Oakland University Student Corey Jackson took his own life on Tuesday, October 19th, 2010.
Members of his family all say his social life and subsequent personal disposition were gravely impacted when he came out to his peers as gay.
“He said ‘I don’t know what’s wrong. Ever since I came out people are treating me different. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know where I belong,” Jones said.
It sounds at this point like the University representatives are questioning the families concern and the article makes a point of interviewing straight people who have gay friends and don’t find the campus homophobic at all.
Corey’s death was reported in the same news cycle that brought us news that the Obama administration won the appeal and can keep banning gays from the military under DADT. The same cycle that brought us an array of anit-gay groups targeting politicians and equal rights laws across the country. Is it really that hard to conceive a pervasive world of homophobia might have played into his depression and sorrow? I certainly don’t know if it did or did not, but I wouldn’t start shooting down the highly probably theory that homophobia impacted his young gay life the minute his grieving family say it did.
Yesterday was designated “Spirit Day” an event established by a facebook group that spread across the internet. On that day people all over the world pledged to wear purple to commemorate the LGBTQ youth who have committed suicide in a public climate of moral shame, social isolation, political marginalization, and all to often open hostility and violence. A small but public act of solidarity and hope offered to a battered and marginalized community of fellow humans.
There is a telling photo from a White House meeting yesterday. Note who recognized the impromptu “Spirit Day” and who did not.
That’s Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and I don’t recognize the other woman in purple. And yes HRC did an It Gets Better video. And beyond that she had acted repeatedly as the Secretary of State to make it better. Even in my own thoughts I’m not interested in defending her entire political career as a Hawk or her husbands as a populist – I am interested in this photograph and in her past advocacy globally for human rights for women and for the LGBT community.
RIP Corey Jackson. You left the world far to soon. My prayers are with your family today. If this media coverage sustains – I may have to move from wearing purple to black for a while.
And if you are reading this and need to reach out for support as an LGBT youth or adult The Trevor Project is a 24 hour hotline for LGBT youth in crisis. Call: 1 866 4 U TREVOR