lives lost

SUICIDE: Brandon Bitner, 14, Kills Himself In Early Morning Tractor Trailer Suicide

So far the only news report comes from The Daily Item, a local Pennsylvania newspaper, and we’ve learned our lesson about picking up poorly sourced news reports about bullying suicides, and rarely do we pray we’re actually being hoaxed, but the sad news of 14-year-old high schooler Brandon Bitner killing himself is impossible to ignore. (Update: After some initial caution, we’ve confirmed Bitner’s death is most definitely not a ruse.)

Bitner reportedly ran in front of a tractor truck to kill himself around 3am Friday morning, leaving behind a suicide note. The ninth-grader at Midd-West High School in Middleberg had, days before, attended an anti-bullying school assembly. Superintendent Wesley Knapp says there’s never been a reported incident of bullying at the school — a statistic that shows Midd-West is not, in fact, a place of 100% sunshine and smiles, but a place with a flawed system to combat bullying: Students say Brandon was indeed subjected to anti-gay torment.

For now, Knapp is telling parents, “I would encourage parents to talk with their school-age children regarding this tragedy, and encourage their children to seek help when they feel frustrated, depressed, and encourage them to reach out to other students who seem lonely or hurting. … It is a blow to any school to lose a student, but suicide makes the pain of the loss even greater than it would normally be, and school personnel are doing everything they can do to help students through the pain, and more importantly try to ensure that students receive help and attention before they feel they need to take drastic measures to end their life.”

A hastily assembled memorial page at — a domain registered Nov. 6, the day after his death — says the funeral will be Wednesday.

(The Daily Item, which this blogger has never heard of before, claims to have a history dating back to the 1930s.)

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  • Erik

    That is really too bad. I wish he hadn’t felt like he needed to do that.

  • Jimbothered

    (The Daily Item, which this blogger has never heard of before, claims to have a history dating back to the 1930s.)

    Really? Was this a necessary statement? By memory alone can you identify the following small town / rural newspapers?

    The Herald
    Northwestern Press
    The News Gleaner
    The Derrick
    The Patriot News
    The Daily News (there are 4 that come to mind NOT in Philadelphia)

    I am sorry that Rural America does not fly on your radar, however there is no reason to doubt the authenticity of small local newspapers. I live in the largest township in Lehigh County Pennsylvania, yet we only have 4000 residents. Does my once a week newspaper not exist simply because it is not on your list of approved news sources?

    It is a tragedy that not only this young man killed himself, but that in your “Urban” superiority, you trust nothing that does not come from a mainstream news arena, or across the AP wire. As an Ivy league educated, Rittenhouse Square raised (for you NY’ers that means I grew up in Philly’s equivalent of the Upper East Side in an 18 room townhouse) I am appalled at your snarkiness and snobbery in the face of a child’s suicide.

    You should be applauding the fact that a small town newspaper covered it with decency. Rural Pennsylvania is a hot bed of racism, sexism, homophobia, secularism, and deep rooted Protestant bigotry. Cover the facts of the story, and not your ignorance to anything outside of the 5 boroughs.

  • Jimbothered

    A simple google search turned up his obituary, again listed in a small regional newspaper for Pennsylvania, as well as news reports from local radio and television stations in the immediate area.

    Instead of doing your due diligence as a journalist you opt to simply regurgitate a story and then warn that it may be false? Laziness? Or lack of journalistic integrity? It took all of 2 minutes to discover 11 reputable sources with mention of the story. Among them wvly, wkok, wqkx, The Daily Patriot, etc etc. Laziness AND lack of research on your part.

  • JohnnyTrue

    It’s really sad. A friend of mine lives near him and confirmed the story. She didn’t know about him being gay or perceived to be gay. Whether this kid was or wasn’t it is still a truly tragic lesson about the need to stop bullying in general against all those that are different.


    Attention Gay Kids: Please stop this fucking absolute madness!

    You are not acomplishing anything but basically giving the vile scumbags who have tortured you just what they want by committing suicide. Your lives are worth a hundred fold what these hatefilled scumbag’s are………..

    Call the Trevor Project. They have people available 24/7/365 to talk you down.


  • TheInsider

    It gets better, eh?

  • Kev C

    @JohnnyTrue: Emo/goth kids are bullied as gay/percieved gay. Just looking at him, you know he was bullied in school. But what is obvious to me, may not be obvious to teachers and students who’ve never been bullied. Really sad.

