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Teenager Justin Aaberg Killed Himself Over Gay Bullying. His Mom Won’t Let Anyone Forget

Tammy Aaberg is the mother of 15-year-old Justin Aaberg (pictured), the Anoka High School student in Minnesota who hanged himself after suffering the torment of high school bullying, and after breaking up with his boyfriend. “These kids, they just hate themselves,” says Tammy, whose son came out at age 13, and whom she didn’t know was suffering so bad inside. “They literally feel like they want to die. So many kids are telling me this.”

Anoka High has seen five students kill themselves in the past year; three of those suicides are believed to be tied to struggles with sexual identities. And yet the Anoka-Hennepin School District continues to rail against specifically calling out LGBT bullying — something their perhaps-future governor also believes — because, according to district spokeswoman Mary Olson, teachers should “remain neutral” on the subject.

That’s not good enough. Not to moms like Tammy Aaberg, who’s not letting her son die in vain. She’s become one of the area’s most vocal critics of the district, and the most vocal supports of bullying prevention.

You would assume there were warning signs from Justin, but either administrators or teachers — and his own mother — weren’t tuned in to pick up on them. And none of that will change until school districts accept that LGBT bullying does occur, is a unique problem, and doesn’t just affect “those faggot kids.” It affects the entire community.

These are our fucking kids. JESUS.

EARLIER:
He Was Tormented Not By Peers, But His Teachers. Guess Who the School Stands Behind?

By:           Max Simon
On:           Sep 14, 2010
Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , ,

  • 83 Comments
    • CJ
      CJ

      The school principle should be fired. And, the same goes for any teacher that has witnessed bullying and done nothing about it. There is NO excuse for 5 suicides within a single school year, especially when 3 of the suicides are identifiable to gay/lesbian students. How much longer will this school deny that many gay/lesbian youth are at great risk for bullying, discrimination and depression?

      Sep 14, 2010 at 2:33 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • drums
      drums

      Jesus christ, what kind of school has FIVE suicides in one year? There’s obviously a problem here, and the homophobic bullying they’re all trying desperately to pretend doesn’t exist is only symptomatic of a much larger culture of hate. Until they learn and teach a philosophy of empathy, kids (LGBTQ or otherwise) are going to keep suffering and keep dying.

      Sep 14, 2010 at 3:08 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Steve Rienherdt
      Steve Rienherdt

      “Anoka High has seen five students kill themselves in the past year; three of those suicides are believed to be tied to struggles with sexual identities. And yet the Anoka-Hennepin School District continues to rail against specifically calling out LGBT bullying — something their perhaps-future governor also believes”

      This anecdote should make EVERY human, especially LGBT *livid*…up in arms, sad, upset, frustrated, angry, LOUD. Why is mainstream newsoutlets NOT taking thsi school district to battle? Why are they not being called out for their blatant promotion of hate and enabler enhancing conducts? The school is not only turning a blidn eye, but at this point…encouraging the CRIMES. For anyone who claims Hollywood, liberal arts and journalism is swept by gays…I wish those gays would come out and report THESE stories. This one in particular illustrates homophobia in our society more so than any other that comes to mind.

      Sep 14, 2010 at 4:58 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kev C
      Kev C

      I have to wonder if there isn’t some sort of legal action they could take against the school or the state, ie, negligence, abandonment of duties, failure to provide security, hazardous work conditions. 5 suicides!! I’d get a good lawyer and sue their fucking asses off.

      Sep 14, 2010 at 5:03 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • KiomainNY
      KiomainNY

      something really messed up about this story, for starters, the fact that I just read about it for the first time on here. Insert any other demographic, 3 Latino kids killing themselves at one highschool over anti latin bullying, 3 handicapped kids killing themselves over disability torment, Jewish, black- it would be the staple headline news everywhere. 3 gay children taking their own lives under one schools umbrella in one year and hardly a word? it’s times like this GLBT should be galvanized and stand together. not attack each other for being fem (as many men on here like to do) or being this, or that, but embracing each others differences knowing we’re stronger in numbers and love.
      this breaks my heart! come together as one gays. now more than ever.

      Sep 14, 2010 at 5:04 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Vo Dong Cung
      Vo Dong Cung

      Yesterday, Billy Luca, 15 year old, of Greenburg Hight, Indiana hang himself and died. He was constantly harrassed but received no help from school staff.

      “Focus on the Family” want more teengay died like this.

      Sep 14, 2010 at 5:07 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Samuel
      Samuel

      Something has changed over time, and I do not know what. At this age, 30 years ago, kids got bullied or picked on all the time. Gay, dumb, fat, ugly – you name it. Some of it was physical, most was mental, but there was never a suicide.

      Sep 14, 2010 at 6:19 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • kayla
      kayla

      I can’t believe black homophobia has infected Minnesota and this school, you would think the Midwest would be immune to that sort of thing. N&^&gers are everywhere!!!

