Better idea

After Another Teen Suicide, Can We Do Better Than “It Gets Better”?

Four months ago, Jamey Rodemeyer of Williamsville, NY, made an “It Gets Better” video, usually something done by self-actualized LGBT adults who are happy with how they’ve turned out. But Rodemeyer was just 14 and in his video he admits his schoolmates often called him a “faggot” and that anonymous users had been posting vicious comments on his Formspring account—hateful messages including “JAMIE IS STUPID, GAY, FAT ANND UGLY. HE MUST DIE!,” and “I wouldn’t care if you died. No one would. So just do it 🙂 It would make everyone WAY more happier!”

At one point Rodemeyer looks into the camera and says, “I just wanna tell you that it does get better because”—then he looks away and continues—”when I came out for being bi, I got so much support from my friends and it made me feel so secure.”

Near the end of his video, he repeats, “It gets better” for the third time before adding, “Look at me. I went to the Monster’s Ball and now I’m liberated. So, it gets better.” The young Gaga fan then makes a heart shape with his hands and the recording ends.

He uploaded the video on May 4. This past Sunday, he hung himself in front of his parent’s house.

In the month leading up to his suicide, Rodemeyer became a prolific Tumblr poster, regularly uploading images of Lady Gaga alongside the occasional image of muscle-bound jocks. But there were signs he was suffering: On September 8, he posted, “No one in my school cares about preventing suicide, while you’re the ones calling me ‘faggot’ and tearing me down” and he put up a separate post letting everyone know it was National Suicide Prevention Week.

The next day, he blogged, “I always say how bullied I am, but no one listens. What do I have to do so people will listen to me?” He followed it up with lyrics to the song “The Loss” by Hollywood Undead:

I just wanna say good bye, disappear with no one knowing
I don’t wanna live this lie, smiling to the world unknowing
I dont want you to try, you’ve done enough to keep me going
I’ll be fine, I’ll be fine, I’ll be fine for the very last time

On Saturday night, he posted a lyric from Lady Gaga’s “The Queen” on his Facebook page:

“Don’t forget me when I come crying to heaven’s door.”

Then he hung himself. He had just started as a freshman in Williamsville North High School.


NEXT: Are we doing enough to help?