  • paul

    I was bullied in4th and 5th grade , would be chased home all the time, till one day I took my dads gun and threatened to kill them all. They never bothered me again.

  • Jack

    So it’s become trendy for gay teens to kill themselves. How are we going to stop this trend? The problem might even include all the attention we give these teens. Maybe it’s time to stop and say “Man up” instead of giving “tributes” to those who were too weak to stand up for themselves.

  • Cam


    The homophobic school would nowadays have filed a police report against you and had you arrested for holding a gun.

  • BjBien1010

    Why can’t we read a story where a gay kid beat the crap out of a bully and was suspended or something similar to that effect?

    I can’t even feel a bit sad for all these youth who take their own lives and don’t put up a fight.

    I didn’t have it any easier then anyone else and maybe not as worst as they do but you better believe I made sure I gave as good as I got and while it certainly wasn’t a solution, it atleast made me stand out as someone not to fuck with.

    It seems as their will never be another Stonewall show of power from the LGBT but on the bright side, the weaker ones are dwindling…

  • paul

    @Cam: they chased me home they were in my yard,I went inside and came out with it.

  • soakman


    Harsh. Loss of life is still loss of life. Not everybody has the same personality, psychology, or cognitive reactions to perceived threats. Some people are chemically imbalanced.

    Don’t be a jerk. He was practically a pre-teen. Are you really picking fights with a dead teenager just so people know you’re ‘not one of those wimps’? Like any of us care if you fought back as a kid. That has no bearing on this boy killing himself. Check your ego.


  • BjBien1010


    Loss of life and someone taking their own life is not the same.

    I won’t feel sorry for these kids and I do however feel sorry for the parents and love ones they leave behind and the hell they are putting them thru [especially the guilt].

    I also agree that SOME people are chemically imbalanced but again the story here is linking his being gay and bullied as the cause of his decision to take his life.

    I don’t care of ANY OF YOU care about me fighting back but I am sure I’m not the only one who fought back against teasing and bullying or even animosity, resentment, or disgust that one gets on a daily basis in the adult world but again, everyone here is alive and fighting.

    You are free to feel sorry for him and respect his death but I don’t respect that fact that he made the decision to take his life. I won’t join that pity parade.

  • B

    No. 12 · BjBien1010 wrote, “Why can’t we read a story where a gay kid beat the crap out of a bully and was suspended or something similar to that effect?”

    …. because, after having the crap beat out of him by a gay kid, the bully would be too embarrassed to admit it (the stereotypes would work against him), and to complain he’d have to admit it.

  • gurrlz


    BJ, I support you and congratulate you for staying strong and making it through your adolescence. It’s sad to me that these kids have so much support today with the internet, TV shows, movies, books, magazines, youth alliances etc. and it still isn’t enough. I have even read that some of these kids who have killed themselves over the past couple of months were out and accepted by their parents. Some of them even had bfs and gfs. I wish I had some of that when I was a teen. I had none of it. I just learend to ignore them. Bullies are looking for reactions. Even when I pushed into lockers or walls and shoved around I ignored them all. They eventually stopped because they weren’t going to get a response from me.

    I think it is a statment on youth in general and not just gay youth. Young people today are so protected, even sheltered by their helicopter parents who are always hovering that they never learn to deal with the harsh realities of life. Life isn’t perfect. It has never been for any generation. Instead of telling everyone “it gets better” which in my opinion it doesn’t we should be telling them “get stronger”.

  • P.

    No. 12 · BjBien1010 wrote, “Why can’t we read a story where a gay kid beat the crap out of a bully and was suspended or something similar to that effect?”

    I too would love to read that. However, unlike your experience, most of those who are bullied don’t have the skills/aptitude/strength/inclination to be able to beat the crap out of a bully. And it’s because of this that they are a target for bullies in the first place. The bullies zero in on the soft types. That was me. And I attempted to fight back once, and I failed miserably, therefore enlarging the target on me…..

  • DR

    @gurrlz: @Jack:

    Thank you for what you’ve said, I’ve been trying the last few weeks to put it into words myself.

    People can disagree with us all they want, but there really is a sense of drama among today’s youth. You’re all right, internet, close friends, accepting families, support groups we only wish we had when we were their age… What more do they need to have happy and healthy and productive lives?