      Sep 14, 2010 at 7:42 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • bobito
      bobito

      @Samuel: @Samuel: There were definitely teen suicides 30 years ago, and many of them involved sexual identity crises and were exacerbated by bullying in school. They just weren’t publicized as such at the time. A lot of those kids killed themselves rather than identify as gay. True, the bullying has gotten worse, but you are deluding yourself if you really think that wasn’t going on 30 years ago. Our society is only now beginning to recognize it.

      Sep 14, 2010 at 7:43 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ossurworld
      ossurworld

      Time to move out of that town…

      Sep 14, 2010 at 9:03 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jason
      jason

      I would like to line up the bullies and smack them in the mouth.

      Sep 14, 2010 at 9:14 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • merkin
      merkin

      I am outraged by the lack of involvement by the school, and saddened by the tragedy, but like #7, Im puzzled trying to figure out what has changed since i was in high school 20 years ago. Kids were mercilessly picked on, physically assaulted, etc for being gay (among other reasons), and yet there werent this many suicides. And back then, we didnt even have the images in the media telling us life could be better.

      Sep 14, 2010 at 9:26 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jeffree
      Jeffree

      Even if the school is morally repugnant enough to ignore the issue of LGBT suicide, they need to install a suicide-prevention program.

      A friend of mine is a school social worker and she says there are at least FOUR suicide programs the school can choose from, which involve a school assembly, counselor education, posters for hallways/ classrooms and wallet-size cards containing numbers to call if a student has thoughts of self-harm.

      Suicide and suicide attempts tend to be “contagious” which is to say that once one student kills her /himself the likelihood of other students following suit goes *way* up

      For the district to do nothing opens them up to all kinds of liability, per my friend.

      Please keep fighting the good fight Mrs. Aaberg ! It’s no time to be silent!
      Jeffree Z.

      Sep 14, 2010 at 10:10 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • kayla
      kayla

      Why did so many people thumb down my comment?? I’m just stating the truth, all black people are homophobic, they’re the reason that gay Americans don’t have full equality. I’m certain the bullies must be black,as well as the heartless school administrators, how else could this happen?? Only n@#&gers would bully a gay teenager, don’t forget what those n&%$gers did to poor Matthew Shepard. If all the n*&^gers went back to Africa where they belong, America would be a gay Utopia.

      Sep 14, 2010 at 10:37 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill Perdue
      Bill Perdue

      The facts show the great danger facing LGBT youth. A 2009 study, “Family Rejection as a Predictor of Negative Health Outcomes” by San Francisco State University, shows that adolescents rejected by their families for being LGBT were 8.4 times more likely to report having attempted suicide. And for every completed suicide by a young person, it is estimated that 100 to 200 attempts are made (2003 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey).

      The best way to stop this is for our legal organizations to step in and aid GLBT youth by launching financially crippling lawsuits against the bigots, whether they’re schools, parents, politicians or cult ‘reeducation’ camps. The Southern Poverty Law Center used that strategy to financially break the KKK in the late 80s and 90s. Lambda Legal, the NCLR and the ACLU should step up to defend our youth.

      Sep 14, 2010 at 11:23 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Baxter
      Baxter

      So you pass these anti-bullying laws and keep kids in their hermetically sealed packages to keep them safe. Then they’ll graduate from high school, go into the real world and kill themselves because they never learned to deal with people saying mean things to them.

      Sep 14, 2010 at 11:36 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • SometimesElla
      SometimesElla

      “And none of that will change until school districts accept that LGBT bullying does occur, is a unique problem, and doesn’t just affect ‘those faggot kids.’ It affects the entire community.”

      While I accept the latter part of this statement as truth, I reject the former part. I think we’re at a point where it’s evident that school districts (some, not all) are just NOT going to accept it. Instead of waiting around for them to do it, it may be time for LGBTA folks to go to them, especially in some of the “redder” parts of this country.

      It would be nice to see people organizing around this issue – the school won’t stop bullying? Unacceptable, but probably not changeable either, so how can it be countered? Perhaps with LGBTA mentoring or something similar.

      I hate that this is happening and more I hate that it’s being ignored, but it seems that the timeline for social change here is a long one, in the meantime, I hope some quicker, but no less powerful, actions can be taken.

      Sep 14, 2010 at 11:36 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill Perdue
      Bill Perdue

      Anti-bullying laws in the absense of a barrage of financially crippling lawsuits are not effective.

      However, combined with those lawsuits and other agressive stategies aimed at making bullies, their parents, their cults leaders and bigot-bully empowering schools pay fianacially and otherwise is our best bet to save lives.

      baxter’s attitude of just them die is offensive.

      Sep 14, 2010 at 11:46 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Gorbeh
      Gorbeh

      Good God…Anoka is 10 minutes away…I can’t even begin to describe how much this ruined my day…

      :'(

      Sep 14, 2010 at 11:53 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill Perdue
      Bill Perdue [Different person #1 using similar name]

      At the same time, you have to wonder what this boy did to bring the bullying on. Is it possible he was too flamboyant? He knew he lived in a conservative are so he should have butched it up like a man should. If he hadn’t thrown his sexuality in everyone’s face, none of this would have happened. We have lay 50 to 60% of the blame at the boy’s feet. Let this be a lesson to all young gay boys; act like a man, keep your sexual preference to yourself and you’ll live. Better yet, there are many wonderful ex-gay programs that can help you live a happy heterosexual life.

