Showing posts with label Gay Suicide. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gay Suicide. Show all posts

January 15, 2020

This College Student Lead a Protest Against Drag Queens, Then Committed Suicide







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With his thumbs in his pockets, Wilson Gavin stood at the front of the crowd, leading a videotaped chant that would quickly go viral: “Drag queens are not for kids." 
As the president of a conservative group at his Australian university, the 21-year-old had steered protesters into a public library in Brisbane, where they barged into a room full of families attending “Drag Queen Story Time.” Inside, the group faced off with a sequined, costumed performer who had been reading from a children’s book.

Kids in the audience asked what was happening. Parents called the police, and a handful filmed the confrontation. As their videos spread across social media, politicians chimed in — most of them condemning the protest as a hateful act.
The next day, Gavin, who was openly gay, took his own life.
That rapid succession of events has turned a young man’s death into an emotional and political controversy in Australia’s third-largest city and across the country: Some have pointed to an overwhelming “social media mob” that came after Gavin. Others have talked about disproportionately high rates of suicide among LGBTQ youth, or a culture they say lacks acceptance. 
Others still have insisted that it is inappropriate to make any kind of political statements at all.
“To me, this incident transcends politics. It is about humanity, and about recognizing that everybody has it,” Johnny Valkyrie, one of the drag queens at the library event, said in an interview with The Washington Post. “I only wish I could tell him I love and support him.” 
In recent years, Gavin had emerged as a young voice for conservatism in Australian politics. Despite his sexual orientation, he opposed same-sex marriage and actively campaigned against the issue in 2017, when it went up for a national referendum.
In 2018, he defended the role of the British monarchy on “Outsiders,” a political talk show whose hosts have described themselves as “Trump’s Aussie mates." 
“I’m a lover of all things traditional. I’m a lover of all things beautiful,” he said on the show. “And there’s nothing more traditional in this country than the monarchy.”  
Satyajeet Marrar, a fellow member of the Australian Monarchist League, said Gavin was an “outspoken young man with a good heart.” 
“Despite holding opinions that some people disagree with strongly, he would defend them with conviction,” Marrar wrote on Facebook. “Brave and admirable traits while most of us in this generation spend years obsessing over what others think of us.” 
At the University of Queensland, Gavin became president of the school’s Liberal National Club, which branded itself as the local chapter of Australia’s right-wing political party. Although the national organization disaffiliated itself from the university club in December, members maintained ties with at least one member of Parliament and sought out opportunities for political action.
On Sunday, their venue was the local public library, and their target was a drag queen reading a children’s book. Much like in the United States, the queens’ family-friendly recitations — meant to foster free expression and tolerance toward LGBTQ people — have emerged as a cultural point of tension. 
In Brisbane, however, the city council had voted to sponsor a drag queen story time. So Gavin and the UQ Liberal National Club organized a protest to “defend LNP values against a corrosive gender ideology,” the club wrote on its Facebook page, according to ABC Australia.
“This event is designed to indoctrinate and sexualise young children. Our kids deserve better than this! Why is this moral filth being paid for by the taxpayer?” the post stated. (As of early Tuesday, the group’s page appeared to have been deleted, and the club did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Post.)
One mother at the event, Jenny Griffin, said one of her children, who are 6 and 8, started to cry out of fear and confusion in response to the “harassing and kind of threatening” protesters, she told ABC. 
Many elected officials and commentators seemed to agree with her. As videos of the confrontation spread across social media, politicians on the left and right criticized the fiery protest, calling the students “bigots,” “homophobes” and “bullies.” Trevor Evans, an openly gay lawmaker from Brisbane, condemned them as “ratbags.” 
Online, Gavin defended himself and the action, saying it was part of the LNP’s fight against “politically correct rubbish.” But even LNP politicians distanced themselves from the demonstration.
On Monday, less than a day later, police told Australian media that Gavin had taken his own life.
Various corners of Australian society, which had already fiercely debated the protest, interpreted his death as radically different kinds of tragedies.
George Christensen, a conservative member of Parliament, used it as an opportunity to attack “broken” social media networks and announce he would be deleting his Twitter account. He said “Twitter keyboard warriors [had piled] on an individual for a political protest."  
Mark Robinson, another right-wing politician and the sponsor of the UQ club, said Gavin was “treated terribly for “taking a principled stand to protect children from inappropriate sexualisation.” 

