The poor boy who jumped off a bridge has captured the public imagination, and it’s easy to see why. For me, it has triggered symptoms of PTSD that are never far from the surface at the best of times.
The one thing that no one wants to address is the use of this boy’s death for political purposes.
A young man who so dreaded being outed to his family that he chose death instead, would NEVER want to become the poster boy for gay suicide. He clearly wasn’t ready to self-identify as gay. Never mind the ordeal for his family, seeing their dead son’s photo plastered everywhere as a symbol of martyrdom.
The GLBT community is understandably shaken, and sincere in its outrage at this boy’s death. But no one cares that the family has asked for privacy. No one cares what the boy would want to be remembered for. If it draws attention to societal prejudice and helps to implement change, then tough shit for the kid and his family.
Poor unwilling martyr! My heart aches for him. It aches for every kid who is bullied about being different. For every person who views their depression as a life sentence. For every son or daughter or mother or father who somehow lost that thread of connectedness that keeps us in this world to fight on for another day.
I just wish we could address a social problem without putting a face on it.