Gay Michigan Teen Josh Pacheco Commits Suicide Over Bullying

Josh Pacheco of Fenton, MI, committed suicide on November 27 and his parents believe bullying is to blame.

Remembered for his sense of humor and love of theater, Pacheco, 17, was a junior at Linden High School and the middle of five children. He came out to his mother, Lynn Capehart, just two months ago, though Lynn says she wasn’t surprised—and loved her son just the same.

But neither Lynn nor Josh’s stepfather, Michael Capehart, were aware that their son was a victim of bullying.

MLive reports:

After his death, she found out from students that her son had been pushed into lockers and teased at school. It wasn’t surprising that he didn’t tell many people about it, Lynnette Capehart said, because Pacheco never wanted to make anyone else upset.

“He was having problems with bullying. He didn’t really want to tell us very much,” she said. “It was very disheartening to me.”

The weekend after Thanksgiving, Pacheco talked to his sisters, questioning life and his future — comments that worried his parents. His mother talked to him that Sunday and on Monday, Nov. 26, set up an appointment for him to see a counselor on Wednesday — even though he seemed back to his normal, “quirky” self.

Around lunch time on Nov. 27, Michael Capehart saw Josh’s Facebook status, quoting a line from Bilbo Baggins, a character in the “Lord of the Rings” movies: “I regret to announce that this is the end. I’m going now, I bid you all a very fond farewell. Goodbye.”

It immediately worried Michael Capehart. Pacheco was home sick that day, so Capehart called his neighbor to check on Pacheco. He was found unresponsive in his truck, which had been running in the closed-up garage.

He left a note in the truck: “I’m sorry I wasn’t able to be strong enough.”

More than 400 people attended Josh’s funeral on Saturday, when teachers confirmed that Josh had been bullied for being gay. Lynn says she was never told of her son’s hardship while he was still alive.

“We weren’t aware of any specifics,” said Linden High superintendent Ed Koledo. “There’s been a lot of stories that have turned up over the weekend that we are looking into. We are trying to put new programs into place, so [students] feel more comfortable [talking to administrators].”

School officials have accelerated plans for a bullying-prevention hotline, while the district mulls bringing in speakers to discuss teen suicide. Koledo said administrators will also be in contact with staff on what constitutes bullying and how to  handle it.

Michael Capehart says he will be in constant communication with the school until action is taken against the students who bullied Josh.  “After years of bullying, look what it can do to a life,” he said.

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  • John Doe

    Every state should have a hotline where bullying can be reported & where school officials are notified within 24 hours of a claim of bullying within their school. Bullying is a serious problem and when it leads to multiple deaths within a year there is obviously a need to look into things on the local level. Of course, school district leaders also ought to be informed of how many bullying reports have come in… and how they were handled. The public should also be aware of the number of complaints that came in. Parents have a right to know if they’re sending their kids to a school district with a big problem of bullying.

  • Taliaferro

    How many young people must die before schools and society take the problem of bullying seriously? Must we continue to bury our young gay and lesbian dead simply because schools refuse to protect ALL students? There should be zeor tolerance for bullies – expell them and set an example. It would not take long for the word to penetrate even the thickest skulls.

  • Sohobod

    There has to be a reason why these murders (sorry, suicides) only seem to happen in the US. I have never heard of one in the UK, where a child is driven to these extremes. Sure there can be bullying etc, but it doesn’t seem to reach such terrible extremes as it does in the US.

  • horace

    How sad. What a good looking young man he was. In another nine months
    he would have been off to college and been able to measure himself not in the crap macho
    ideals he has listened to all his life but rather in the ideals set by his new world.
    And he would have been so popular, so happy, so full of life. He was on the cusp of all of this and I extend my sympathies to his family and friends.

    Bullying will be changing quickly, everyone has a record button on their smart phone.

  • vegas.bear

    Many schools have anti bullying programs in place. Vegas is ahead of the game, but it is hard to make progress to protect those who will be our future when others are out there who hate us (can we start with republicans?)and spew forth their garbage.
    Of course it hurts the young most, those who are not able to cast aside the opinions and hate-speech of others. It takes time to realize the 3 rules of reality:
    You don’t sign my paycheck.
    You don’t pay my rent.
    We aren’t sleeping together……your opinion doesn’t matter!!!

  • John Doe

    @Sohobod: Only seems to happen in the USA? Not happening in the UK? This isn’t even close to being true.

    Via a quick Google search…

    “Britain has one of the highest suicide rates in Europe. Each year in the UK over 5000 people take their life. The Samaritans estimate that in the UK there is a suicide every 82 minutes. The charity Depression Alliance estimates that each year there are around 19,000 suicide attempts by UK adolescents whilst more than 2 million children attend GP’s surgeries with some kind of psychological or emotional problem.

