Monday, April 9, 2012

Reaching Out: Let John Tillman Know He's Not Alone

This video was posted on the wall in Brett's community.  He sent me a message asking if I'd watched it yet, that it was really sad.  I assured him that my "really sad" cup was on overflow for the moment, that I would check it out "tomorrow".  Then, of course, I thought better and watched it right then.  He was right.  It's sad.  It's heartbreaking.  It's maddening.

John Tillman is an openly gay 17-year-old.  The video, done in "written message" style a la Jonah Mowry from December, tells of his being constantly bullied and recently jumped all because of his sexual orientation.  He's scared.  He's confused.  It's sad that he's having to go through this type of torture just because of who he is.

It's really heartbreaking that LGBT teens today still have to endure such excruciating pain at the hands of their unaccepting, intolerant peers.  It's more than heartbreaking:  it's alarming that so many LGBT teens are routinely pushed to the brink, to a point where they feel the only way out is to harm themselves.  And, it's heartbreaking because all these young people want is the same opportunity as their straight peers to just be happy teens, to just be able to be themselves without having to worry about being constantly attacked, verbally, emotionally, and, in cases like John's physically.  Straight or LGBT, the teen years can be tumultuous enough without the presentiment of being attacked simply because you exist.

What is maddening about this is that a John Tillman even has to make a videoed cry-for-help at all!  Why aren't there more people speaking up and demanding that school officials and administrations take this issue far more seriously and protect all of their students rather than just the ones they choose to protect.  Why aren't there more voices screaming at the top of their lungs to the politicians who hate that their politics do not hold more importance than these young people's lives!? 

Look, this isn't rocket science.  These young people who do the bullying are learning the hatred and intolerance from bigoted, mean-spirited politicians, religious leaders, school officials, and sometimes even parents.  They are learning from their cue that treating people who aren't just like them, who don't think like them or act the way they think they should be acting with hostility is acceptable and even expected behavior.  They are taking their hatred and bigotry with them to school and passing their lessons learned onto anyone who is perceived to be different, especially LGBT teens.  Conversely, there are thousands upon thousands upon thousands of LGBT teens who hear these words of hatred spewed from their mouths and, each time they hear it, they're pushed closer to the brink.  Their self-esteem gets shattered by their words.  Their sense of self-worth takes another beating each time they hear, or read about, one of these people consumed with fear and intolerance spewing their hate-filled rhetoric.

The only way videos like John Tillman's will stop having the need to be made is for more and more people to start speaking up and letting the world know that this is no longer acceptable behavior.  It's not acceptable that so many teens, LGBT and straight, are pressed to a point where they feel that ending their lives is the only way out.  It's not going to change or end by itself. 

Make sure John Tillman knows that he is not alone and that he is loved.  He really needs the reassurance.


  1. I know and love so many on many points of the sexual spectrum and it breaks my heart that a child the age of my bisexual son should be so goshawfully tormented for something that is just a part of his makeup .. not choice, but just himself ... hugz to all who find themselves without support ...

  2. Done! Thanks for keeping us aware of where the need for support is greatest.

  3. Can't open the URL to the video? Is it possible to paste the URL here ?

    1. You must be trying to watch it on a mobile device. It didn't work for me on my mobile, either. Here's the link for you to copy and paste:

  4. It's NEVER been acceptable and NEVER will be. Coming from a bisexual, I give my full support on this, as I know how it feels to be made out to be wrong or even evil. One day this will stop, and hopefully I will live to see that day come and go.

  5. It really bothers me that bullying is overlooked and considered to be "just being kids" or justified in the cases of LGBT youth because some feel that they deserve it. No one deserves it. My son was bullied in Junior High on his football team. One particular kid always focused his attacks on my son. Calling him and anorexic faggot and so on. I would constantly speak to the coach and it would fall on deaf ears. One day my son walks out of practice in his uniform, when I asked why he didnt dress, he started to cry and said he had no clothes because someone threw his clothes in the toilet. I had heard enough. I got out of the car and stormed the locker room and this time I made my voice heard. It is pretty sad that I had to act like a mad woman to finally get someones attention on the matter. My son refused to join Football the following season and I understood. The only good thing that came out of this was my son said to me " I was called a faggot repeatedly, I am not gay and it hurt, imagine if I was though. It would hurt even worse, Mom I would never call anyone a faggot ever"

  6. You are NOT alone thoughts are with. You my friend...It does get better!!