    I think you both hit the nail on the head. We need the words of “It Gets Better”, but we also need to tell these kids to “get stronger, because it will NEVER get better when you take such a drastic and permanent step”.

    We can demand all the laws in the world get passed, but that won’t help emotionally unbalanced kids make the decision not to kill themselves. They need to learn to be stronger, because all the laws in the world won’t protect them from bad words.

    Some of you may not like BJ’s comments, but they are true nevertheless. Suicide is permanent. Suicide destroys families, with the folks you left behind wondering “why” and never being able to get an answer. You can’t take it back and ask for a do-over, and no feeling in the world ought to be worth that.

  • Kev C

    @gurrlz: I agree with some of what you said, but I don’t think they are really protected by their parents. The parents either don’t know, or don’t care that they’re being bullied. Nor is easy for kids to tell others, for several reasons. If anyone needs to “man up”, it’s the parents.







  • soakman

    You guys are all making valid points. But think about how you would feel as a parent if you internet searched for your child’s name out of curiosity or searching for some sense of closure and they found the kinds of comments that BJ is leaving.

    Yes, it is admirable to be a strong person. To look adversity in the eye, face it, and deal with the consequences regardless of a win or a loss.

    But teens of all ages in all eras are vulnerable. They are making a transition from a small world filled with people they can trust and rely on to one of less predictable peers and ‘mentors.’

    And there is no way to ‘know’ somebody’s body or brain chemistry by assumption. Why are we judging at this point? It is too late. Let the family find whatever solace they can, and do everything in YOUR power to raise your children in a way in which you find suitable.

    You can’t parent an entire country full of youth that you don’t see eye to eye with. It’s silly to try, and heart-breaking to see comments shamelessly posted on internet forums with a ‘moral purpose.’

    Please. I beg of you. Get involved with actual living breathing GLBT youth, or butt out.

    Imagine the ‘what-could-I-have-done’s’ racing through the minds of these parents regardless of their level of tolerance and let them grieve.

    What you are doing is no better than Phelps picketing a funeral. We are living in the age of technology.

  • AdonisFire

    It’s never gonna get better if most gays keep that victim attitude as if we deserved to be treated badly. We need to become proud, strong, defiant and never hide again, never take any abuse! And we need to stop being so damn Kumbaya about stuff like this. This is horrible and we need to fight it and fight against everybody who oppresses us!

  • Dollie

    I am absolutely disgusted by some of these comments! I cannot comprehend a bunch of grown adults, sitting behind a computer screen, berating a 14 year old child who was clearly in a great deal of pain. Lest you forget how difficult it is to be young and gay, especially in a rural community. At that age (especially in that scenario!), it is soooo hard to see past high school years. No amount of “It Gets Better” videos will change that (though, I do feel it is a beautiful and important project).

    While I do not have an exact solution to put a halt to this epidemic, I can assure you it is not criticizing these deceased youth for doing something they did not see as “stupid” or “rash,” but rather “the only option.” What would be more productive would be to push for GSAs in schools, accessible LGBT youth centers, and maybe all ages nights at gay clubs. We need these kids to not only see that they are not alone, but to feel connected. Does being gay suck? No, it’s beautiful. But to these isolated and tortured kids, it does. They are only seeing the negative- the discrimination, the torment, the stubborn ignorance of their peers. They are not experiencing the love, relationships, intimacy, sense of community, etc. that makes being gay so wonderful.

    The world needed these kids. Stop criticizing, start loving their memory, and be productive.

  • Annonymous

    Brandon was not gay. He was simply precieved as that. I graduated from that high school and my sister was close friends with Brandon. Mr.Knapp can say all he wants that there is a Zero Tolerance Policy for bullying but I know for a fact that its not true. I know plenty of people, myself included, who confronted the school about being bullied and they did nothing to prevent it, nothing to stop it.

    I cant believe that some people actually have the ignorance to click “lol” and “cute”. pull your head out of your ass. how is this incident funny?

  • Lady

    Thank you, Dollie and soakman! i see that bullies don’t quit even after these kids are gone. And it’s also narrow-minded to think that bullying alone is the cause of all these suicides. lgbtq teen suicides aren’t new! yes, some people with support networks are taking their lives, too. that’s because this is also about how people perceive the lgbtq community. the question we should also be asking: why is it so devastating to be called gay? how are not only individuals, but also institutions being heteronormative and homophobic? but alas, what we have here are a bunch of “when i was a kid” mumbo jumbo being spewed! these are their experiences, not yours. if you can’t help, then shut the hell up.