    Each day, two people under the age of 24 commit suicide. In 1997, 1757 young adult males committed suicide whilst only 412 females committed suicide. One reason is thought to be because males choose more lethal (and thus successful) methods of suicide such as hanging, shooting or jumping in front of a train. Around 200 people commit suicide by train every year, with another 50 killing themselves on the London underground. The death of Brian Drysdale at Ufton Nervet in Berkshire in November 2004 was believed to be a suicide. In the UK, suicide has taken over from road accidents as the number one cause of death for young adult males in the age range 18-24.

    Suicide statistics show that in the UK at least 16 children kill themselves each year because they are being bullied at school and no-one in authority is doing anything about it.”

    *** AND ****

    “A bullying prevention charity has called for more official data on child suicide and research into its causes.

    Beatbullying found that up to 44% of suicides among 10- to 14-year-olds may be bullying-related.

    The charity said 26 out of the 59 cases reported in the national media were linked to intimidating behaviour.

    Its report was published to mark the second anniversary of the death of 13-year-old Sam Leeson.

    Beatbullying said the Office of National Statistics had recorded 176 cases of suicides of 10- to 14-year-olds between 2000 and 2008 in England, Scotland and Wales.

    It then searched national press reports on the issue and said at least 14% (26 of 176) were clearly linked by the press to bullying.

    However, the press covered only 59 cases and the charity thinks up to 78 of the total could have been related to bullying.

    It also said nearly every bullying-related suicide identified the school as the main source of the bullying.”

    *** AND ****

    “Gay equality organisation Stonewall has highlighted the treatment of gay kids in British schools after media reports about a teenage girl who committed suicide after a campaign of harassment about her sexuality.

    In a letter to supporters Stonewall chief executive Ben Summerskill wrote:

    “A number of newspapers reported the death by suicide on Tuesday of a 14 year-old girl from Sussex who had been reportedly taunted by bullies calling her a lesbian.

    “Although the exact facts of such tragedies will often never be known, it reminds us that homophobic bullying affects not only young gay people but also those who are perceived as gay or different.

    “Stonewall’s recent pioneering research The School Report shows that, shockingly, 65 per cent of young lesbian, gay and bisexual pupils have experienced homophobic bullying and that homophobic language is endemic in Britain’s schools.

    “Though I will repeat, and continue to repeat at every opportunity, the shameful statistic that LGBT young people are five times more likely to attempt and commit suicide than their heterosexual classmates – a statistic if applied to any other recognisable group in our society would have caused a national scandal!”

  • 2eo

    @John Doe: Sohobod is a cretin, he had an article in The UK paper The Telegraph where he slammed Gay Marriage, he’s another right wing troll.

    Don’t be surprised if he doesn’t reply, or read your post.

    As a Brit, I can confirm absolutely that it happens here in the UK, with infuriating regularity.

  • hf2hvit

    And the ironic part is how many of the bullyers will be in gay bars in a few years…

  • Daniel-Reader

    Since the students know who the bullies were that harmed him, hopefully the students will hold those bullies accountable and bring them to justice.

  • BritAus

    When will this stop?
    I hope he has found peace.

  • MartinNYID

    Another terrible tragedy. KIDS: Please protect yourselves. I think it’s irresponsible for the political activists to be telling young people to come out at all costs, when clearly, it is not a safe thing to do in many situations. Not that it applies here, but seriously – instead of killing yourselves – get even!

    Outsmart them, outrun them, or, do something like get self defense classes and kick some a**. This is needless, but you gotta protect yourselves in the sad realities that are today’s school s- in the US, UK and elsewhere.

    The rainbow flags can wait until you graduate!

  • erikwm

    It’s not just about bullying at school. Kids can see the world around them. The harsh reality is that bullying for gays and lesbians doesn’t end when we graduate from school. There are adult bullies and many of them hold political office and positions of influence in society.

    It all can be very depressing to a child. I would know. I was once that child. My suicide attempt also occurred at 17. It grew out of a general fear of the future. I didn’t want to face the constant struggle.

    This child’s classmates certainly share some of the blame, but they’re not the only one’s responsible. Our society is still the primary culprit. Too many people continue to demonize homosexuality. They all share responsibility for this child’s death.

  • rcs831

    If he had only held off, it really would have gotten better. This makes me sick. I’m glad I was able to make it through when I was a teen.

  • LeoR

    Why in the fuck does this keep going on?

  • WayDifferent

    His stepfather confirms that “after years of bullying, look what it can do to a life” yet prior to this in the article is the statement “but neither Lynn nor Josh’s stepfather, Michael Capehart, were aware their son was a victim of bullying”. Raises some big questions here.