      Sep 14, 2010 at 12:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sean Chapin
      Sean Chapin

      I’ve written a song called “Pray The Hate Away” dedicated to Justin Aaberg and all gay teenagers who have tragically left us too soon:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tno02tKE_F8

      Something has to be done to stop this hate from taking more lives.

      Sep 14, 2010 at 12:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill Perdue
      Bill Perdue

      Now racist pig james-from-the-great-city-of-cambridge is trying to shut down a thread about a young man murdered by bigotry. His forgery, No 20, has no place on this thread. james-from-the-great-city-of-cambridge is totally foul and despicable.

      Sep 14, 2010 at 12:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Queer Supremacist
      Queer Supremacist

      It needs to be legal for victims of bullying to use deadly force against bullies.

      Do you know what created this culture of hate? Christianity. Cut off the head and the body will die.

      Sep 14, 2010 at 1:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • mk
      mk

      A big problem is the school bullying policy there in Minnesota. Teachers apparently have to stay “neutral” in bullying cases and cannot talk about homophobia and homosexuality with the student body or the bullied students. It’s the old conservative fear that telling kids being gay is OK will make them go gay and feed the Gay Agenda.

      The new federal Safe Schools Improvement Act that’s being fought for in Washington is an attempt to address these kind of negative policies. It mandates that schools must engage with students about several specific types of bullying including homophobic bullying. Anti-gay bullying must be something that is explicitly talked about and dealt with. I hope the Act gets passed and without being gutted.

      Sep 14, 2010 at 1:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • mk
      mk

      Here’s a local news video about this story: http://wcco.com/video/?id=83583@wcco.dayport.com .

      Sep 14, 2010 at 2:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • rrr
      rrr

      @Baxter: The kids are already living in the real world except for school. School is this crazy little fishbowl kids are confined to where normal world rules (e.g. you can pick your environment, you have choice in the place you spend a lot of your day, etc) don’t apply. Even college is different since only a portion of students go to college and the students as adults have choice about what college they want to go to and whether to leave to attend college in a more liberal area.

      I don’t know anyone who has found the bullying situation after school and their options to deal with it anything like what is endured in school. If bullied school kids can get through school alive they normally find what awaits on the other side a big relief.

      Sep 14, 2010 at 2:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Rob Moore
      Rob Moore

      @Samuel: It would appear that way, but I was there and remember it. In 1971, a classmate of mine was targeted. He was small and effeminate but also kind and brave and funny. There was one guy who was merciless to him through 9th and 10th grade just kept escalating it. One spring day in 11th grade, the guy escalated, again, and beat my friend severely. He was only about 5’6″ and 120 pounds against this goon who was at least 6′ and 175 pounds. It was right after last period behind the school as my friend was walking to the main building from band practice.

      He survived and nothing was done to the assailant because there were no witnesses. There were three of us who could pass muster as straight, redneck farmboys, but Stevie was one who couldn’t. I wish I could say one of us became his protector, but we didn’t. He never asked, but we never offered. The taunts continued, but Stevie was the bravest of us and never let them get to him. Later, after all of us left the area, I ran into Stevie years later. He was happy and kind, and I felt ashamed that I stood by and did not help him but also in awe of his ability to live a happy, full life. I could have helped him. I was bigger than his assailant and probably could have held my own, but I didn’t try.

      Of the three of us who managed to pass through high school largely undetected, one got married, had three children then blew his brains out when he was 24. I lost touch with the other guy after a few years although I remember he and his boyfriend from another high school moved away together when they finished college. I hope they have had a good life.

      I also knew of at least two other boys around my age who attended other high schools who hanged themselves before they graduated. One was labeled an accidental hanging (yeah, right) and the other was listed as a suicide but nothing was said about being gay. Keep in mind, 1969 and Stonewall were quite recent and not well known outside large urban centers.

      The bottom line is that bullying existed thirty years ago and longer, but there was no gay context in society to help define it.

      Sep 14, 2010 at 2:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • prohomo
      prohomo

      @Bill Perdue: Bill, you’re joking, right? I mean, I am slow to get sarcasm irony,etc. Please inform….

      Sep 14, 2010 at 2:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Andy
      Andy

      @Bill Perdue: I got the sarcasm…

      Sep 14, 2010 at 3:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Skyler
      Skyler

      I go to the school district a little south of Anoka, my mom apparently heard about this and asked me if I was bullied at all. Thankfully, the Hopkins school district has its shit together, there’s a zero tolerance policy of bullying for any reason, including (as specifically stated on a paper hung up near the door of every room) discrimination of people on the grounds of their sexual orientation. It’s extremely sad what’s happened in Anoka and I can’t believe how irresponsible the school is being.

