WATCH: Bullied Gay Teen Jonah Mowry Is A Firework

Many of us have experienced the pain of teen bullying first-hand, and we’d reel from its effects in our room, hidden to the world. Thanks to a little thing called YouTube, bullied 14-year-old Jonah Mowry is going viral on the internet. Here’s his first video, posted back in August, where he tells us that he looks happy but he’s actually not feeling so great on the inside, and that he’s scared to go back to school and has been dealing with the bullying by cutting:

I didn’t know how to respond to the video in the first place. Gawker’s Matt Cherette commends Jonah for sharing his “pain and perseverance,” calling him “one of the bravest boys I’ve never met.” The HuffPo calls it “poignant.” We’d rather focus on where Jonah is now, especially because we’ve seen that we can lose bullied teens so easily, even when they’re strong enough to speak out. Here he is, performing Katy Perry’s “Firework” with a friend. Stay strong, Jonah. You really are a firework.

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  • Mike1987

    I am happy he is happy. It does get better Jonah, it really does

  • scribe31

    Jonah there are people who love you. I have been where you are. I believed that dieing was the only thing left for me to do. I was wrong; I was so fucking lucky, many aren’t.I failed in my attempt to kill myself. I eventually learned to stick up for myself when others refused. If I had died, I wouldn’t have met and fell in love with my partner of 17 years, wouldn’t have a honest relationship with my parents, or lived long enough to actually become happy. Your time in school is little compared to the rest of your life. I rarely think of my years in high school, cannot even remember the names of most of the people who bullied me. Please talk to your parents, or another gay friendly adult. Please ask for help when you need help. Please don’t hold in your pain and allow others to share it. I wish you happiness, love, and peace

  • Shawn

    @Jeff: I don’t understand why you think his story is fake because of that video.

    That video was made I’m assuming at least a couple of months after the ‘main’ video. You don’t think that after his parents, school administrators and other students saw it that he isn’t going to have a ton of people behind him. So, he starts school and suddenly everyone seems to like him so much better than before. That’s going to make anyone feel happy. Plus, it’s likely that they took him to a therapist or doctor. He could be getting counseling and/or receiving antidepressants.

    I’m sure too that he’s getting tired of the limelight. It probably makes him feel awkward. I’ve often been through dark times myself and after I got through them I would think that wow I was being a little dramatic, which is maybe how he feels. Not that I’m saying he is doing that. So, he gets on youtube and makes a video that says, “I’m all good I was confused everyone really likes me (although without the video it may have been as awful as he imagined)so you can stop with the attention.” As you notice he tries to address the fact that he really does have scars although you can’t see them. Why would he do that if it’s fake? Of course then he deletes the video to the overwhelming negative response.

  • Jeremy


    His story wasn’t fake. Did you not hear the part about it being 4 months later? Do you think that he is an actor who could fake those tears and anguish displayed in the original video?

  • BigStella

    There are now a lot of people who feel the video is fake because of other videos he has posted. On his you tube channel he does have videos were he is acting out stories. Who knows. It just goes to show people should never believe everything they see.

    He also has videos on his channel were he makes fun of “fat people and nerds”. Is that not being a bully as well on his part ?

  • rf

    Even if it was fake, which I doubt, its pretty effing brilliant and may give a lot of hope to other kids who feel just like that. Its certainly no more fake than President Obama doing an It Gets Better video while still publicly telling gay kids they aren’t good enough to be treated equally under the American Constitution because he won’t finally come out for marriage equality.

  • Derrick

    Definitely an attention-seeking fraud and shame on him.

    Look at his channel, look at his videos and more importantly when they were uploaded, and that’s the only possible conclusion.

  • elephunk

    FRAUD. i can’t believe people were actually feeling sorry for this kid. everything in the initial video screamed attention whore.

  • Amanda

    Whether or not the initial video was fake, the fact is that he’s making a mockery of everything he stood for in it. He seems to be leaning towards a bully himself.

  • chink change

    I’m shocked. I’m sure the initial video was a lie. People never have fluctuating emotions. That would make them something other than machines, which they’re not.

  • Mike

    1) Why do we expect this 14 year old to be sad all the time.
    2) Why do we not believe that a lot can change in 4 months…my life changed dramatically in a very short time when I came out.
    3) We should not hold a kid to perfection just because he was bullied (ie the tastefulness of a fat joke). He’s still learning and growing.
    4) Read his update to the video:

    To all my friends and supporters,
    I made this video 4 months ago just before school was about to start. I was 13. It was a very emotionally dark time in my life. I made the video at 4:00am in the morning; I hadn’t been sleeping at night for a long time, too many things going on in my head. I was dreading going back to school and I had not come out to my family yet. Only my closest friends knew. I didn’t know how to say what I needed to say. All I could think about were all the bad things that had been happening at school last year, every year for that matter. I just couldn’t bare to go through that anymore. I was done being fake happy, pretending hateful words didn’t hurt, done hiding it from my family.
    So this video was made for my friends that had moved on to High School who were worried for me, to say to them that I was going to take a stand, and to the haters at my middle school that I’m not going anywhere. I am who I am. I posted the video here and told people were to find it. That was it.
    My friends were moved by the video and thought I did something important. I was encouraged to upload it to my Facebook page so more people could see it. Maybe it could help someone else going through the same thing. So I linked it Dec. 1st. My Parents saw it for the first time Dec, 2nd.
    Then….. all this happened.
    I never expected in a million years that it would have such a wonderful impact on so many people. I am truly humbled and truly thankful for all the love, encouragement and support from people all over the world. It’s been incredibly overwhelming. I don’t know what to say. Thank you so, so much!
    Lastly, yes you have seen me happy in a couple short videos replies I posted; I would think that would be a good thing ?, and yes I do have friends, my High School friends, and I have made friends because when I came out they realized that they had hurt me and that they fealt sorry. The video is real, and true.
    In the last few months everything eventually came out in the open, I felt a huge weight off my shoulders; I’m happy, I’m excepted for who I am, I’m more confident and feel stronger every day.
    Thank you all, Love and peace to all who are hurting.
    Jonah Mowry

  • ~PR~

    @Mike: Haha, you beat me to posting this! Nice. It may not change nay-sayers minds on the subject of this video being real or fake, but I know what I personally feel and that is that this is genuine. That said, I do understand the skeptics as technology and YouTube has made it so easy to offer fake representations for the plight of fame. I just don’t see it in this instance, personally.

  • Mike

    @~PR~: True! There is a lot on the internet that simply shouldn’t be believed. Unless more evidence surfaces, a video with a happy boy who was once very sad is not sufficient evidence to call this a hoax. I, like you, feel this is genuine. Many on this website probably know all too well what it’s like to be judged unfairly so perhaps we should be careful not to judge too quickly ourselves. Peace.

  • William Willis (Bill)

    Jonah Mowry,
    You are perhaps the bravest young man I have ever seen and rest assured Jonah,you are not alone in this world.Every decent person that listened to your video has become your friend and I for one am proud to be among them.No human being should have to endure the types of bullying that seems so rampant in this society especially directed at young gays.
    Jonah there is more love,more courage ,more sensitivity,more truth in your existance than in all those that might wish to hurt you verbally or physically.hold your head high trust in your faith and only look forward,never look back.You and many others deserve better Jonah you really,really do.

    With utmost sincerity,

  • Larry

    PR…nothing will change the nay sayers minds…which explains republicans

  • Mike

    @kurtispurgatory: Thanks for posting something that we all haven’t already seen and discussed. You have really intellectually stimulated the conversation.

  • nolan brisson

    i agree with you, he couldnt of faked his emotions, and if he did then who are we to judge him everyone has faked an emotion at one point or another.

  • Mel Gibson

    @nolan brisson: You’d be surprised the lengths kids go to to get attention. They give Academy Award winning performances.

  • Marc

    Fake or not, if you get bullied, do a few self defense or kick boxing classes. Once they see you kick the shit out of someone, they won’t bother you again (well, only behind your back) but that’s to be expected with bitchy teenagers. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em and THEN beat ’em up. Be a cut above the rest: don’t talk shit about people all the time (like what they’re wearing) – it seems to have become gay culture and then we wonder why there’s such thing as homophobia. Remember that no matter who you are, someone needlessly hates you for something. You can’t complain about the fire you ignite.

  • Kyle

    @Marc: Homophobia exists because closeted gay men hate their homosexuality and project that hate onto gay men they are attracted to, and gay men who are out and proud. Not because of clothes.

  • Marlene

    I believe this young man was in pain and the video showed such raw emotions and it brought attention to something is much needed, compassion for those who are different. My grandson came out about 8 months ago and told us he was a transgender and has felt like a female his entire life! devastated our entire family but am trying to educate myself have him in counseling and doing everything we can to help him feel loved and accepted no matter what he believes he is. I don’t want him committing suicide as he has always been a very important part of all of our lives. he lives with us in a very small town and is so desperately seeking acceptance and has found some but not enough as he feels alone and misunderstood and isolated. but I know he will get thru his senior year in high school here and move to bigger town where he can live among those who are like him. I am a christian and was sooooo against this at first and even though I know in my heart GOD did not make him that way I love him and will always love him. GOD BLESS YOU YOUNG MAN

  • Marc

    @Kyle: Actually it’s to do with ignorance, spitefulness and something to do with some kind of phsychology no doubt. People hate what they don’t understand or can’t comprehend. It’s natural…In fools. As for my comment, the sentence was referring to talking shit, not clothes. That was just an example. But how superficial are gay men? VERY. If we’re bitching, you can almost guarantee it’s about physical looks. If you insult someone, what do they do? They want revenge, to hit below the belt. Another guarantee is that they’ll hit back with something along the lines of “faggot” – that’s homophobic enough for oxford and certainly enough for me. What I was getting at was “to be the bigger man” and not be spiteful in the first place. If you talk shit, you deserve to be beaten in all honesty – gay or otherwise. As for closet homosexuals, they are just ignorant people that don’t know how disposable family (or whoever wont accept them) really is. The majority is pure ignorance from closed-minded people who are generally not very smart anyway. There’s no help for them. >.<

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