    If the kid couldn’t handle getting pushed into lockers in high school, whether gay or not, nor bring this to the attention of his parents after coming out to them, he had larger problems then being gay and probably wouldn’t have made it past the age of 25 in the real world.

    I’m tired of these – kids – committing suicide too. We all had our struggles as teens but in my case anyway, I did not have gay everything pushed in my face……when I was a kid. Maybe the root of the problem is the 14 year old quoting Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” before he offed himself, as an example. I’m sorry but these – kids – don’t even now what they are yet.

    Ben Cohen and Lady Gaga aren’t helping the situation here. Back in the day, even coming from a single parent household, we were kept constructively busy rather then worrying about or questioning our sexual preference….. at the age of 14.

    Have we truly progressed?

  • WayDifferent

    @horace: Here’s another ignorant comment “How sad. What a good looking young man he was”. What’s on your mind here? Would it have been less tragic or sad if he were ugly in your opinion?

  • WayDifferent

    @hf2hvit: Correct. Because they don’t know who they are at that age yet either.

  • MartinNYID

    @WayDifferent: You’re placing a lot on the kids – it’s not right to say that the victim shoudl toughen up, that said, it’s up to the schools to lead. This pollyanna 60s agenda, that has taken every bit of discipline out of schools, allows for this behavior. When we were in school, there were lines, and if they were crossed, there were consequences. With people like the far-right spewing hate everywhere, bullies feel justified in aggravated assault.

    I also agree: Gaga, Will & Grace, all of that is selling these kids out.

  • Dumdum

    @MartinNYID: @WayDifferent: Blaming pop culture and people like Cohen and Gaga and shows like Will and Grace is farfetched to say the least. You sound like my dad and my granddad.[” When I was a boy schools were tough, people were tough, we didn’t sit around like kids these days, it’s that darn idiot box and the internet. And Rock and Roll, yea that’s it Rock and Roll, that’s the devils music.”] It may interest you to learn that we are dealing with a basic fact of human nature. Alpha male behavior and aggression. One must address a more fundamental cause for violence and bullying. As long as sexual orientation is viewed as a negative issue something to be fixed or reviled, the problem will remain. Understanding and education are our best tools. Example…. Irish need not apply. Whites only. Ban all Chinese. History is rife with hate and discrimination.

  • Dawster

    @MartinNYID: im not sure if i completely agree. i understand that this is all way too much for some kids but compare that to a girl of 13 who is already pregnant. kids (and i call anyone under 30 a kid”) are getting older younger these days. at some point there needs to be taught the lesson that coping mechanisms work better than avoidance. and not everything is black and white. good foesnt always prevail, hate doesnt always get punished, and yes its far less tragic if he were an ugly person.


    the universe does balance and there will eventually be an evening out, it just doesnt always take place in our microuniverses we set up for ourselves, nor the ones teens tend to retreat into. this is a case where silence equals death. and as much as i despise “Will & Grace” and have a tepid appreciation for Gaga, i have to admit that it gives us, something we cannot give ourselves: exposure and normalization.

    yes, its a lot to place on the kids. so there should be some youth refuge in place (gay youth programs in school, state suicide hotlines, etc. etc. etc.).

    there is a lot of blame to go around. each lost life is such a deep cut in our world.

  • MartinNYID

    @Dumdum: I disagree entirely. We have, in the past 30 years, become oversaturated with media. When Gaga, Madonna, or any other ‘pop’ icon needs sales, they pick up on a controversial charity or subject.

    While I refuse to get into an argument over the merits and benevolence of Gaga – the messages these people send to young, impressionable, VULNERABLE young people are dangerous. They aren’t getting a cut of the money or fame. They’re getting woo’ed into coming out as ‘little monsters’ all the while promoting a pop star, their product, and creating buzz and sales. All the while, a young lesbian in TExas gets murdered and there’s scant coverage or statements from these people. This kid kills himself and I don’t see any noise form the crap culture caravans.

    Yes in a perfect world, we’d all like to mince around form time to time like that moron on ‘Glee’ – (brought ot you by Fox, the people that almost got Romney elected) – but this is not a perfect world, and while Fox and the producers of Glee rake in the cash, that dingaling gets famous, young kids in the real world get thrown under the rah-rah-rah bus.

    Follow the money my friend. It ain;t going to the heartfelt causes. Teens need things to believe in, and to rebel with – I have no problem with that. But the current media and pop industry crosses the lines, and kids are dying for it.