As current State patron of the UQ LN Club, I’m deeply saddened to hear of the death of Wilson Gavin. Wilson & his friends took a principled stand to protect children from inappropriate sexualisation & gender fluid ideology. For that he was treated terribly. Wilson, RIP!

1,216 people are talking about this
For other Australians, however, Gavin’s death was instead a sign of the mental health issues affecting LGBTQ youth — and the homophobia some of them said was instilled and spread by those on the Australian right.
Drew Pavlou, a friend of Gavin’s at UQ, remembered him as a “very decent and kind person” who may have also been coping with such issues.
“He had his struggles and made mistakes, and it is a tragedy for us all that he ultimately succumbed to his suffering and pain,” Pavlou wrote on Twitter. “Today is a reminder of all we must do to affirm to young marginalized Australians the intrinsic worth and value of their lives.”  

I was friends with Wilson. Away from the social media storms and headlines, he was at his core a very decent and kind person that cared for others. I had the great privilege of seeing that side of him in life. He was hilarious, a complete riot to be around

44 people are talking about this
Valkyrie, the 23-year-old drag queen, told The Post that while Gavin’s death should transcend politics, the influence of certain political views — namely, those like Christensen’s — had left a noticeable mark on the situation. The drag queen and activist said he himself had attempted suicide 13 times during his adolescence while coming out and coming to terms with his identity: He is both transgender and gay, he said.
“Wilson may have contributed to the incident, which harmed myself and others, but I forgive him,” Valkyrie said, tearing up on the phone, “and I understand that he was troubled. … I only wish I could tell him I love and support him.” 
On social media, he offered him up a message anyway.
“What you did on Sunday was unacceptable,” Valkyrie wrote. “Who you were was not." 

CW: Suicide, Wilson Gavin

Wilson, I love you.

Wilson, I forgive you.

Wilson, I see you.

Wilson, I pray for you.

What you did on Sunday was unacceptable.

Who you were was not.
❤️πŸ§‘πŸ’›πŸ’šπŸ’™πŸ’œπŸ’–

Wilson, I love you. πŸ•―
❤️πŸ§‘πŸ’›πŸ’šπŸ’™πŸ’œπŸ’–

πŸ•―

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December 29, 2019

Mother of Bullied Suicide Victim Nigel Wants To Be A Mother For Those In That Place



Image result for nigel, bullied

Huntsville mom Camika Shelby has a message for LGBTQ youth: If you live in an unaccepting household, she's your mother now.

   Image result for nigel, bullied
Dressed in a white T-shirt adorned with rainbow letters and a rainbow-themed fanny pack, Shelby gave different gifts of encouragement during a Christmas event for black LGBTQ teens at the Birmingham CrossPlex on Saturday (Dec. 21). She took her time as she gave the youth long hugs, smiled as she gave them gift bags full of self-care items they can use to soothe themselves during a tough day and she typed her contact information into the youth's phone.

Shelby wanted to make sure the youth had all the tools they need if they ever get in a depressed space. Her openly-gay son, Nigel, was 15-years-old when he died by suicide in April in Huntsville. Although his mother was accepting of his sexuality, the family said Nigel was bullied. Camika Shelby said she couldn't talk about the school system due to legal reasons. 

But Nigel's death birthed a campaign focused on suicide awareness and the importance of LGBTQ-acceptance in homes, schools, and churches. She makes sure she is accessible to any LGBTQ teen who needs a listening ear by maintaining Nigel's Instagram account and creating a Facebook group. Connecting with LGBTQ youth has become part of Camika Shelby's grieving process. Her son's spirit was made of sunshine and this is her way of keeping his encouraging legacy alive. 