      Sep 14, 2010 at 4:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Samuel
      Samuel

      @bobito: I’m certainly not “deluding” myself by stating facts of my experience, thirty years ago. All I am relating, is this. I grew up in a city of 100,000 in population, attended 5 different public schools from the first grade, through high school graduation, and during the entire twelve years, there was never a single suicide. There was plenty of bullying – believe me, and none any different that what is reported today. Mental cruelty has changed a bit, as of course, there was no Internet. Maybe that’s the problem? But, there again, I don’t know, but something has definitely changed.

      Sep 14, 2010 at 4:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Samuel
      Samuel

      @mk: I’d have to agree with you about Minnesota. What’s up with this “neutral” nonsense? I really do not know anything about their local policies, but it sounds like that’s a good place to start.

      Sep 14, 2010 at 5:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jonathan
      Jonathan

      @kayla:
      Kayla: You stupid little racist bitch. In CA during Prop 8 58% of black Americans voted to deny marriage equality. These are the religious people who identify as Christian, mostly.

      The real issue here is religious affiliation. Don’t try to blame people you obviously don’t like. Ask Catholics how many of them would vote against gay people and I’ll bet it’s higher than 58%.

      So shut up, stupid bitch.

      Sep 14, 2010 at 7:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • L.
      L.

      @mk, @Samuel: It would be foolish to attempt to put it better than Desmond Tutu: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

      Sep 14, 2010 at 8:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jeffree
      Jeffree

      As stated above, suicide is “contagious” because once a student succeeds, the chances of other students making attempts increases greatly. Same goes for the second and third suicides, and so on.

      This school district appears not to have taken any measures to prevent further suicides, and the administration and counseling services staff should all be fired.

      School needs a suicide prevention program, bottom line.

      Sep 14, 2010 at 9:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • gilber
      gilber

      gay and lesbian people should never think about committing suicide,things like these are what gratifies the morbid and malefic minds of those that wish us suffering and pain.we must give them a slap on the face by being committed to staying healthy,and successful,and making our community strong.it is sad that so many gay teenagers have very hard times during high school and have to go through all this hell.i have two gay friends of mine one with a phd in microbiology and the other is a pharmacist, and they both agree that high school is a WASTE of time.they all went to a community college after they got their GED.high school is over rated and the most important thing after all, for pharmacy and medical schools, are the required credits and the GPA,which is zero during the first semester of college,so you basically have to clean your ass with your high school GPA.also remember that they are a lot of immigrants that come with their high school diplomas from their native countries and they have NO problems getting into a community college,so getting a GED instead of a high school diploma seems like a real good options for gay teens.i say this,because it is important that they know that they have other very good options available. many gay teens during this period of their life have too many frustrations and anxieties,being the feeling of loneliness the most dangerous one,it is a time when they begin to have crushes on their straight friends and then getting heartbroken,on top of that dealing with bullying,coming out …. too many things that the majority of gay teens successfully go through.

      Sep 14, 2010 at 10:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Samuel
      Samuel

      @L.: Well, I suppose that is so, to an extent. Laws are supposed to help, and, somebody else here questioned why no legal action. If the DA is not going to get involved, then it’s up to the parents to sue. I think everybody knows that means the parent needs to find a willing attorney, have plenty of time, and a boat load of cash. Nothing worth doing is ever easy.

      Sep 14, 2010 at 11:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Samuel
      Samuel

      @Jeffree: Do you think that’s true? If so, very sad that kids would value their lives, and the lives of the one’s they are leaving behind, so little. I imagine programs could help, but it seems like good friends would be better.

      Sep 14, 2010 at 11:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ale
      ale

      Como es posible que la gente de nuestra generación siga siendo homofóbica??? Al fin y al cabo todos somos personas sin importar con quien nos acostemos!!! Y las madres y padres(como la madre del muchacho) no deberían esperar a que sus hijos se suiciden para empezar a respetar y aceptar la inclinación sexual de sus hijos, deberían de ser voceros de la aceptación de la diversidad sexual siempre y en cualquier circunstancia!
      Ser homosexual no es una enfermedad, ni una desgracia, ni una razón para sentirse avergonzados de sus hijos, ni de nadie.
      El amor es amor, venga de quien venga y para quien se quiera

      Sep 14, 2010 at 11:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Richard
      Richard

      FIVE SUICIDES? What the hell are they doing to those kids?

      Sep 15, 2010 at 12:27 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • damon459
      damon459

      I finished High School 12 yrs ago I can tell you it was hell I made 2 suicide attempts before someone notices a problem and I got help sadly the school wasn’t part of the help they responded by telling my parents I brought this on myself and kicked me out of of the school I was then sent to an alternative HS which was so much worse I lasted only 4 days a month later I got my GED and moved on. I still have the mental scars that I will always carry and sadly it doesn’t look like things are getting any better in some area’s though I can say from kids I have talked to MT it’s gotten a lot better the have GSA’s and other groups and the teachers are showing signs or caring.

      Sep 15, 2010 at 1:02 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Giovannidude
      Giovannidude

      Anoka High is Suicide High. The school board, administrators, and teachers are in denial. They are in a way in collusion with the bullies, because the bullies know they will be given a pass at Anoka High. It’s the worst possible situation.

      A giant skull and crossbones should be placed at the entrance to Anoka High as a warning: your son or daughter risks death by entering here.