    One last thought: if the media was ‘SO’ effective, and nicey nicey, and benevolent, why are young guys still getting infected with HIV at the SAME RATES as was prevalent in 1982??? After all the messages, information, media blitzes and everything.

    Silence (still) = Death.
    (And Gaga/Madonna ain’t going to save you).

  • MartinNYID

    @Dawster: respectfully, I don’t seek all b&w, but, in their darkest hours, this kid obviously – there was no one to intercede – despite everyone’s efforts. It is at those times in particular that we need better than something produced for mass distribution and record sales. And even if that is the only thing available, it needs ot take more responsibility that messages of “just come out, stand and fight, (and get yourself killed).”

    I htink that we should have a Harriet Tubman style undergournd railroad, and any kid, anywhere who gets to this point should be able ot call a hotline and someone come meet them. Give the a supervised place to stay – f*ck the law. These kids are killing themselves and the current systems are not working, obviously. We need new thinking.

  • Dumdum

    @MartinNYID: Gay and lesbian youth who attempt suicide are disproportionately subject to anti-gay attitudes, and have weaker skills for coping with discrimination, isolation, and loneliness, and were more likely to experience family rejection than those who do not attempt suicide. Another study found that gay and bisexual youth who attempted suicide had more feminine gender roles, adopted an LGB identity at a young age and were more likely than peers to report sexual abuse, drug abuse, and arrests for misconduct….Race and age play a factor in the increased risk. The highest ratios for males are attributed to Caucasians when they are in their youth-hood. By the age of 25, their risk is down to less than half of what it was however black gay males risk steadily increases to 8.6 times more likely. Through a lifetime the risks are 5.7 for white and 12.8 for black gay and bisexual males. Lesbian and bisexual females have opposite effects with less attempts in youth-hood when compared to heterosexual females. I volunteer at a Gay Youth Crisis Center and I can tell you that I have more kids talking about parents, peers, and religion than pop culture. I hear more kids remark that they feel less isolated due to positive role models like Cohen, Cooper, Ellen, and yes even Gaga. We have support groups and even try to get the parents involved. Our phones are ringing 24-7. You are certainly entitled to your opinion but it is really just that. Social commentary in the media, pop culture, and shows like Glee do more good than harm. Like I said. The focus should be on parents, peers, and religious intolerance. Next you will blame Obama for coming out on gay marriage.

  • Shaira Leah

    Bullying is intentional and persistent aggressive behavior. It can include physical violence, teasing and name-calling, and intimidation. Bullying can be related to the harassment of racial and ethnic minorities and gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth.To prevent this kind of incident. I have found this so called the Panic Button Application that can protect every individual. I was scanning through a few blogs and found this article on a Safety Service for everyone. In this instance, prevention is most certainly better than cure.To find out ore about this application. These are the links you can visit:

  • heartfire

    @WayDifferent: I am a member of Joshua’s family and yes there was some incidents of being teased- but Joshua had so many friends from school that came to the funeral and it is hard for me to believe that he would take his life over the few bad apples. I think there is more to being in that type of depression than being teased on occasion. You are right there are discrepancies in the article as to how much his mom and step father knew. His dad had called the school after an incident that Joshua had told him about and the school took care of it immediately. All kids- gay or straight- at some time are teased, left out, and even bullied. But to take your own life, there are other issues most likely.

  • MartinNYID

    @Dumdum: IN light of the gravity of this situation, and this article I am going to withdraw from much further discussion. This is one step away form getting into a political rant-battle, which is inappropriate. I respect your right to differ, but edging up to personal attacks is not warranted here.

    I would like to, in another forum perhaps, see your sources for the data you quote. If ‘they’ are as vulnerable as you state, then perhaps even more decisive protection is warranted. No problem with positive role models, as I said earlier. But It is deluded to herald ‘Ellen’ or ‘Gaga’ as benevolent beings: they are being highly paid for what they do, and the minute they don’t get headlines, they will move onto some other subject. “Good intentions pave the road to hell”.

    Yes, I have strong opinions, which I feel are warranted here. If people want to tow the HRC lines, that’s fine, but I think we need to delve deeper. There’s an old saying “What’s my part in it” which is what I think the entire community needs to be asking right now. With urgency. I work with young people too, I know the seriousness too, but it needs more than anecdotal evidence and rock stars.

    Everybody has a part in it.

  • ben

    I think the first comment is right on very well said #1

  • Cam

    when teachers confirmed that Josh had been bullied for being gay. Lynn says she was never told of her son’s hardship while he was still alive.””

    This is ridiculous. Currently teachers are ordered by schools not to report stuff that will make the school look bad, OR they don’t care themselves. There needs to be a law similar to the one that forces teachers, doctors, etc… who suspect parental abuse to report it. SAme thing if Teachers know a student is being physically abused in school, make it a crime for them not to report it. That would solve most bullying issues in schools pretty damn quick.