“I don’t want it to be, ‘the 15-year-old that committed suicide,’” Camika Shelby said during a Facebook live interview with Al.com’s Black Magic Project. “I want it to be ‘the 15-year-old whose suicide changed the world.’”

Multiple reports have expressed the need for more LGBTQ-friendly spaces, especially for youth who are vulnerable to racism, homophobia, and transphobia. The Human Rights Campaign reported that 90% of the more than 1,600 black LGBTQ teens surveyed said they have experienced racial discrimination. Along with this, 47% of respondents said they have been taunted or mocked by family members due to their sexualities and gender identities. AIDS Alabama, headquartered in Birmingham, has helped 33 homeless, black LGBTQ youth since 2016. While LGBTQ youth of color are more likely to experience depression and anxiety due to these stressors, the HRC survey pointed out the lack of LGBTQ-friendly and culturally-trained counselors.

The family-oriented nature of the holidays can amplify feelings of rejection and hopelessness in LGBTQ youth. This is why Camika Shelby was the main speaker during the annual Angel Toy Drive event in Birmingham. During the hour and a half celebration, black LGBTQ teens received $100 gift cards, self-care kits and listened to multiple LGBTQ mentors who talked about how they overcame bullying, suicidal thoughts and the services that are available to them.

During her speech, Camika Shelby stressed the importance of LGBTQ youth creating their own families if theirs is not accepting of their sexuality or gender identity.
"Sometimes family can be your own worst enemy. If they don't love you for who you are, they don't deserve you," she told the youth. "Don't let people tear you down for who you are. God knows who you are, and he makes no mistakes."

This wasn't Camika Shelby's first time speaking following her son's death. She has participated in two suicide awareness panels. The first one was at Alabama A&M University during a national suicide prevention month in September. She brought her message to a national stage when she appeared on "CBS This Morning" earlier this month.

While Nigel's death is being honored around the nation, Camika Shelby used the event in Birmingham to talk about his life. In between the pauses of pain and tears, she talked about her son's obsession with Beyonce and how he used to give her pop quizzes about Ariana Grande's life. Nigel is also her rainbow baby. Due to medical conditions, Camika Shelby said experienced multiple miscarriages.

"But it was something about Nigel. He was a fighter and he made his way into this world," Camika Shelby said. “From the moment I saw his smile, I knew this child was going to be special.”
Multiple celebrities also knew Nigel was going to be extraordinary. From Justin Bieber to Janelle MonΓ‘e, singers and actresses expressed their support for the Shelby family both emotionally and financially. Actress Gabrielle Union and her husband, former NBA star Dwayne Wade, helped pay for Nigel's funeral, Camika Shelby said. She appreciates how the couple has become cheerleaders for LGBTQ youth, especially when it comes to their own LGBTQ child, Zion. During an interview with Showtime's All the Smoke podcast on Thursday, Wade used Zion's preferred pronouns, she/her/hers, for the first time.

"For them to be in the public eye like that, that is amazing," Camika Shelby said of the couple.
Sunshine and smiles followed Nigel wherever he went, even into his final moments, his mother said. After he passed away, Camika Shelby found an uplifting text message on his phone that he was going to send to a friend who was going through a hard time. In the message, Nigel encouraged his friend to believe they are beautiful and not to let allow anyone to make them think otherwise.

"I cried and then smiled because it was a reminder of how much of an amazing child he was," Camika Shelby said. “When a person is having suicidal thoughts, they are thinking about ending it all. Before he made that choice, he stopped and took his time to uplift his friend.”

Creating a safe world for LGBTQ youth also means advising parents on how to support their teen's life. Camika Shelby demonstrates how to do this through her own story with Nigel. She said her son wasn't the first person to tell her he was gay, but her spirit did. So when Nigel admitted his sexuality to his mom at the age of 13, she treated as if it was a casual conversation and asked what he wanted for dinner. When Nigel was ready to tell his father and other relatives about his sexuality, momma sat closely beside him every time.