  • paul

    why are the bullied not suing the schools

  • Annonymous

    Paul, the school claims to have had no idea about the bullying going on. Itd be hard to sue someone without hard evidence that they in fact did know and still did nothing. Plus, no one is out for money (not that they would get much from the district (completely broke)) Money is not going to bring Brandon back, or heal the hurt everyone else has felt from being bullied.

  • Rick

    Yes. There is a legitimate newspaper called The Daily Item. I am one of the reporters who has covered the Bitner story. Sad.

    [I am a former NY Times stringer and now an Associated Press award winning reporter)

    I have been asked to write about how the Bitner suicide has resonated around the country and the world…

    And perhaps how it has related to other similar cases (Rutgers?).

    Who might you suggest I talk to? My deadline is tonight, 9 pm.
    You have my email address…if you think I should talk to someone I can quote… send me a phone number as well.

    I’m looking for leaders of advocacy groups to talk to…

    Thanks everyone, for your help.

    BTW, this was a terrible story to have to cover. Extremely tragic.

  • mommamang

    First off. This young man was not gay. He was accused of being gay and was made fun of for looking different. The Daily Item, while it may not be the most reliable source for information, is a large paper for the local area. Anyone that is local knows that reports were filed several times previously about this young man being bullied. A week before his untimely death, there was also an incident in the school cafeteria, mentioned by the schools principal. Having lived here my whole life, I find much humor in a statement posted by jimbothered. “Rural Pennsylvania is a hot bed of racism, sexism, homophobia, secularism, and deep rooted Protestant bigotry.” Are you from rural pa? You can’t possibly be, cause if you were you would know that is ridiculous. Who the hell do you think you are to act all high and mighty and post stuff when you are posting bullshit with a few big words in between to make it look like you know what you are talking about! No one cares if you are ivy league educated! It doesn’t make you any better than the rest of us. And you said the other guy was snarky and snobby. I see the pot is calling the kettle black. Regardless, this is a very tragic story and brings tears to my eyes, as I have a 14 year old. I wish people didn’t have to come on places like this, read articles about something that is so sad, and then be just as ignorant as the people that led Brandon to take his own life. When did mom’s stop teaching you that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything. I know several people that went to Midd–West and were bullied like crazy. There needs to be a new principal and new policies put in place. Put someone in that office that gives a shit about the kids and not just their paycheck!

  • Tylertime


    Dear Dollie, I think what a lot of the posts are saying is that there are GSAs and LGBT Centers and resources available to gay youth today but it doesn’t seem to be helping. Even if a school or community doesn’t have support for GLBT youth there is info online that is one click away. Kids can reaach out and become pen pals on numerous GLBT social networking sites as well. There are so many resources today to act as a lifeline that weren’t there a decade ago or 20 years ago. Why aren’t they helping?

    As for your suggestion to send kids to gay bars and clubs for an “all ages night” maybe you are the one who needs help. Throw kids into the gay club scene where there is alcohol, drugs, older gays who might not have the best motives? That sounds like more of a problem than a solution.

  • soakman

    Covering queer history (even as an elective) or queer literature or anything like this in schools would help. Making our culture, our community, our accomplishments and struggles visible to those who are feeling isolated would probably help heaps.

    Putting something like that into action, however, is a process halted by red-tape, sensationalizing parents, and peer bullying. It’s what they need though.

  • Jeffree

    Gay kids get bullied at school, in their neighborhoods, sometimes in their own homes.

    So do students perceived as gay even if they’re not gay. So do learning disabled kids, ethnic ones, poor, too heavy, weak, too skinny, “too smart” etc.

    Because this is a LGBT site, we are focusing on the gay students or those people think may be gay, but pick up any decent size paper or read it online, and look at the obituaries, When a teen dies from cancer, gang violence or from a car accident and the like, the cause is usually listed.

    When the cause isn’t spelled out, there’s possibly a story behind it

    I’m suggesting that bullying is more common than parents/schools/communities admit. Brandon’s school was apparently notified of the problems but either they didn’t take the right steps or waited way too late.

    At least the fat/poor/weak etc. students are likely to have a parent or two who can sympathize and even try to get the bullying stopped, but the actual/percieved LGBT student may not want their parents to know what’s happenng at school. Or college….