  • Zack

    We need to all start being more pro-active… we need to fight bullying and in more ways than hotlines, PSA’s,progressive tv shows, and celebrities who speak out… We as a community need to go to our school districts and demand that something be done whether or not we have children in the school system or not. Because we were all that kid getting picked on or secretly hiding themselves away emotionally. We need more anti-bullying clubs in schools and groups kind of like night watch that keep bullying from happening in the halls of schools. Until every school has this we will not have succeeded in our goal and should not give up our fight to end the bullying that children are facing.

  • Dennis

    As An American Listed Artist I participated in a three month show to raise money for a local NPF for prevention of Teen Bullying/Suicide: Kids are all different and require varying levels and degrees of attention. Some do not require as much as others. I run a privately funded program where I deal with young adults who have been bullied or who are outcasts;These young adults are misunderstood, they have so many qualities etc…No support from families as they tend to be embarrassed or have some other fear in discussing their issues in a familial setting. From my observations: what is needed is to place bullying in a criminal category alongside the Federal Hate Crimes Act. Obviously it has come to the point where bullying is at epidemic proportions. I wish I was available to have talked to this kid. Kids don’t kill themselves over being bullied is what we hear: well not so fast…”I’m Sorry I Could Not Be Stronger” … What does that sound like to you. This kid was more than bullied, I am willing to bet that there are some Dic- Hea– out there that are wishing they never pushed this kid around. My Heart goes out to the ones who sincerely and unconditionally loved Josh. This Kid should be alive today.If there is anything I can do to help legitimate Org’s. Raise money to prevent this type of
    catastrophic thing from happening. My Prayers to this boy and his loved ones who really cared. One more important thing. Why do more and more kids feel the need to bully?

  • the other Greg

    As a former bullied kid myself, I wonder about certain factors that I never hear anyone bring up.

    Vitamin D deficiency is known to cause extreme depression; is there a higher teen suicide rate in the northern states and/or in the darker months? (Note that this kid lived in Michigan.) Lack of exercise causes depression also. We bullied kids are invariably unathletic, almost by definition, and unfortunately in modern life, kids who aren’t good at organized sports get almost NO exercise whatsoever and are bused or driven everywhere by their parents. (At least back in my bullied days I liked walking 2 miles to school, but that’s probably not even allowed nowadays.) Parents now are too busy working to cook, so teenage diets are mostly microwaved chemical garbage. Schools today have vending machines full of chips, candy and soda, and teenagers’ first jobs now (in the unlikely event they get jobs) are almost invariably in fast food, which is even more of a nutritional disaster area than at home or school.

    If young people feel emotionally improved a few years later, after they get away from their high school bullies, maybe it’s not JUST the removal of the bullies. I’m not in any way blaming the victim here – I was suicidal and a victim myself – but I felt a hell of a lot better by age 24 or so, I think partly because of these physical and physiological factors that go unnoticed.

  • rextrek

    Michigan is a certified Hate state….LGBT people there have littel to NO, zilch, nadda – avoid it like the plague of hate it is

  • EvonCook

    @WayDifferent: Sorry you were such a late bloomer, you missed a lot! Some of us found our sexuality many years earlier when still vulnerable kids. I wouldn’t give up those great years for anything, but they were very hard because of the idiocy of the society in thinking kids don’t have sex and because of the majority of kids who were little robots of conservative thinking and so insecure and inexperienced about their own sexuality that they wrecked vengeance on anyone who was different or having fun that they were afraid of. Pretending children are these pure, innocent creatures and not providing sex education and guidance about respecting others is the root of the crime.

  • WayDifferent

    @EvonCook: All boys fool around, gay or straight. I did too. Don’t be ignorant. That’s not the issue here.

    At 17 I was confused and thought it was all just going to “go away” when I got older. All I know is that – at 17 – I could care less as I was looking forward to getting my first brand new car (paid for by myself), going to college, meeting new people, loving my part time job, body building buddies, being around the male role models at the gym that I never had at home, my REAL music collection, buying toys and clothes for my newly born nieces/nephews……I could go on and on. Killing myself was never on my mind.

    You see, being gay or questioning it – at 14 or 17 – was not Priority #1 in life like it is today with gays both young and old. It’s being pushed in our faces.

  • WayDifferent

    And as seems to be the theme amongst the level headed here, pushed in our faces… sake of the almighty $.

