On September 18, 2011, after years of enduring relentless anti-gay slurs and bullying at school and being told by anonymous people online that he should kill himself, 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer ended his torture by hanging himself outside his family’s home in Buffalo, New York.
Jamey’s mother, Tracy, told the Buffalo News that her son had questioned his sexuality and that his classmates began to tease and bully him. His parents were very supportive of their son, and Jamey was seeing a social worker and a therapist.
A police report detailed the horrific and vicious gay bullying young Jamey endured. A witness said one female classmate who had known Jamey since middle school, told Jamey “Faggot, why don’t you just kill yourself?” Another student pushed Jamey as he passed him in the hallway and called him a fag. Jamey had previously reported in his online blog that a group of classmates had spit on a plate of brownies and given them to him in the cafeteria.
Jamey had also spoken publicly about the gay slurs he endured in a YouTube video he posted in May 2011, he said “People would be like `faggot, fag,’ and they’d taunt me in the hallways and I felt like I could never escape it.” Anonymous posters on a Formspring account Jamey opened sent horrible messages like: “Kill your self!!!! You have nothing left!” and “Go kill yourself, you’re worthless, ugly and don’t have a point to live.”
Amherst Chief of Police John Askey, said Jamey “was exposed to stresses in every facet of his life that were beyond what should be experienced by a 14-year-old boy.”
In May 2011, Jamey told his friends that he was bisexual and created his own “It Gets Better” video, where he thanked Lady Gaga for supporting the gay community and told the viewers, “Love yourself and you’re set.”
“I have so much support from people I don’t even know online,” he told the camera. “They don’t ever want me to die.” (Watch Jamey’s It Gets Better video below)
Jamey received an outpouring of online support from Gaga’s fans, who call themselves “little monsters,” as well as from his friends and classmates.
But the bullying didn’t stop, and it didn’t ease Jamey’s pain, which spilled onto his Tumblr account:
“No one in my school cares about preventing suicide, while you’re the ones calling me faggot and tearing me down,” he wrote on Sept. 8. The next day, he said: “I always say how bullied I am, but no one listens. … What do I have to do so people will listen to me?”
Sadly, Jamey’s relentless torturing and bullying reached a breaking point on September 18, 2011. Jamey posted a final update on Twitter directed to Lady Gaga. The tweet read, “@ladygaga bye mother monster, thank you for all you have done, paws up forever”.
Jamey quoted lyrics from Lady Gaga’s “The Queen” on his last Facebook status: “Don’t forget me when I come crying to heavens door.”
On September 21, Lady Gaga told her fans via Twitter she’s spent the past few days “reflecting, crying and yelling.” Her outrage, she explained, was over the suicide of 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer, who took his own life because of bullying:
A few days after Lady Gaga tweeted her vow to stop bullying and make it illegal, the star dedicated a song at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas to Jamey Rodemeyer.
Before dedicating the performance of her song “Hair” to Jamey, Gaga told the crowd, “I wrote this record about how your identity is really all you’ve got when you’re in school … so tonight, Jamey, I know you’re up there looking at us, and you’re not a victim. You’re a lesson to all of us.” (Video below)
Ricky Martin, the pop star who remained closeted for most of his professional life, tweeted his outrage over Jamey’s death: “This needs to stop now. How many lives lost before someone listens. #MakeALawForJamey.”
“He was very nice and caring and always there for his friends. He would always help when you had problems. I think he tried to stay strong in high school, but he eventually cracked from everything,” said Jamey’s friend, Cheyenne Phillips.
Jamey’s father Tim Rodemeyer, sent a powerful message to all the bullies who do not realize the power their words have: “To the kids who are bullying they have to realize that words are very powerful and what you think is just fun and games isn’t to some people, and you are destroying a lot of lives.”
Jamey Rodemeyer helped inspire the creation of Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation, which was founded in 2011 to “foster a more accepting society, where differences are embraced and individuality is celebrated. The Foundation is dedicated to creating a safe community that helps connect young people with the skills and opportunities they need to build a kinder, braver world.”
A message to Jamey from his father today:
Two years have passed and it seems like yesterday. I can’t believe it. If you only new how much and how many people love you. You have gone too soon but you are still an influence in the world today. I go into your room and it still smells like it did 2 years ago. You have taught me so much and I will fight for you till we meet again in GODS house. at that time i will give you the biggest hug possible. Till then I will practice by hugging you sister and mother. I miss your laughter and sense of humor your cooking everything you did. The memories of you keep me going.
Miss you more than you will ever Know.