    Parents or guardians need to watch out for signs of bullying/depression/substance abuse and document everything that the school has been told & promised to do.

    One item I’ve heard suggested is to send registered letters to the principal/dean and the counselor about the complaints—after discussing the issues. Save copies of the letters, the receipts, notes from calls/mtgs.

    Schools may be more likely to act if they know there are adults watching and staying on top of things.

    Condolences go out to Brandon’ s family & friends.

  • Anon


    What teen in their right mind would elect to take that course when they know their peers are inevitably going to harass them about it? Even if they were taught acceptance and tolerance at schools in an effective way, their parents’ opinions are also a huge factor in the way they treat others.

  • Derek Williams

    It’s all very well to advise bullied gay kids to chat to their parents about the problem, and that’s fine if the parents are ok with their child being gay, but what if they’re not?

    When a gay child is hated by all his peers at school, what happens if he is also rejected, or is likely to be brutalised by homophobic parents? “If my son turned out to be a faggot, I’d beat the crap out of him to within an inch of his life, and if that didn’t straighten him out, I’d kick that fucker out on the street.” Sound familiar? It should do, because it’s happening to gay teens every day. And yes they’re being made homeless as young as 13.

    Where can they turn after that? To the church? Hmm, let’s look at that option – this is the place that screams from the pulpit that God Hates Fags, that we will burn in a Lake Of Fire because of the tenderness we feel for another person, then rot in Hell for Eternity. Even more moderate institutions may still preach that we are disordered, and it is our duty to marry the opposite sex, irrespective of the fact we feel nothing for them sexually. The appalling consequences for the unloved spouse and any children born into a loveless marriage are not deemed as important as straightening out a faggot.

    Faced with rejection and the threat of violence on every front, death must seem like a merciful release to anyone, let alone a gay teenager. This is why they are choosing it in such numbers.

    Homophobic treatment of gay children is Child Abuse in every sense. In my view, it should completely disqualifies such parents from parenthood, and should entirely disqualify education professionals from having the care of children It is also completely at odds with the teaching of Jesus Christ, who never taught us to hate homosexuals, and never once either said or implied that there is anything whatsoever wrong with our homosexual orientation.

    The problem for us homosexuals is not and never has been our homosexuality, the problem has always been homophobia caused by fear and ignorance that is utterly pointless because we are no threat to anybody. That it’s taken so many children to die by their own hand to raise the merest spark of interest in the problem is a national disgrace, but rather than change the channel and hope it will go away, the time has come for us all to act to protect our vulnerable children from homophobic bullying in what are supposed to be the sanctuary of our national values, our schools.

  • B

    No. 33 · Jeffree wrote, “One item I’ve heard suggested is to send registered letters to the principal/dean and the counselor about the complaints—after discussing the issues. Save copies of the letters, the receipts, notes from calls/mtgs. Schools may be more likely to act if they know there are adults watching and staying on top of things.”

    If you really want to get their attention, have the registration numbers, dates, etc. (but not the details) posted on a web site accessible to lawyer, and make sure the school district knows you are doing that.

    The idea is to short-circuit the discovery process, so that the lawyers have a detailed list of what documentation to ask for if their is a lawsuit following a tragedy, which should substantially increase the chance of the school district losing in court. That risk factor will definitely get some attention.

    If there isn’t such a site, set one up.

  • Dollie

    @Tylertime: Harsh, darling.
    I clearly stated that I do not have a solution. Nobody does, for if someone did, this would not be happening. I merely posted suggestions, based on personal experiences and observations. You are free to disagree of course, but let’s not make personal attacks. Personally, going to gay bars at 15 helped me and several friends in my home town. Bars and clubs serve as great places to connect. Everyone knows that- hence their popularity. These kids maybe vulnerable, but not dumb. Most will stay away from “creeps” and will attempt to socialize with others they find attractive, which are probably not inappropriately older men.

    So, what are your ideas? What are you doing to help these kids?

  • Tylertime


    I have been a big brother in the Big Brother/Big Sister program and mentored a 13 year old boy. I was always out so he learned that I was comofortable in my own skin. Whether he is gay or straight I don’t know, but either way he sees me as a gay man living openly, healthy and happy.

    I have done volunteer work with children with HIV and I have worked with my local GLBT center in planning fundraisers for Trevor Project and Homeless Youth.

    I have also been out to my 9 year old niece and nephew since their entire lives. I try to teach by example. It isn’t always about writing a check.