    After living in a large gay community for the first time in my “mature” life, not necessarily for the gayness but for convenient commuting purposes, affordability and other non-gay related amenities, I’ve come to the conclusion that gays need to realize there IS a life outside of gay – believe it or not. These people here inhale/exhale gay, are anti-everything non-gay, are patronized and preyed upon by their own and it’s beyond nauseating. We now have rainbow pizza, rainbow bagels and they are talking about painting the crosswalks in the streets…..rainbow colors. The Pride Parade and related events have become so saturated with any and everything (for a $) that I wouldn’t be surprised if Acme Dynamite Company doesn’t have a float next year. And to think these – KIDS – are now subjected to this. It’s no wonder.

    I had another issue with the Ben Cohen thing and it’s related to violent crime amongst all ages (not just bullying for confused kids) but I won’t go into detail. I will state, however, that upon further investigation of who this guy actually was, his website stated at that time that they were still having some type of trouble getting their “non-profit status”. I was told that process usually only takes a month. I didn’t follow-up on it and I don’t care to but I’m sure he’s still “profit”. He was then anyway.

    Some of us see through this crap.

  • WayDifferent

    And if Ben Cohen were ugly, nobody would give him the time of day. I’m actually surprised they spent two nickels to go to his event because the guy actually has hair on his chest! (in an area where this is a big, big NO-NO and the average gay guy shaves his armpits).

  • WayDifferent

    @rextrek: You should reconsider. Just because there are “laws” on the books in other states doesn’t mean jack. There are many, many tolerant, thriving, stable, very professional gay communities in Michigan that aren’t saturated with service workers, aspiring models and fashion designer wannabe’s. You wouldn’t know about those communities nor appreciate them because the gays aren’t tooting their own horns in pink tu-tu’s over some non-issue every other month (for a $).

  • the other Greg

    @WayDifferent: I’m puzzled why you brought up Ben Cohen at all, but you say “I didn’t follow-up on it and I don’t care to but I’m sure he’s still ‘profit’”.

    Gee, it took me all of 15 seconds to find out that, yes indeed, the U.S. wing of the Ben Cohen Standup Foundation is a registered 501(c)3 charity. So much for your dark conspiracy theories!

    What’s the point of your posts? I get the impression that you were NOT bullied and that’s nice. Apparently your teenage chameleon drag worked.

    You seem to be saying that the visibility of openly gay adults today tends to result in teenage bullying being increasingly DEFINED as anti-gay (by the bullies themselves, as well by as the victims even if they’re not in fact gay), whereas in the past bullying was more against vaguely defined *weird* kids who didn’t fit in. For what it’s worth, Dan Savage says pretty much the same thing.

  • gapourcio

    Here we go again. More bulling & no one saw any of it happening or reported any of it. These bullies are mentally ill. They are animals who need to be put down. I’m sick of hearing that bullies are victoms who are just cryin’ out for help & love. These bullies know exactly what they’re doing. When caught, they need to be removed from society & placed in detention so they can be bullied 24/7/365. I’m sure Buba will make them feel right at home.

  • Dawster

    @MartinNYID: I actually agree with your reply to me completely, and a new way of thinking is in order. I’m on the fence with your use of the word “intercede” but that’s a personal problem I will not throw on you. LOL.

    organization is key, trust is another. it’s difficult. in listening to an adolescent psychologist during Worlds Aids Day I heard a lot about the need for kids to have a safe haven or guidance continuity within the community. judging by these comments, we have a long way to go.

    but we are moving. that’s something amazing to see. it’s sad we have to lose so many before we get our sh*t together.

  • Aidan8

    @WayDifferent: “I’m tired of these – kids – committing suicide too.” Wow… what a terrible shame that gay kids committing suicide is such a bother for you. My heart breaks for you. I mean, after all, we all have our problems. Right?! Why don’t they just buck-up and swallow their pain?? Jeesh! On behalf of all gay kids who are dealing with bullying everywhere, I hereby apologize to you for inconveniencing you with the issue. As for the kids who are considering suicide because they feel desperate and alone… I hope they take a moment to realize just how much they are inconveniencing you with their trivialities. How selfish of them.

  • Jack T

    We, as THE LGBT community, must start protecting our OWN. We have to go to school boards & their meetings, the Student councils in schools & colleges & put pressure on faculty and admin of schools. This situation cannot be allowed to continue. We have to do much more and be proactive.
    “I’m tired of these – kids – committing suicide too.” are the a**holes who have no compassion for the despair there young people feel. Maybe it should happen to their child, brother, sister, or anyone close enough to you to make the pain of suicide unbearable.