After Nigel's death, Camika Shelby said multiple family members asked her why she didn't tell them Nigel was gay. She said she didn't have that authority to tell his story.
"It wasn't my story to tell. Once he was ready to tell it, I sat right beside him," Camika Shelby said. “I needed him to know that I am right here. We are not sure how the person on the receiving end is going to take it. But as his mother, I am going to be right here.”

She also made sure Nigel felt very affirmed in himself. Proof of that can be seen in one of the most shared photos of her son - the one of him smiling and holding up the peace sign while wearing a rainbow-themed hoodie.

Camika Shelby and a friend spotted the hoodie while Christmas shopping last year. While Nigel lived in an accepting household, she got a feeling he was still uncomfortable with being himself outside of their home. So she bought him the hoodie as a gift, despite her initial hesitation.

"The rainbow flag will let the world know he is gay," Camika Shelby said. “Because I know how rejecting society can be, I was a little hesitant to buy it. But I went ahead and bought it anyway.”
She still cries over her son's reaction to the gift on Christmas Day. After opening the present, Nigel immediately dropped the hoodie and ran into his mother's arms. It was a moment of love, laughter and a lesson about the order of the stripes on the rainbow flag.

"He gave me the biggest hug ever because it symbolized to him that it was OK to be gay," Camika Shelby said, her voice quivering in pain at first, but then her voice booms into laughter. “He said, 'Momma, I really loved this gift. It is my favorite one. But by the way, the colors are not in order.'”
Tears pooled in her eyes again as she expressed her gratitude to those sharing the photo of her baby in the hoodie. She's still adjusting to her new normal where her emotions are constantly teeter-tottering between pain and peace. It's especially hard to find balance during the holidays.

The hoodie was her last Christmas gift to her only child. It was a tradition in their household to wear matching outfits to holiday parties. That won't be happening this year. One of Nigel's favorite holidays is New Year's Eve.

"I have my days when I don't want to get out of bed. I don't feel like I have a purpose anymore," Camika Shelby said. “For 15 years, I woke up every day with my mindset focused on what can I do to make Nigel's life better, and in a blink of an eye he was gone.”

Support from family, friends and her faith build the foundation of her strength. She must remain strong, she said. Not just for herself, but for the many other LGBTQ youths who have reached out to her across the country.

“I may have lost my own biological child, but I have gained so many more,” she said.
Nigel may be physically gone, but she knows she carries his spirit of encouragement with her. She allows him to speak through her as she tries to uplift the youth and give out her number and social media contacts.

"I'm to the point where I'm realizing that my baby had a purpose, regardless of whether it is here on this earth or not," she said. “So now, I'm his purpose. I am going to continue to speak out. I am going to continue to tell his story.”

And she is going to continue to reach out to other LGBTQ youth, she said.
She needs them to know that at least one mother is willing to sit beside them during their moments of need - just like she did with her son all those years ago.

Youth can use the following links to contact Camika Shelby:
-Facebook group: IamNigelShelby
-Website: https://www.forevernigel.com/
-Instagram: remembering_nigel

Read more here: https://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/article238771468.html#storylink=cpy

October 2, 2019

It Happens Again! Boy Gets Outed Boy Kills Self




This is a failure in our culture including families, religion, commerce, Schools. Why in this day and age in which even have a gay man married to another man running for President. I know after Trump the job is not as important as it used to be but President is better than a king. Of course, there is more to the story than just being out but the manner in which this young guy was outed. His friend showed pictures breaking his confidence and trust and now felt, wrongly that he had no good life left. Adolescents tend to exaggerate most things, I know because I was one. We don't know better, have not been there, do not know that most things settled down and passed after a few days. What also gets me is then in this age of fast communications of cell phones and computers he felt there was no one to help. We need to print this because we need to keep telling the gay and straight worlds that this is still happening. Those so-called religious people that put this sexual orientation down that they have their finger in the soup also. They have responsibility for this whether they decide to take it and do something about it or keep ignoring it and blame it on suicide as an end result of A life.


                                     






The family and classmates of a Tennessee high school student who killed himself after being outed online as bisexual have demanded that the school and state authorities investigate and prosecute those responsible, calling it a case of “social media bullying.”

