pain but it's because he knows how painful it is that he can empathise with others in the same pain.

    The Trevor Project and IGB have worked miracles in giving people someone to talk to and give people hope but they're not "cure-alls". They can't cure everyone's pain.

    My mind also goes to the girl scout leader encouraging people not to buy girl scout cookies. She's the opposite of Eric James and Jamey, she's never felt the pain of being different and not being accepted and because of that she can't empathise with anyone who does. Everything taken into account, I'd rather be like Jamey or Eric James. Their compassion may have come at a high price but at least they had it.

  6. I understand how Erics decision in confusing many people.
    But I see it from a different POV: To me his activism was not a sign of someone having a deep inner belief about how things will get better for himself - it was rather trying to protect others from beeing harmed (psychological AND pysical) like he has been BECAUSE he knew from first hand how damaging this is and that it'll be a life long fight for him just to feel fine about himself.
    His only (sad) fault was to conclude that he couldn't fix or heal himself anymore. But instead of standing aside in despair & watching others being psychic destroyed like he was, he rather spent his last energy to change, to better the life of others. So I don't see a form of contradiction in Erics actions but enourmous selflessness.
    And we should see his history as a reminder of how important it is to help young (gay) people as early as possible by giving them hope, shelter, love, respect,...BEFORE they give themselves up.
    The earlier a kid is given security and love by their surrondings the stronger they become against any hardship (not only beeing gay) in their later life.
    (That's also why I hope for little baby boy to become Leffew #5 this year!)

  7. My hope is that his death does not send a signal to youth that the pain is inescapable. With every suicide (gay or straight) I've encountered its usually spontaneous...not that the thoughts aren't there, it's just the circumstances present themselves. Who knows what was going on at that moment, and as all gays know the trauma is something we all carry but learn how to manage, we've learned the skills to cope and change course...he was only 19...and I'm sure he would take it back if he could.

  8. Very sad. Filmmaker. Writer. Decent human being. Helped others but couldn't find the help he needed. Surrounded by people yet all alone.

    How many more Eric's are we going to lose before this stops?

    Why aren't we screaming louder?

  9. This is soooooo off topic, but have you guys read this guys blog. He makes me laugh... and I saw some star wars stuff on one of his posts.

  10. Hey Bryan-
    The closet has scars..we all know that. Even though I have been out and happy for twenty years the scars are still there. I am SURE that you still feel them too. From what I know about you..your parents were much more into the whole "Phoney Christian" cult..mine were not..they were just "Catholics" that gave 10% of their salary to the Church which now is using their money to discriminate against me. I was lucky that my parents didn't send me to an "ex gay" camp or try to "exorcize" me. The scars will ALWAYS be there for me. The bullying continues when I watch presidential debates!! Let's hope this soul talks to whoever and says "enough"... Jim

    1. I had hardly any difficulties with my parents when I came out. My mother was more religious than my father, yet her only two concerns I remember was that I’d have a more difficult and complicated life because of my orientation and she was disappointed that she wasn’t going to get any grandchildren. Actually, my so-called coming out wasn’t me affirmatively breaking the news to them but rather answering a couple of awkward questions from my mother. I can’t even remember what specifically she asked me. Whatever it was, I think I had a really awkward, “I’ve been put on the spot” expression on my face that told her everything she needed to know before I could even answer her with words. Afterwards, it was her who told my father. So my coming out was more like an outing but without the adverse consequences it can have for some people.

      As for presidential debates, I simply can’t bear to watch them at all. I know that any Republican that gets into the Whitehouse is going to be a vicious homophobic walking talking colostomy bag and whoever it is won’t be getting my vote.

    2. Well said Dave!! I just cannot imagine ANY gay person that would vote for someone who LOUDLY vows to take their rights away. Hopefully these dinosaurs are on the wrong side of history... Jim

  11. Eric James Borges will be missed by all who loved him and caired for him.