  • soakman


    I said that in my post.

    “Putting something like that into action, however, is a process halted by red-tape, sensationalizing parents, and peer bullying. It’s what they need though.”

  • scott ny'er

    while this is effed up and I feel bad for Brandon and those who were close to him. I feel bad for the tractor trailor driver. If your going to commit suicide, do it by yourself where you won’t affect others. I would be messed up if someone jumped in front of my car and they died.

  • Deseray

    Ya know its pathetic how all these gay kids are dying killing themselves? I mean really these kids need to stand up for themselves and need to stop hiding behind a hope that their school or parents will do something because obviously talking it out didnt help. These parents need to teach their children to defednd themselves instead of throwing them out to the wolves without any source of protection. I was bullied when I was little then I decided to throw a few hits and almost instantly it stopped my bullying problem. And why are these articles calling it homophobia? A phobia is a fear and obviously these “bullies” are not too scared of them, if they’re attacking them then thats not really a fear. Also, they’re whinning about gay kids being bullied uhm hello, even kids who arent gay get called faggots and queers, and these kids who arent gay are not being nearly as publicized as these gay kids. Truth is, everyone gets bullied, everyone no matter who you are or where you came from. It goes both ways goths/emos make fun of preps/jocks, and vise versa. People need to man up and just start doing something more than whinning and complaining about this problem. Parents need to do a little more than what they are now its a sad fact, but these parents are not very good at all

  • skilo

    My daughters school had a zero tolerance bulling policy too, they had big stickers on the doors and everything. In reality my daughter was bullied every day almost everyday for two years, often in front of the teachers in the classroom. They ignored it. It wasn’t until she finally stood up to those bulling her that it got somewhat better. It didn’t stop, but there were less kids tormenting her when they knew she wouldn’t just take it. Unfortunately most schools only really enforce the no bulling policy when the parent get involved and threaten legal or media related action. Sadly most of the time that only happens after something awful has happened to their child.

  • Derek Williams

    @ Deseray

    Well pathetic or not, they’re dead now. You don’t get it do you.

    Kids who are not black don’t get called “Nigger”, the way some kids who are not gay get called “Faggot”. They get this because some children resemble the stereotype of a gay boy. It’s not considered masculine to be a good student, read books, dress well, play a musical instrument, help old ladies across the street etc. Only faggots would stoop to such unmasculine behaviour, in the minds of teenage bullies at least. Adults may well know these stereotypes are not true, but these are kids we’re talking about, some physically powerful beyond their mental development.

    Agreed, ‘Gay’ is a universally accepted put-down, because there’s nothing a kid would more rather not be than gay. Even kitchen appliances and cars get called “so gay” if they malfunction. All this abuse heaped upon a harmless minority who never did anything bad to their attackers that could possibly justify vilification, violence and at the worst, murder in the first degree.

    The worst bullies of them all are oftentimes gay kids who do not fit the stereotype and know too well that if they lie and pretend to be straight, are violent, homophobic, then they will be accepted and survive, just like you managed to by resorting to violence. You might be surprised how many men have been convicted of homophobic violence when the whole time they were gay themselves. A fully secure straight person in my experience is far less likely to be concerned about what gay boys are doing, because they’re too busy chasing females. I am gay myself but I was never bullied at school for it nor rejected by my family, and most of my friends are straight. They manifest no need to abuse or bash me. We know what we are and don’t try to change each other.

    In a school and in some communities it’s all very different. Being gay is lower than anything else bad that you can possibly be. You’d get more respect if you were a gun runner. If you’re bullied for being black however, you can always go home to your black mum and dad and they will be on your side. But if you’re gay, you don’t have a gay mum and dad to go home to, and more often than not, you would live in a home that is hostile to your homosexuality, and would beat the bejesus out of you if they found out. So you lie to them too. You *do not* tell them about your homophobic classmates bullying you for being gay so as to invite further violence against you at home.

    Most gay kids are out on their own. They have no support from their peers at school who hate them for being gay, some teachers who are homophobic may not intervene because they privately feel the kid deserves everything he gets for being gay, their parents will kick them out on the street, or try to beat the crap out of them until they stop saying they’re gay. And the church? Well there lies the basic reason all this came about – they teach that gay is evil, and you’re possessed by the devil if you’re gay. Your only salvation lies in marrying a total stranger you have not the slightest sexual interest in, to please a god that doesn’t even resemble the teachings of Jesus Christ, so you can spend eternity in the company of a bunch of homophobic, bible bashing bigots. Speaking for myself, I would prefer Hell to that.