    The “It Gets Better” campaign is impotent. It makes us feel better but does NOTHING to reduce or stop slightly the BULLYING, ABUSE, Assaults and absolute helplessness one can feel. It happened to me in Catholic grade & high schools. The churches are part and parcel of the whole anti-gay mindset. Anything was OK but the pain a person feels, their own hell on earth anything is better than living at times. Suicide is the only out when there is no one you can turn to.
    Any person reading this who is in the place I was, don’t give up Queerty has a whole community to listen and try to help. Please we want you alive not another statistic. \Love,

  • Billysees

    @rcs831: 13

    I feel the way you do, exactly.

    These happenings are always nearly unbearable for me to ponder.

    If I imagine this was my son, I couldn’t continue to think about it.

    Where are the good religious voices when this occurs?

    What if an effort was made by good religious groups to “widely publicize” the following from the much beloved scripture, I mean like on billboards and in all the media, in other words — an advertising blitz —

    1. Not all scripture verse is equal.

    2. Some are better than others.

    3. Let’s concentrate on the meaningful verses.

    These verses are either paraphrases or translations. 3 are written by Paul and 1 is written by Peter —

    4. Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.

    5. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

    6. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

    7. Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.

  • Kevin

    I am a 63 year old USNavy veteran. I tried to volunteer to be a mentor at Owosso, Michigan Public Schools…. no one got back to me…. I have experience in mental health, was a hospital corpsman with the United States Marine Corps, was a NURSE and a volunteer at the Lesbian & Gay Men’s Community Center in San Diego, California. Guess Owosso doesn’t need help with this?!?!?

  • peter

    I wonder at the extent to which all the coverage these suicides are getting is fueling copy-cat incidents?

  • LOrionmd

    HERE from a GOOGLE friend but agree with every word! So let me get this straight, teachers were aware that bullying was going on, I’m assuming the administrators were aware that bullying was going on, students were aware bullying was going on and NO ONE DOES ANYTHING TO STOP IT!? I fucking taught at an inner city school in BALTIMORE for crying out loud, we couldn’t get in touch with the parents of the kids to save our lives but when we saw bullying go down we cut that shit fast. This school is in probably a ok community at LEAST and this is the crap that goes on?! Give them hell! >:(?
    …and from ME We may need to get some VIGILANTE forces out there to STOP BULLYING!

  • hvan20

    Josh was my cousin. He was exceptionally smart and funny. The school was aware of bullying, but then backtracked in the media. Josh’s locker was even moved, but nothing was disclosed to his parents. The school officials claim that they were unable to inform Josh’s parents for fear of outting Josh to them, as he was publicly gay at school. His parents are working with lawyers to change the anti-bullying laws. The current Michigan anti-bullying laws permit open bullying if based on religious convection. This is horrific, as it leaves every person open to being bullied in the name of God(s).

    Josh wanted to become a psychologist to better understand human behaviors and thought processes. I think he wanted to know why people were so fearful of anyone differing from themselves; He was quite insightful. He truly loved and accepted everyone, as he knew what it was like to be different. He would have been an exceptional psychologist.

    We would like to welcome you all to his Facebook group page.

  • John


  • Billysees

    @peter: 45

    I wonder too.

  • Billysees

    @hvan20: 47

    You say, “The current Michigan anti-bullying laws permit open bullying if based on religious convection”.

    If that is accurate, then those anti-bullying laws need to be changed.

    It’s a shame why some religious people are so accusatory and judgmental.

    It’s an even greater shame that there are laws that allow this.

    Sadly, some develop the habit from the scripture itself.

    But why can’t Matthew 7:1-5 be more easily followed?

    These words are of far far greater significance and do a far far better job of “following after the things that make for peace” as Paul wrote.

    Matthew 7: 1-5 —-

    1. Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged

    2. You will be judged by the same standard you use to judge others. The standards you use for others will be applied to you.

    3. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?

    4. How wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

    5. Hypocrite! First take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.


  • wllmjunior

    Hmmm. People don’t seem to be getting the message, severity, or urgency regarding this issue. Let’s try something old, but effective. Examples need to be made.

    ONE – The bullies should be found and rounded up along with all of the negligent “parents,” the oblivious principle, and any teacher complicit through inaction, and then be placed in a single straight line in the school yard.
    TWO – Shot by Firing Squad
    THREE – Repeat Procedure Above Until Bullying Stops.

    Mom & Step Dad, you admittedly saw the warning signs. What was so important you didn’t take the time to march down to the school and find out what was really going on and put a stop to it? Too busy? Too big a hassle? He can handle it on his own? This young man was failed by every person responsible for his well being and care at every level and turn. We as a society failed him because we haven’t put an end to this stupidity and senselessness.

