October 20, 2011

On Spirit Day 2011, Jamie Hubley’s Death at Forefront


There really is not much to say about another teen suicide. It is sad, it is frustrating, it is wrong. The finality is brutal.

There has been a public outpouring of grief for Jamie Hubley, who took his own life last week. There has also been a public rage; are we at a point now that we are just sick enough of death and teen suicides that we may be ready to move from grief to action?

On Spirit Day 2011, we are enraged that promising young individuals die at their own hands because they feel ugly, fat, gay, unloved, abused or stupid. We are hungry for something different.

As Ghandi famously said: “Be the change you want to see in the World.” Stop this from happening. Do something.

Jamie’s story is reported by Queerty, but it is the questions they ask that resonate for us on Spirit Day:

Hubley’s death continues a wave of LGBT teen suicides that have slowly shifted focus from at-school bullying to non-stop cyberbullying and teen depression. But in this instance, at least from his online statements, it seems like Hubley’s suicide was prompted by a clinical depression and feelings of alienation and loneliness, not real-world torment at the hands of bullies.

As our personal life moves more into the digital realm, Hubley’s death reveals several challenges for the LGBT community:

  • How could readers of Hubley’s  posts have helped him rather than just re-posting his suicidal thoughts?
  • How can we actively seek out troubled teens who are crying out for help?
  • How do we help when the issue isn’t bullying but more nebulous causes like depression, anxiety and alienation

As Queerty points out, this suicide might not be about bullying, but it is a reminder of the reality of being an out gay youth in Canada today, and the difficulty, anxiety, and alienation that often results.

The Gaily urges you in your school, faith, work or community organizations to take action to make spaces safer and more welcoming for the LGBTQ people in your lives. They may not be out to you, but by making safer spaces, you are extending a hand of love and understanding to those who may live in fear. Find out from your local gay and lesbian center how you can book a workshop or start a discussion group, and how you can make practical steps towards building a safer space.

About the Author

|Calgary Contributor| A girl with a passion for equality and all things good. I am first and foremost a friend followed by a big queer, advocate, writer, community builder, and feminist. I have an affinity for Jeopardy and Perez Hilton, and am a Facebook addict. I heart all furry creatures.



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