      Sep 15, 2010 at 1:16 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • L.
      L.

      @Samuel: Indeed it’s not cake. While I’m not delude enough that I have a solution, I would imagine the parents to be willing, and a lawyer to be found, and then maybe one of those gay organizations we either love or hate could step in with the money. This is too heart-wrenching to let pass by.

      Sep 15, 2010 at 4:59 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS
      PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS

      I can not believe there are two threads currently running regarding losing two Gay teens…….

      I tried to post this kids letter but it got auto flagged. I hope this link will not be flagged. I read the letter and couldn’t decide whether to cry or start smashing things. This is the link to an actual suicide letter written by a Gay teen. It is well worth the time to click and read. Am hoping people will recongnize my tagname to realize this is not spam. Is powerfull, disturbing, and one of the saddest things you will ever lay your eyes on……….

      http://www.suicide.org/suicide…..-teen.html

      Sep 15, 2010 at 11:10 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • SometimesElla
      SometimesElla

      @PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS: Link doesn’t work for me, but I’d like to read it.

      Sep 15, 2010 at 11:14 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • L.
      L.

      @SometimesElla: I have no idea how to format things or add inline links on here, and for some weird reason it looks like Queerty “summarized” the link posted.

      Try pasting together:

      http://www.suicide.org/

      and

      suicide-note-of-a-gay-teen.html

      (Hope this won’t get garbled the same way.)

      Sep 15, 2010 at 12:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • SometimesElla
      SometimesElla

      @L.: Works. Thanks.

      Sep 15, 2010 at 12:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS
      PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS

      @SometimesElla: Words are tough to describe it…..
      @L.:
      L (does this mean we have a truce? :p) Thanks………..

      Sep 15, 2010 at 1:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • L.
      L.

      @PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS: I wasn’t aware there was a war.

      Anyhoooo – the fact that I may – somewhat strongly – disagree with *some* of your views (and you may well feel the same towards mine, I have no beef with that) does not mean I will disagree with *all*, especially on such a gutting, and heart-wrenching, topic as teen suicide (gay or not.)

      I thought the note was very worthy reading, and since I found the link through the googles, I felt it really had to be shared.

      Sep 15, 2010 at 2:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Evan
      Evan

      Am I reading this right/ FIVE suicides in ONE high school in ONE year?

      My high school had over three thousand students and not a single suicide in the four years I went there. Something is seriously amiss at this school.

      Sep 16, 2010 at 8:02 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TheInsider
      TheInsider

      Like I stated before: Many teens act in a homophobic because they are scared of being gay, and so they torment their peers. As gays we have failed miserably in getting our message out there: that to be gay is nothing to be ashamed of. But we have no role models. Which role model did this boy have to feel proud of, someone that would have given the straights a moment to pause and reflect? No one. Because we continue supporting closeted actors and their movies and TV shows; idolize porn and the concept of twinks, making people like Brent Corrigan our “stars”; can’t get rid of the myth that we are all fabulous, gorgeous A-listers with lots of disposable income, a house on Fire Island and vacations in Europe; are the first ones to forget about HIV education and safe-sex campaigns; set up this horrific body and beauty standards that, just like bulimic and anorexic girls, our boys cannot live up to. And I could go on and on… There really is not a gay community, no gay brotherhood, because we are our own worst enemies, I am sorry to say. Some of us fight too much or not at all; others are just interested in the partying and drugs and sex; and our so-called leaders, from HRC and other entities, are playing games and filling their pockets with money while we continue to struggle for our rights. We have become anesthetized as a group, and as a nation. Our kids die, schools crumble, politicians rob us, the media is collapsing, snark rules, our taxes go to pay for unpopular wars and our culture becomes more violent. I don’t see a rosy future ahead for us and for our children. At all.

      Sep 16, 2010 at 10:27 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • prohomo
      prohomo

      @TheInsider: So true. I feel your pain and frustration.

      Sep 16, 2010 at 4:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Max S.
      Max S.

      this is just rediculous. stuff has to be done about this if not now, then soon. I mean, FIVE suicides in ONE year??? thats seriously messed up. Why didnt the school do anything about it? Hell, why didn’t SOMEBODY do anything about it? It’s just rediculous that this would happen. People have absolutely no respect for others anymore. >(

      Sep 16, 2010 at 5:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Meagan D.
      Meagan D.

      Thank you for posting this.. I was just reading an article and I saw this one about him. Justin was one of my bestfriends. It is horrible that is has to come to this just for people to start listening.

      3/9/1995 – 7/9/2010

      I love you my angel. Life is empty without you.

      Sep 16, 2010 at 6:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Meagan D.
      Meagan D.

      I also wanted to just had that Anoka Highschool, Justin’s school, is a school with a lot of problems. The harassment there gets pretty viscious and whats worse is that I myself have told teachers and counselors and absolutely nothing happened except a lame video about bullying. That just told kids not to bully… like the kids will listen. I left there after last year cause of it. Apparently it has gotten worse as far as I know. There were tons of people who loved Justin to death… but the saddst thing is that there were tons more than made fun of him.

