Joseph Jefferson — a 26-year-old New Yorker who graduated from Harvey Milk High in 2002, worked at Gay Men of African Descent on HIV prevention, and is described as an “advocate for LGBT youth” — hanged himself Saturday.
His last Facebook message shared with his friends, “I could not bear the burden of living as a gay man of color in a world grown cold and hateful towards those of us who live and love differently than the so-called ‘social mainstream.’ Belonging is one of the basic human needs, when people feel isolated and excluded from a sense of communion with others, they suffer. I have been an advocate for my peers and most importantly youth because most have never had a deep emotional attachment to anyone. They don’t know how to love and be loved in return. The need to be loved can sometimes translate to the need to belong to someone or something. Driven by that need….. Most will do anything to belong.”
The exact circumstances behind Joseph’s suicide are unclear, but there’s no mistaking the internal pain and strife. I hate that the thought even goes through my head about hearing of “another one,” because none of these young LGBT people deserve to be clumped together in some statistical table. But as each week passes, and we learn of another person who concludes ending his life is a better choice than living it, the picture becomes bleaker and bleaker. [Nathan James; via Rod 2.0]