Remember the tragic story of Jamey Rodemeyer? He’s the 14-year-old boy from Buffalo, New York, who sadly committed suicide last month after being bullied by his classmates. Rodemeyer was openly gay he made his own “It Gets Better” video just months before taking his own life and his death made international headlines and helped spark some tough new anti-bullying laws across the country. He’s also the reason why Zachary Quinto has come out as gay.
The 34-year-old actor he played psychopath killer Sylar in Heroes and Spock in J. J. Abrams‘ rendition of Star Trek wrote about Rodemeyer’s inspiration on his personal blog:
“when i found out that jamey rodemeyer killed himself – i felt deeply troubled. but when i found out that jamey rodemeyer had made an it gets better video only months before taking his own life – i felt indescribable despair. i also made an it gets better video last year – in the wake of the senseless and tragic gay teen suicides that were sweeping the nation at the time.
but in light of jamey’s death – it became clear to me in an instant that living a gay life without publicly acknowledging it – is simply not enough to make any significant contribution to the immense work that lies ahead on the road to complete equality. our society needs to recognize the unstoppable momentum toward unequivocal civil equality for every gay lesbian bisexual and transgendered citizen of this country.
gay kids need to stop killing themselves because they are made to feel worthless by cruel and relentless bullying. parents need to teach their children principles of respect and acceptance. we are witnessing an enormous shift of collective consciousness throughout the world. we are at the precipice of great transformation within our culture and government. i believe in the power of intention to change the landscape of our society – and it is my intention to live an authentic life of compassion and integrity and action. jamey rodemeyer’s life changed mine. and while his death only makes me wish that i had done this sooner – i am eternally grateful to him for being the catalyst for change within me. now i can only hope to serve as the same catalyst for even one other person in this world. that – i believe – is all that we can ask of ourselves and of each other.“
It’s a touching and emotional tribute, and it’s pretty amazing to me that this 14-year-old high school student would have such influence on a 34-year-old Hollywood star. But I think that’s precisely Quinto’s point that it takes a major tragedy like this one to make people open their eyes and realize that we still have a long road to travel when it comes to equality. (Days after Rodemeyer’s death, one of the biggest names in the industry, Lady Gaga, dedicated a song to Rodemyer, who was a huge fan, and she also planned to meet with President Obama about making bullying illegal.)
Just before sitting down to write this piece, I read about the suicide of 15-year-old Ottawa boy Jamie Hubley who, like Jamey Rodemeyer before him, was bullied for being openly gay. It was absolutely heart-wrenching to read the details, including Hubley’s online farewell to family and friends in which he talked about his personal pain being too much to bear.
As a human being and especially as a mother it pains me to hear about these children who suffered so much that they’d take their own lives. And all because of their sexuality and the nastiness of their peers. I’m impressed with Quinto’s interview in New York magazine, which is where he “officially” comes out as gay, and I hope that his revelation will get people to continue talking about bullying and teen suicide and what can be done to stop it once and for all.
(Photo: Adriana M. Barraza / WENN.com)