      Please raise your voices everyone. It is not safe anymore for GLBT students. Harassment is getting worse.. but make your voice stronger. Cancel them out. Stand up for your friends. Put an end to this.

      Sep 16, 2010 at 6:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Victim of circumstance
      Victim of circumstance

      @Samuel: you’re absolutly right.something HAS changed. but, not the tolerance level of the bullied individuals, as i believe you are trying to say,but the bullies. think about somethings you have seen the teenagers of today saying or doing in public. things you never said or did as a child. not even when you were alone with friends. so….think about it. if the “bad eggs” of todays generation commonly do things-while in public- you would never dream of doing,imagine the things there capable of saying or doing in a locker room or on a bus. places where there are no adults. places where the only people present are the kid there interested in hurting, beit mentally or phisicaly, and their freinds that are cheering them on. you put any scumbag with a decent imagination in that situaion, and you’de be suprized what his bullying can “acomplish”

      Sep 16, 2010 at 9:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • On The Road
      On The Road

      This article should be amended to clarify that 5 students have committed suicide over the past year in the school district (of 40,000+ students) that includes Anoka High School; not at that particular high school.

      Obviously, 5 suicides in a single school district is completely unacceptable and horrifying. But 5 suicides at a single school is unbelievable- and in this case inaccurate.

      Sep 17, 2010 at 8:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Richard
      Richard

      @On The Road:

      What the hell is this, The Onion? Five kids kill themselves and we’re relieved to found out that its spread out across a single district, and not a single high school?

      Sep 18, 2010 at 1:02 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • faghagmom
      faghagmom

      This very same school district had teachers that were doing their share of harassing and discrimination against a student they perceived to be gay.

      You can read about it at the link I have posted:

      Anoka-Hennepin school district pays $25,000 to settle charge that teachers harassed high school student because of his perceived sexual orientation

      http://www.humanrights.state.mn.us/settlements/case51679.html

      Now, does this school really expect us to believe that this school has had a strict no tolerance of LGBT bullying since 2003? Cause their actions say otherwise. The neutral stance, which the school claims is only “curricular”, is hurting the students. You cannot address an issue if you don’t talk about it. And when you allow your own teachers to get away with it, you are setting the example to the bully’s that their behavior is acceptable. Teaching Hate!

      Statement from the school:

      http://www.anoka.k12.mn.us/education/components/whatsnew/default.php?sectiondetailid=233410&itemID=32271

      Sep 22, 2010 at 4:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Christina
      Christina

      @kayla: Your comment was a perfect example of ignorance, that’s why it got marked down so low.

      http://thenewsoftoday.com/raymond-chase-19-year-old-gay-male-is-5th-suicide-in-last-3-weeks/3095/

      Raymond Chase was a black kid who recently committed suicide because he was bullied for being gay too.

      Oct 2, 2010 at 5:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jim Longacre
      Jim Longacre

      @merkin: there were just as many suicides of LGBT youth back then as there are now. the difference is the internet allows us to instantly hear and see what is going on. back then the suicides were usually covered up and causes of death were “sudden illness” etc.

      Oct 4, 2010 at 6:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ron in NY
      Ron in NY

      As long as there are those sweaty, overweight fundamentalist preachers with their bad hair and cheap suits waving Bibles in the air and ranting endlessly about the evils of homa-sex-shal-ty, there are going to be little demons who think it’s OK to bully gay kids. As the song says in South Pacific, “you have to be carefully taught to hate”. What a waste of a young life! All because of ignorance and Fundies fanning the flames and using the Bible to justify it. When Christ returns, I hope He disowns the whole bunch of ‘em. They’re not Christians, they’re modern day Pharisees. They should all rot in Hell.

      Oct 9, 2010 at 8:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Deanna
      Deanna

      This is bulls**t. These kids shouldnt have to suffer because their teachers and principal are complete idiots. HOW MANY KIDS HAVE TO DIE BEFORE YOU F***ERS WAKE UP!!!! this is happening so do something about it. Kids should be able to express themselves for who they are and what they are and NOT get bullied for it. thats just ridiculous. I have several gay/lesbian friends whom i love dearly, and if i ever found out that they had been bullied when they were in high school i would want to go after the person or people who did it because its not okay. we tell our kids to express themselves and then when they actually do and feel confident enough to come out to us and their peers, they get ridiculed and called names for being different? NO!! that is not okay and something NEEDS to be done about it. Those teachers and school administrators need to be fired and that whole f***ing community needs to wake the hell up.

      Oct 10, 2010 at 4:34 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • mo
      mo

      @Bill Perdue:
      what the fuck is your problem, are you to wrapped up in your men should be with women and only women fucked up state of mind that you cant even come to relize that they might be happy if they get to be who they want to be? not bullied or harrassed. go fuck your self you bastard.

