Wednesday, May 9, 2012

His Friends Called Him Corey: Jay'Corey Jones, 17, Death by Suicide

Sunday night, 17-year-old, Jay'Corey Jones, "Corey" to his friends, ended his life in Rochester, MN.  According to his father, he had been bullied for a very long time because of his sexual orientation.  That bullying lead to depression.  And, like many before him, that combination proved to be deadly.
According to the news report, in which Corey's father, JayBocka Strader was very candid and forthcoming about the life of his son, everything that could be done was being done.  His single-parent father was very supportive of his son.  Corey had friends who loved him.  He was even briefly involved with his school's Gay/Straight Alliance.  He was out and proud.  He wanted to make a stand for gay rights.  Unfortunately, that put him in the cross hairs for bullies.  And, once again, rather than seeing all of the positives going on in his life, the negative of being bullied proved too much for him to handle.

Still reeling from the report of a 16-year-old girl who ended her life just a few hours ago right here in Maryland (much too early for any details), I'm left to wonder "what are we not doing enough of!?"  We're very obviously missing a beat somewhere, somehow.  Yes, we know about the problem with bullying and how it needs to be dealt with on a much different level than it is today.  Yes, we have an idea of the mental health issues involved with many of the teen suicides.  Whether they're being properly addressed, however, is a question mark.

Somehow, these teens who give up on their young lives are seeing a world that's so dark, so bleak for them, they see no point in going on.  And, that's an issue that we, as adults, must find a way to figure out so that we can deal with it.

In a case of an LGBT teen, as Corey was, it's really not too hard to see where their vision of a too-bleak world comes from.  The bullying they endure from their peers at school and in cyberspace is only exacerbated by the bullying they see from adults in the news and on the Internet.  Bullying directed specifically at the LGBT community.  They're hearing the message from politicians and so-called religious leaders that their lives are invalid.  That their feelings are moot.  They're seeing and hearing, as hate-filled, intolerant politician after hate-filled, intolerant politician attempt to legislate their own bigotry, that the bullies they deal with in school are only a mirror-image of what they perceive as the real world.  As states like North Carolina legislates hate and discrimination, the message is driven home that they are second-class citizens, that their lives will always be inconsequential, that there are people in power who don't care a bit if they end their life.  They hear that.  They see that.  And, guess what?  So do the ones who do the bullying.  They feel vindicated in their actions because they, too, see and hear that same message.

Make no mistake:  no one should ever allow someone else define who they are.  It doesn't matter if "they" hate you.  That's their burden to carry.  What's important is loving yourself, first and foremost.  However, that is also a very difficult message to get across to an already fragile teen.  Jamie Hubley had an amazing, very loving and supportive family.  He had incredible friends who still adore him.  Yet, he couldn't see past the negatives of life long enough to wrap that warm blanket of support around himself.  Smart money says that that is the issue in many of these tragic events.  That was the issue with Corey Jones.

So, sadly, we say goodbye to yet another young person.  A young person who will never get to know just how good life could've been.  Corey, I wish things could've been different for you.  And, to his friends and family, I wish you love and support during this incredibly trying time.


  1. This is so sad Ron. What can I do, we do to stop any more of these suicides from happening? I am so angry about this but at a loss as well. Our children must stop dying. They must see that life is worth living. I know my experiences with bullying was minimal but I survived it and am still here. Life is hard, but so worth living for the people who love and accept us.

  2. I have to wonder how many will die because of recent news of more legislation against them. North Carolina has been widely publicized. We have to find them, where they are, (in schools, churches, ?) Educate teachers to recognize the signs of depression and despair. Somehow "shake" the preachers' awareness of what they are telling these kids, if only it were possible.
    Bullies persist throughout life, well into adult-hood. There's no escape. Learning to deal with it is of paramount importance. I personally had to keep remembering the one or two teachers who accepted me, stood for me. That's all I had to lean on in life. My family wasn't there, only to criticize and bully more. The preachers (except one) weren't there. A tender touch once or twice was my only notion of being accepted by those few who became my role models, even all these years later. The bullying persists. Thankfully I have a few skills and a shrink to hold me together. It saddens me. Thanks, Ron, what a great service you are doing. Now it's my turn to figure out what I can do.

  3. Obviously not a very independent soul. It's one thing to absorb what others say about you and quite another to depend on it even in the physical level if he had been punched,kicked makes me wonder if he had anything in his natal chart grounding him to the physical plane.

    1. I am sorry but you did not know this kid. He was very independent and he always said "what ever happens happens but I'm going to be myself" He didn't need this but I'm sure if you were gay and heard someone say "God doesn't like FAGS" you would feel pretty upset too. He was my best friend. Watch what you say. Stuff like what you have said is what led him to jumping off that bridge.

  4. Ron, this was a great article. I am so sick and saddened that we have this problem with bullying. It seems like the ones that are being hurt the most are the LGBT teens in school. Why is it such a problem. Are the bullyss not reprimanded at school? Back in my day not only did you go to the principals office they also contacted the parents. But as I type this I know that the schools don't want to get involved and neither do the parents. What has happened? These bullies make me sick and I wish I could think of something that would hurt them emotionally the way they do and see if it has any impact on them. I think if the athletes that are looked up to could do something positive against bullying it might help. Most school kids look up to them so maybe just maybe they could help curb some of this. Maybe they could be a big brother or sister to the ones that are being bullied. Someone to have their back. It's time that the students take a stand against the bullies in their own school. My being bullied in jr high was nothing compared to what the LGBT teens are going through. Oh how I wish I could stop it in it's track. Even 1 suicide is too many. Again, great article Ron.

  5. Hello Ron.. I am one of Corey's good friends and I just want to say thank you for this blog. Corey was loved by so many people at Century and because of bullying, we lost our best friend. Corey was a strong guy who wore short shorts and pink to school all the time to prove to people that no matter who you kiss, you are a human. Thank you so much for this blog. It means a lot.

  6. I do not understand why schools in this day in age allow bullying. School should be a place of learning, not a place that allows anyone for any reason to be bullied, pick on, and mistreated. I think new laws should be enforced were "bullies" are held accountable for terrorizing other students, and should be charged with manslaughter. Schools that do nothing about these issues should be sued. When I went to school kids that were different for whatever reason were picked on. I had a wonderful gay friend, that was terrorized by a bully. One day I had enough and beat the bully up. This is sad that anyone for any reason looses their lives because of a bully.