    That in a nutshell is why so often gay kids don’t stand up for themselves, because they are hopelessly outnumbered by bullies, often twice their size and much older. Many of the kids who die by their own hand are only 13 or 14, and often fit the stereotype outlined above. They’re not naturally violent and so they perish. Of course once they’ve killed themselves, the problem has gone away, the bullies remain at the school high-fiving each other as heroes, like they did after 15yo Billy Lucas hanged himself in his granny’s barn. Not content with that, they went on to post messages of hate on his memorial Facebook page, the same as they have been doing to Brandon Bitner.

    When no-one loves you, and you have no hope, no future, why would you not kill yourself?

    If you are really serious about effectuating change, the only path is through education authorities stopping being so frightened to say the word “gay”, running serious anti-homphobia programmes in schools with real live witnesses, such as the parents of kids who died by their own hand, and sane gay people who can articulate and win people over. This must be coupled with and rigorous prosecution of offenders, coupled with counselling. This is how racism is being slowly tackled.

    Bullying is not a crime, but it should be.

  • soakman


    Thank you for taking the time to point out the reasons why homophobia IS different from other types of bullying. There is absolutely no support structure for someone who is being abused daily in this way. Unless they are really really lucky.

    Turning the other cheek isn’t easy, and fighting violence with violence may temporarily halt the problem, but homophobia never goes away. Kicking the bully’s butt in 10th grade does nothing for you the years afterwards against your co-workers, peers, and sometimes family members. Unless you want to live a life of violence and push everyone away from you and your negative tendencies.

    There must be better ways (and there ARE), but without a support system in place, teenagers don’t even know where to begin. It should not rest on a 12-16 year old child to educate his peers, not to mention many of the adults in his/her sphere. And many many many adults refuse to believe that they can learn anything from a kid (especially if the adult is used to being in the role of educator).

  • jamie

    the story sounds like he took his life to prove a point?
    why would a person take thier life to prove a point? it’s like the youth today are so fucked up that they concider life to be nothing, or worse like they have an extra life like the video games, but, taking thier life to make others feel bad…it isn’t cool or accepted in my book, yes it’s a sad story,it’s too bad he took his life I wish he didn’t, but I’ll be god damn if he is gonna make other kids feel bad for his suicide. the bullies at school are weak and bulling them back by making spin comments will not help the cause. where was brandons parents? didn’t anyone see signs? was he distant at home? what about his friends? what was Brandon really like….

  • Derek Williams


    On the contrary, the bullies don’t feel bad in any way at all, in fact Brandon played right into their hands by committing suicide as we know from their open and unfeigned delight upon hearing of the event. For all we know the driver who ran him over may be a homophobe too, and so may be still celebrating having been able to roll a 14yo faggot with no legal consequences.

    If someone doesn’t want to live any more, you can’t force them to. When there is no joy in your life and everyone hates you, ending the pointlessness of your life makes complete sense. There are huge numbers of people who believe all homosexuals should die, and don’t hesitate to faciliate this process through bullying, child abuse and murder in the first degree.

    Speaking for myself, I just don’t get why such people are so angry at us when we never did anything bad to them nor to anybody else. All we did was have a positive feeling for another human being. But I sure can understand someone wanting to end their life when it consists of nothing but misery, and is devoid of love.

    If anyone thinks as I do that this situation is the opposite of acceptable, then there has never been a better time to handle the situation courageously and expeditiously. It’s always been possible, and still is.

  • Bree

    Midd-West school district has a zero tolerance bullying policy. This incident has affected me greatly. It has been since last September and Brandon still haunts my dreams. I was friends with Brandon. We went to elementary school together. He never did anything to deserve the crap they gave him. Brandon was one of the nicest most caring people I ever met. He played the violin and when he did there was not a dry eye anywhere. He for a fact was NOT gay. He never was. I don’t know how that rumor ever started. I miss him so much it hurts. May Brandon RIP. <3 Oh and to anyone who thinks he was pathetic and took the easy way out. How dare you. If you went through what he did you would want to die too. I myself am often bullied and have thought of suicide as a way out. You can not understand these emotions unless you yourself experience them. So do not ever dare call him pathetic. To me Brandon was and always will be a hero.

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