    A tad severe, harsh, and insensitive? Let the guilt trip and punishment fit the crime. Maybe then, just maybe, people would get hip to the problem. OR, we can just sit back, continue as we have been, and allow more innocent and defenseless people to be needlessly harassed to death because we as a Nation can’t control and our children, stop absent parenting, and hold accountable so called “teachers and school administrators” for their negligence. Really, which course of action will save more lives in the long run? The sadness of this story makes me physically ill.

  • Billysees

    @wllmjunior: 51

    Deep inside of me, I feel like saying (and even recommending) the same things you wrote here.

    But then, I’m reminded of what I wrote previously.

    “Follow after the things that make for peace”

    Those are great great words.

    But how can we make every body see the value in them?

    How can we make everybody abide in them?

    Christianity has failed to impart these values not only to all that believe, but has failed to make these values “widely known” publicly.

    But you can “teach and tell” folks all kinds of good things on how we should treat others.

    The great news is that many will follow them, as many already do.

    The sad news is that many won’t.

    One of the bible writers once wrote that, “Satan is the god of this world”.

    Satan (the devil and other names) is the chief bully in our midst and he goes about seeking whom he can devour.

  • ginger5010

    I just got paid $6784 working off my laptop this month. And if you think that’s cool, my divorced friend has twin toddlers and made over $9k her first month. It feels so good making so much money when other people have to work for so much less. This is what I do, cloud68dotc om

  • hvan20

    Josh’s parents are working with a law firm to change the anti-bullying laws in Michigan. It’s unfortunate that we live in a society that would permit bullying based on religion. And, that law was passed in November 2011 — LAST YEAR! It’s disgusting, and not just for the LGBT community. Michigan has the largest population of Muslims in the US. I’m sure that was a big part of the religion loophole.
    All this hate is unfathomable. Why won’t people realize that we are all the same. We are all people, and we all have feelings.

  • Billysees

    @hvan20: 54
    I re-read your comment 47 for a better understanding. Thanks for writing about this valuable insight into Josh’s life and goals. And the details concerning the school he went to.

    When you mentioned about November 2011, when that law was passed, I finally remembered that I had read about it. I didn’t think too much of it at the time as I thought it to be another cynical effort by religious fundamentalists and their sympathizers to counter the simple efforts of LGBT’s and their friends to ask for tolerance and acceptance. Don’t know why Christian folk, and any body else, should be so against the easy-to-do acceptance of LGBT’s as we’ve been around for a long long time. And we’re a great bunch too, full of “good words and deeds”. Full of love and friendship and righteous works.

    Religious fundamentalism has its “angry, intolerant, and mean spirited” content — to its own hurt. If we’re the sinners it is said we are, then how can anyone possibly cast the first stone? Why would anyone do that? Because they find it “too difficult” to follow “Him” who said, “let him who is perfect, let him cast the first stone”.

    It often stuns me to hear about what fundamentalists say and do when all I sense is hypocrisy. It’s sickening.

    Bullying is simply another word for “casting stones”.

    Those laws are going to cause trouble.

    This hate “IS” unfathomable.

    I hope Josh’s parents are fruitful in their effort to change these laws.

    Remember this, all great works (e.g. acceptance of LGBT’s) will always be characterized by the the “3 steps forward, 1 or 2 steps backwards rule”.

    Best wishes to you and Josh’s family.

  • Love1234

    I have to say that Linden Schools do have a high bullying rate. I went to high school from preschool until my 8th grade year. I graduated from Fenton school in 2012. I was bullied from Kindergarten until I left Linden schools in 8th grade. I was bullied for being “bi-sexual”, a “lesbian”, and a “whore”. Of course I am none of these. I was also harassed relentlessly about being Mexican. I was called a “spik”, “beaner”, and a “wetback”. I was bullied because I had short hair…so according to the kids that bullied me I was an “IT”. I was bullied for have zits, I was called “pizza face”. Nothing was ever done about the bullying I endured, although I went to many teachers, the principal, and the counselor. None of these people did one thing about it. The children at Linden schools start bullying at an early age. In preschool I was unaccepted by the other children. In elementary school I was bullied because I was not popular. When I moved to Fenton School District the bullying subsided completely. No one teased, harassed, or bullied me. I understand completely why this boy was so hurt by the people that bullied him. It wasn’t fair to him to be treated in such a way. And I feel bad for the people that have to hold the guilt on their shoulders for the death of this young man. I hope they realize that bullying isn’t the way to take out their stress, or insecurities.

  • Love1234

    Linden Schools from preschool until my 8th grade year*

  • Billysees

    @Love1234: 56

    You don’t explain “WHY” there is a difference between Linden and Fulton School Districts.

    Are they nearby?
    What is the make-up of the student body of each?
    What is the religious make-up of each district?
    What about the economic status of the student body?

    Many questions.

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