      Oct 13, 2010 at 5:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dee
      Dee

      To me I think that everybody gets bullied whether your gay or not and that’s wrong.But it’s a 90% chance that the most kids who get bullied are gay.
      You shouldn’t judge people by what gender they like you should judge them by their personality their character.
      He didn’t deserve to die at so young.
      I mean it’s hard for kids they have a lot on them and being bullied depresses you and puts you down so much and it’s hard to carry the words that people have called you then after you’ve been called it so many times you start to believe it. =/
      i think people can love who they love no matter what gender it is as long as they are happy with who their with.
      and the people who made fun of him and teased him shouldn’t make fun of him.i mean why are they so worried and care whether he was gay or not they aren’t him so you should’ve just left hi alone and nothing would have happened.

      Oct 19, 2010 at 2:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Claudia
      Claudia

      I believe that they should be ashamed of themselves. Bullying because of sexual orientation is still bullying and should at all times be stopped. Parents should sit down with their children and tell them that having a sexual orientation different than “normal” is alright. Children don’t know what their doing, so it’s up to the TEACHERS to TEACH them that it’s wrong. Wear purple October 20th to show support and love for those different than yourself. Show support to the gays, lesbians, bis, and bicurious. I, a servicewoman, sure will.

      Oct 20, 2010 at 2:43 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Wilbert Spencer
      Wilbert Spencer

      No one ever knows what we have to go through because some people think its a disease and its not!!!!! Some people just don’t know the pain and suffering that we as gay people have to go through. It’s hard enough as it is to find out that we are actually gay and no one makes it better by bullying, it sickens me to know that someone would do something so degrading.

      Oct 27, 2010 at 6:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • me
      me

      I go to Anoka highschool justin was a close friend of mine. it hurts so much. why are all my friends dying? we dont know. we also lost dylan witschen to cancer this last june adn two more kids in car crashes two weeks apart. a total of seven deaths in less than six months. Our school is dying off.

      Dec 13, 2010 at 9:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Emerson
      Emerson

      i dont want to point out anyone but someone that really stood out in these comments was that kayla girl. could you be anymore racist? fuck, you need to learn to have tolerance for other people. @bill you said everyone just needs to live a normal heterosexual life, no. Justin the boy in the picture, he IS my best friend. i accepted him, i’d much rather him be gay, and happy. then be forced to live a heterosexual lifestyle. Justin isnt to blame for all the bullying. he isnt to blame for any of it, its pathetic that people cant learn tolerance for others. Just because he was gay, didnt mean others had to bully him. but they did and see the result. children that commit suicide dont see what there leaving behind, but they leave a lot. theyre just trying to get out of here, so they dont realize all that loving people that need them here. maybe if people could learn tolerance, my best friend would still be here. Anoka has lost FIVE kids, i think that should say something, i feel bad for the kids that have to attend any school in the anoka hennipen district. there staff is very ignorant and needs to get its shit together.

      Dec 18, 2010 at 11:40 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Soupy
      Soupy

      There is no force more powerful in this world than an angry, grieving mother.

      Dec 18, 2010 at 12:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DeGuyz in Mississippi
      DeGuyz in Mississippi

      …and most of this aggression evolves from “perceived” perception. I think once they get it in their mind that someone is “just a little too cute” or wears a little bit nicer jewelry or whatever, somehow God put them in charge to make the decision about their presumed lifestyle. They all play judge, jury and executioner. Just like the adults that taught them. I say this because exactly what I wrote above happened. Not by kids in school but by law enforcement during a traffic stop. To show you how out of control it has gotten, these law enforcement officers admitted it in a recorded telephone conversation when a complaint was made. At 2 AM in the morning. And this guy was over 30 years old. Not his fault he doesn’t show his age. A formal complaint was made with the local ACLU and the entire sheriff’s dept. had to go through extensive training. It didn’t do any good. Retaliation followed(www.deguyz.webs.com) and now he has them in violation again. Not only them, but the whole state. The state managed to drag in the federal government and he has them in violation as well. You have to fight fire with fire. They done bit into the wrong queers ass and now they (the state)let his mother die as a “way to show him”. You know who will be the last one standing here. You have to take a stand and fight back.http://education.change.org/petitions/view/demand_state_legislators_to_enact_a_zero_tolerance_harassment_law_in_every_state
      We have to stand behind Justin’s mom and make sure her fight and every other kid’s mom has their voices heard. It’s America and every citizen has rights which is in direct contrast with most states.

      Jan 27, 2011 at 8:36 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Courtney
      Courtney

      @kayla: U need to knock it off. Bullying of the lgbt does NOT come from just blacks. It comes from anyone and everyone who thinks its wrong or thinks they’re better than the lgbt

      May 18, 2011 at 11:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ty
      Ty

      FUCK BULLIES. This article made me sick. The faculty and community are obviously against gays and are sorry worthless people who probably think the gay kids are doing a service by eliminating themselves from ‘society’. The Gay community needs to RISE UP and demand equality! If this injustice continues we should all Take A Stand and show the world that we are willing to fight for our equality! And we ARE being discriminated! People who say gays aren’t discrimated are blind fools! The media will stop making gays look bad and give us our respect if we become stirred. There needs to be an awakening America needs to WAKE up and the gay community needs to start a riot for everyone to see or else the close minded people will just continue to treat us like dirt because they “can” FUCK THAT if you ever dare to call me a derogatory name concerning my sexuality I will punch you in the teeth and spit in your face. What we need is a Malcom X of the Gays so that closed minded straight bitches will learn their place. Gay people never harm anyone but since they want violence lets give it to them :) Have a nice day. God bless. No but seriously take a stand and speak out about our injustices people! What we really need is a Martin Luther King Jr. Of the Gays. I HAVE a dream too!

