Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

The Awareness Conundrum: Jamey Rodemeyer Has Become the Latest Symbol for What's Wrong with Bullying in Schools, but That Visibility Carries Inherent Risks

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

The Awareness Conundrum: Jamey Rodemeyer Has Become the Latest Symbol for What's Wrong with Bullying in Schools, but That Visibility Carries Inherent Risks

Article excerpt

The death of Jamey Rodemeyer in September was one of those rare tragedies that also became a catalyst for change. The 14-year-old, who was subjected to repeated antigay bullying, killed himself because, as he said in posts online, "I felt like I could never escape." The subsequent outrage inspired thousands of tributes via social media, a piece of legislation in his name, and a performance in his honor by Lady Gaga, who shared her concerns about bullying with the president of the United States.

But the hard truth is that suicide spreads like a virus--a "contagion," in the words of the experts--and that same sincere tribute that has people mad enough to demand changes in our schools could also lead to more suicides by LGBT youth.

"Most people in a healthy state of mind won't be influenced to take their own life after watching a heartfelt memorial tribute," says David McFarland, interim executive director and CEO of the Trevor Project, which works to prevent suicide among LGBT and questioning young people. …

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