The student, Channing Smith, a 16-year-old junior at Coffee County Central High School in Manchester, Tenn., took his own life on Sept. 23 after sexually explicit text messages that he had exchanged with a male classmate were posted on social media, according to his family.

“He was absolutely humiliated,” his older brother, Joshua Smith, said by phone on Monday, describing the messages as “very explicit.”

“There was no way he could have gone to school afterward,” he added.

A few hours later, Channing shot and killed himself, his brother said. In Channing’s final post on Instagram, he said, “I really hate how I can’t trust anyone because those I did were so fake.”
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In the days since students at the school have set up a Facebook group called “Justice for Channing” and organized a rally where attendees wore homemade T-shirts with that slogan. Dozens gathered on Sunday for a memorial service where the country singer Billy Ray Cyrus performed “Amazing Grace” and rode Channing’s motorcycle. On Instagram, the actress Lili Reinhart said the story “breaks” her heart. 

Channing Smith, a high school junior, killed himself after he was outed as gay when his texts with a male classmate were posted to social media. Channing's older brother said he was "beyond disappointed" with the school's handling of the case. (https://nyti.ms/2n3Q5iH)  

Channing’s mother, Crystal Smith, addressed a crowd at one of the vigils, according to the local television station WTVF. “Just because you think it’s cute or funny to make somebody embarrassed or humiliate them, think again,” she said. “Because if somebody would have realized that, my son would not be dead.” 

Saying he was “beyond disappointed” with the school’s handling of the case, Joshua Smith argued that administrators had tamped down students’ attempts to call attention to Channing’s death, and he noted that state officials had not brought criminal charges against anyone in the case.

Charles Lawson, the director of the Coffee County Schools, said in a statement that the school district was “not at liberty to make any statements concerning the matter at this time.”

“A legal investigation is being conducted that involves some of our students,” he said.

Dr. Lawson added: “Counseling was provided at the school for students and staff who were struggling with what occurred. The Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network has reached out to provide resources for those that are dealing with this difficult situation.”

The Coffee County district attorney, Craig Northcott, denied that his office had “failed or refused” to investigate the matter.

“I, like the rest of the community, am deeply saddened by the tragic loss of the young life of Channing Smith,” Mr. Northcott said in a statement.

“My office has encouraged, cooperated in and supported the investigation into the events leading to this death,” he added. “Ethically, I am prohibited from commenting on an open investigation or prosecution.”

“When all relevant facts are available,” Mr. Northcott said, “my office will advise the Coffee County Sheriff’s Department on what charges if any, we believe are appropriate to help guide it in that decision.”  

A call to the Coffee County Sheriff’s Department was not immediately returned on Monday.

In June, local news outlets reported that state authorities were investigating Mr. Northcott in part because he had refused to prosecute domestic violence cases involving same-sex couples.

Channing’s death underscores the challenges of combating cyberbullying, which has proliferated in recent years. According to a report last year from the Pew Research Center, 59 percent of teenagers said they had been bullied or harassed online — and many of them thought teachers, social media companies and politicians were failing to help.

In schools across the country, L.G.B.T. students are more likely to be bullied and experience depression than their straight peers, studies have found.

Joshua Smith, who lives in Kentucky with his wife and two children, described his brother as “the sweetest kid on earth.” At 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, he often poked fun at his own clumsiness before others could.

“He was a band kid,” Joshua said, “so he wasn’t known as a football stud.”

Channing played the guitar and the bass could play “Amazing Grace” on the tuba and loved to sing.

Joshua said he had been unaware that his brother was romantically involved with boys. He said investigators had told him Channing’s messages with the other boy were leaked on Instagram and Snapchat.

At one of the memorial services, Joshua said: “I can assure you that your school hopes you forget, your town hopes that you forget, right, they’re going to hope that this goes away,” adding, “But we’re not going to let that happen.” 

He said his mission was to bring justice to the parties responsible for Channing’s death and to make changes so that “no human on this earth will have to die this way again.”

If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). You can find a list of additional resources at SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources.

Susan C. Beachy contributed research.

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