      Jul 16, 2011 at 4:10 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • prohomo
      prohomo

      Right on, TY! I never understood why gays don’t bash back- I get sooooo angry at the ugly hate that only fighting back will get us some justice. There in the U.S., I would definitely arm myself with self defence techniques and a gun.

      Jul 17, 2011 at 10:13 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michfestlover
      Michfestlover

      Come on kids, let’s get a clue. Kayla is black and probably heterosexual.

      Sep 17, 2011 at 11:21 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Amanda
      Amanda

      I am a lesbian and I went to Blaine High School from 2000 to 2004. Even at that time, I would constantly hear “dyke” whispered when I went by. The “popular” girls would make gagging noises when I walked past, thinking that I was attracted to all of them. My teachers? Well, my senior year (even though I spent every waking second dedicating my life to different types of band programs through the school), another lesbian and myself were not selected for “drum major” based on our homosexuality. I worked my entire high school career for that position, was qualified, but was not chosen based on who I love. Myself, and the other lesbian girl, were told that he would need someone “better suited to represent our school”. For the first year in Blaine marching band history, they chose two men instead of a male and a female. The teachers in these districts are NOT helping the overall terrible situation.

      I never once had a teacher stop someone from calling me a “dyke”, even right in front of them. I’ve had girls push me around and threaten to kill me, and no one intervened until I had fallen over a garbage can onto the floor… even though my teacher was watching the whole incident out of the corner of her eye. Due to a lot of this… I was nearly one of those “teen suicides”. When I was 17, I overdosed on medication and barely lived through the incident. I’m glad I did… I am now able to see that horrible situation for what it truly was.

      I don’t know what can be done, but something needs to be. We need to bring awareness to the discrimination in this district. We need to stand up when someone says “gay” for stupid, or when we hear someone call another person a “faggot”. These things come from hate and we can not let homophobic people take back the true meaning of the words. We can’t live in a society anymore where people look around before saying “gay” in the right context because it feels like a dirty word.

      It’s time to stand strong, so this world is more welcoming and accepting for our future generations.

      Sep 17, 2011 at 7:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • bree
      bree

      @kayla: how dare you say such a thing im a “nigger” and i go to a white school and we have gay studeents. its not just the blackboys that torment the gay its the whites boys to. AND I SAY BOYS BECAUSE us GIRLS dont have a problem with it. I just went to a gay pride parade and i seen more blacks than any other race!

      Sep 25, 2011 at 11:44 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael
      Michael

      @kayla:

      So are racists you are proof of this sadly.

      Sep 25, 2011 at 11:59 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • bri
      bri

      @kayla: lol ummmm WHITE MEN killed matthew shepard dumb ass.

      Oct 26, 2011 at 3:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • lynn
      lynn

      @Jeffree: @Steve Rienherdt: Would love for people to remember that Mrs Aaberg herself is much to blame for much of the bullying her son received at home in the abusive relationship she allowed to go on in her own home in regards to her own son who seemed to be a target of his own fathers abuse! Maybe she should focus her energy on helping women leave abusive men rather than try and tear apart a school district realing from the shock of all these suicides! Justin was a well liked student by many students straight and gay…I know this because I have kids who knew him and they are straight.. I think his torment came from the hell his mother allowed to go on in her own home.. We as a team of soccer kids and parents tried to help his older brother through his addiction problems and knowing about the abuse she had confesed that went on in the home.. She was aware of resources and had people who offered her a hand…let’s look deeper into things before everyone makes an assumption about a whole district and a body of students who granted there are a few asses among them, but is really an accepting student body! Shame on mrs Aaberg for misleading and placing all the blame on others!

      Jan 24, 2012 at 5:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Scott Rose
      Scott Rose

      @lynn: If it is true that you the older brother through “his addiction problems,” did you get that brother’s permission to publish to a non-confidential venue on the internet that he had had addiction problems? I see a very serious issue here, that you have violated the confidentiality of a person you allege to have helped. Unless you have the express consent from that person to divulge the information here, alleging that they had “addiction problems,” you have violated them by publishing that here. Additionally, the school district’s policy against gays is in itself an act of bullying, something you do not acknowledge, in insisting that no school bullying went on against Aaberg.

      Feb 7, 2012 at 9:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brynnan
      Brynnan

      @CJ: 100% agree

      Mar 8, 2012 at 7:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ryan.........
      Ryan.........

      I can’t imagine the amount of pain he went through….. Becaus I know his name and what happened not his story so I cant pretend I do… I can feel all his pain and suffering and can have some sort of an idea… But this breaks every last piece of my heart… RIP to… you Justin </3

      Mar 26, 2013 at 8:53 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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