When the story of young EricJames first hit yesterday, the details were still being formulated. Now that there is more information, his suicide becomes all the more heartbreaking. Demoralizing. And, for me at least, maddening. EricJames was a rising superstar with a beautiful soul. He would've been a difference maker. A game breaker. His talents and his passion for helping others would have affected many, many people.
As an intern with The Trevor Project, he worked to prevent teen suicide in the LGBT community. He created his own "It Gets Better" video a month to the day before his suicide. The video is well made and very well scripted. In viewing it, however, I'm not convinced that HE was convinced that the words he were saying held validity. Who could blame him, given his circumstances?
And, the parents. I am serious with my contention that they need to be brought up on charges like any other person who bullies a person to death. As we see the wave of support, nationwide, continue to swell in favor of punishing people guilty of bullycide, these people should absolutely be held accountable for EricJames' death. His mother performed an exorcism on him! Are you serious!? Then, to further trample his self-esteem, they called him very UNGodly names and, for the knock out blow, kick him out of the house...effectively banishing him from the family.
So, here he is: 19-years-old, just coming out of the closet, starting college, and condemned and abandoned by his family. Stop for a second and just imagine the inner pain and turmoil he was going through. Now, multiply what you just imagined ten-fold.
The coming out process is supposed to be liberating, not a death sentence. Your first year of college is supposed to be an adventure, a new beginning, a coming of age, not a horrific continuation of the bullying and harassment endured in middle and high school. Family is supposed to be your foundation, the people you can always turn to when times are overwhelming, real or imagined. I can speak from experience when I say that that's a myth that truly needs to be abolished. However, even with the shithole of a family that I was saddled with, I can say that they were never abusive. They weren't nasty, mean-spirited, or evil about it. They just shut the door on me. In EricJames case, they may as well have held a to his temple and pulled the trigger themselves.
Like so many of the young suicide victims, in particular LGBT teens, I steadfastly believe that EricJames was merely trying to convince himself that it really is possible for a young LGBT person to find real love in a world that exhibits such hatred and intolerance. Surely, his parents showed him that he was not lovable. The ones who bullied him throughout his life taught him that he was not acceptable. For me, the saddest memory of EricJames' life will be the short film he created and produced. In the film, you can see him in the throes of love and passion. It wasn't enough to sustain him. The unspoken subtext to the film is obvious, but I love his words.
Love is universal. It has the strength to decimate the threshold of all prejudice, all inequity. Human relationships, and those who come into our lives, have the ability to ultimately shape who we are. There is importance in loving each other the way each of us truly deserves....Makes me cry every time. You're at peace now, EricJames.