What usually goes through the mind of a 9-year-old? Their favorite cartoon or video game? When their homework assignment is due?
Those are probably some things that the typical 9-year-olds would be thinking about. However, death or dying from suicide should never be one of the things a child should ever have to think about. Unfortunately, we lost the life of 9-year-old, Jamel Myles, last week from death by suicide after being told to kill himself by his classmates four days after he started 4th grade.
Jamel was found in his home dead by his mother last Thursday. This story made it on twitter headlines on Tuesday and started a conversation surrounding LGBTQ youth, bullying, suicide, and sympathies for the family.
I can't say much about #JamelMyles because it makes me literally sick. As much as we want to make this about "bad" kids bullying him to death, it's about a society that others and harms LGBTQ people. Children are constantly learning from the world around them, mainly from adults.
— Dana (@DanaVivianWhite) August 28, 2018
1989. 4th grade. 9 yrs old. First time a fellow male classmate shamed me by saying “stop being so gay.” I didn’t know who I was then. Jamel did. He was gay. And he was proud, until he wasn’t. My heart aches. #JamelMyles https://t.co/Lp1i8n5KJb
— Steven Canals (@StevenCanals) August 28, 2018
Same folks talking bout kids can’t possibly know that they’re queer are asking their 6,7,8,9 year old nephews how many girlfriends they have or who they like in school. Please.
— Reagan Gomez (@ReaganGomez) August 28, 2018
So who’s the blame for the death of Jamel Myles? The kids who bullied him or the heteronormative rules set up in society. I lean more on the latter because children often get their behavior from adults.
In an academic journal a study conducted by the 2015 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey, the results found that 40% of adolescent youth who identify as gay, lesbian, or questioning contemplated suicide. Unfortunately, transgender identifying teens weren’t included in this survey but the numbers would be even higher than the ones that were reported originally.
Below are excerpts from an article on the ACLU website in regards to Harassment of LGBTQ Youth.
” A study of Massachusetts high school students published in the journal Pediatrics reports that nearly one-third of gay teens had been threatened in the past month with a weapon at school, compared to 7% of heterosexual students surveyed.”
“The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) conducted a survey of 496 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students from 32 states. This survey found that over 90% of LGBT youth reported that they sometimes or frequently heard homophobic comments in their schools.”
Entire studies are done to show how LGBTQ youth are affected by bullying and harassment yet people on social media including parents are still feeding into homophobia which their own kids learn from them.
ALRIGHT WRAP IT UP EVERYONE DOJACAT HYPE OVER pic.twitter.com/OHHb4HU5o8
— zacharie @ p5 (@divisionallstar) August 29, 2018
Today, news spread of a 9 year-old gay boy who was bullied to the point of suicide. In response, heterosexuals lamented that homosexuality is forced onto children who are too young to know their orientation.
— Yvangelista (@AdamantxYves) August 28, 2018
Gurl I….Get your problematic faves and their associates with this trash rhetoric off of social media.
I always hated seeing those what would do if your son/daughter were queer tweets because the people only use them as a way to bash the queer community with a hypothetical. Just admit that you’re homophobic or transphobic so we can drag you properly and move on.
Those who identify with the LGBTQ community have to go through two forms of adolescence one where they walk in the world as “heterosexual” and the one where we have to hide our true identities because society says we’re not morally right. Most times we suffer in silence in order to not be singled out by our peers or family members.
Jamel Myles was confident enough to tell his mom and sister about how he identified; however, the harassment pushed him over the edge and another queer youth was lost too soon from suicide and bullying.
Conversations are still being had over the ways we can improve society so more children and adolescents would feel safe and comfortable in their identity both in the world and in their families. Overall we have a long way to go.
We Support Black Queer Youth. Including Zion Wade.
Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union supported their son, Zion Wade, at Miami Pride and there’s something I need our community to understand — Until you value ALL Black lives, you don’t believe Black lives matter.
Growing up as the daughter of a Black man who stated he would disown me for my queerness, I celebrate the love and support Dwyane and Gabrielle shower Zion with. It’s one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen and something that should be afforded to everyone within the LGBTQIA+ community indiscriminately. However, several troglodytic, backwards people believe that rather than protection, Zion deserves correction.
At 11-years-old, Zion Wade has expressed ownership of his identity. I applaud him. When I was 11, I was a victim of the same ridiculous banter all children hear. “Look at you and [random heterosexual boy], y’all are so cute together. I can’t wait until y’all grow up!” The same people who push children into heterosexual relationships without question are currently asking “How old is Zion? Isn’t he too young for this? How does he even know he’s gay?” as if queerness ebbs and flows like the tide. As if his identity comes later in life like a Pokemon evolution. The level of homophobia in the Black community during a time when we are losing more children to suicide because of their queerness and our community’s refusal to accept them is baffling.
It is difficult enough in this country to survive as a Black person without the added stress of being shunned by your own community. So many queer people find themselves without unconditional love, which results in them fleeing hostile living conditions and facing homelessness. And we have the audacity to wonder why children like Jamel Myles die by suicide at the age of 9.
If you are unable or unwilling to show up for queer Black youth, you’re just going to have to square up in 2019.
Perez Hilton Faces Harsh Criticism For Outing Son of Brunei Sultan
Following the news that the Nation of Brunei would be enacting a Sharia law policy, celebrities and LGBT advocates spoke out against the injustice. Stating that the punishment for homosexuality and adultery is death by stoning, the law prompted a boycott of nine hotels owned by the Sultan in a viral campaign. For Perez Hilton, the boycott simply wasn’t enough. In a tasteless, insensitive, and life-threatening action, the gossip blogger outed the Sultan’s son.
In a recent YouTube video, Perez Hilton alleged that the Prince Azim, who is fourth in the line of succession, is gay. Although Perez understands that the law is “tantamount to LGBT genocide,” he fails to see that his decision to out the young prince is equally dangerous. Stating “It’s so hypocritical. This guy’s son is a big flamer, and now he’s enacted a law to stone to death gay men,” Perez believed that outing Prince Azim was for “the greater good.” However, the blogger has been on the defensive as few agree with his approach.
Advocates and members of the LGBT+ community assert Perez has placed the 36-year-old royal in the line of fire for a potential honor killing. According to Matthew Woolfe, a human rights group founder, the Sultan has been working diligently in an effort to clean up the family’s reputation. Known for a lifestyle of excess and filled with several controversies this sudden adoption of Sharia Penal Code is purportedly due to his desire to create a more palatable legacy. Perez’s recent admission poses a significant threat to Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah’s legacy, his outed son Azim, and even Perez himself.
In Harm’s Way
Before his unverified admission, Perez said the following:
“Y’all know I don’t out people anymore. I used to do that back in the day, but I’m making an exception here. I’m guessing the Sultan of Brunei doesn’t know that his son, Prince Azim, is a big old homo. I would know because I have spent time with him.”
Although Perez insists that neither he nor the Sultan’s son are in harm’s way because the law requires four Muslim witnesses, Brunei locals tell a different story. According to Shahiran S Shahrani who spoke with BBC News, queer citizens are living in fear.
“The gay community in Brunei has never been open but when Grindr came that helped people meet in secret. But now, what I’ve heard is that hardly anyone is using Grindr anymore. They’re afraid that they might talk to a police officer pretending to be gay. It hasn’t happened yet, but because of the new laws, people are afraid.”
As far as whether or not Perez is feeling remorse, outing queer people in violent environments is the hill he has chosen to die on.
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