Blogs Sep 20, 2010 at 12:01 pm


This is why I'm not going to comment on this.

Plus, it will increase Dan's blog post count, and we can't have that, even if it mentioned gay pitbulls committing suicide over DADT.
Dan Savage and the Stranger is always very crass and obtuse about suicide.

They'll talk and talk about it, even knowing that talking about it actually increases suicides, then in the Stranger regrets issue, they'll make a regret that you people are so whiny about suicide.

It's not funny, assholes.
Suicide fascinates me. If only I were the one to discover David Foster Wallace hanging. Probably more than six million words to describe that one instant.
Teenage Suicide (Dont Do It!)
@2, i would hardly call dan's coverage and commentary on this boy's suicide "crass and obtuse."
OIC. So let's all just hush up and sweep it under the rug. It's such a selfish point of view. By that logic, maybe the Matthew Shepard murder should have been hushed up and kept out of the national media - so as not to encourage other victims to be... victimized.

Dan doesn't give a shit about kids who commit suicide.
Or abused children.
Or the victims of 'youth pastors'...
He gleefully twists and distorts the circumstances of their tragedy to use as ammunition in his culture wars.

It's all about Dan.......
Totally agree with 6. The worst bit about being bullied is feeling you're all alone, that "they" are the majority and that you'll never win or even survive. If no one's calling attention to the horrors perpetrated by bullies, how will that ever change?
Hmm… Nope.

The letter writer is coming from a sincere and heartfelt place, but I really don't think many kids would kill themselves if they thought it would posthumously get back at their tormentors. I'm not saying it couldn't happen, but just not very often.

I think it is far more important to expose the problem to the light of day. Few problems go away by hiding them or ignoring them. Bullying won't stop unless society takes it seriously and decides to do something about it. And society will never do that if we don't talk about it.
That photo keeps getting bigger.
Nothing the media does when covering other suicides can directly help bullied kids.

Suicide is already on the table for most of them. The coverage may make them think suicide will help, but lack of coverage may make them feel completely alone.

Kids who see the coverage get the chance to see they are not alone, and find out they have people to go to.

As long as suicide is covered in a way that doesn't glamourize it, it's okay to cover it. She does make an interesting point though, I'd like to hear from the bullied people who lived. Hear how they survived it. I think that's what bullied kids need to hear: survival techniques. Telling bullies to stop bullying people doesn't help the kid being bullied. Survival strategies do.
Yes, the Stranger is crass and mean about suicide.

Refer to this article in which they acknowledge that suicide coverage and imagery may cause suicide rates to increase, then go on to reprint every suicidal image in that very story.…

Dan, just how can you excuse behavior like this in the face of stories that you push about gay kids killing themselves, hmmmm?

I didn't off myself as a teen mostly because I was afraid God would send me to hell if I did. (I now no longer believe in either a god or a hell, partly because the one ignored me while I lived through the other.) I was quite aware that suicide happened a lot, and that it wasn't unusual in kids my age. Still, I didn't do it.

My suicidal ideation had nothing to do with revenge. It wasn't a case of, "This'll show them!" Rather, it was a case of, "I really don't know how much longer I can put up with this shit."

The suggestion that discussing teen suicide as a result of bullying will somehow increase teen suicides as a result of bullying is asinine. It's like the NASCAR nullwits who believed that wearing helmets and harnesses was somehow "planning" for a collision. Preventive measures do not cause problems; they ameliorate the results.

Bullying will not stop if we sweep it under the rug. Kids will not stop killing themselves if we pretend they aren't doing it. How is this blatantly obvious fact in any way arguable, by anyone at all?
I think the writer has a point. After all, most gay kids don't end up killing themselves, and we either learn to rise above what happens to us (or become one of the tormenters themselves)

But the whole issue of teen suicide, no matter what the reason is, is so fraught with intricacies; When I was a Senior in high school, three (or was it five?) kids at Omaha area high schools killed themselves over the course of a few months. There was all sorts of media reporting, and we had special assemblies where they talked to us about not killing yourself. People were hypersensitive about it, so much so that I somehow got labeled as "depressed" and had to go see a counselor (Which was ridiculous, as I was just very bored with school, and very excited to be starting college in the fall)

So obviously, teen suicide is something that is worth discussing, and when bullying is part of the equation, that needs pointed out as well. But I do think that gay kids could benefit from hearing about regular everyday gay people who got past that part of their lives and went on to become successful, in whatever it was they chose to undertake - not just the celebrities.
point taken, @ 13 - that was pretty awful. but with regard to this story in particular, there was no mocking, no glorification, nothing crass or obtuse.

to acknowledge this suicide in print and to identify what drove him to it is not irresponsible if it's handled properly, which i think it was.
@12: I was horribly bullied throughout all of highschool, and even did attempt suicide once. While getting back at my tormentors was not the first thing on my mind at the time (that would have been utter and total despair and a desire to just get away from everything forever) I cannot say it NEVER crossed my mind. Of course, now when I think about it I realize that it was never an issue of the bullies not knowing how badly they were treating me. I doubt that even if I had gone through with it, they would have been able to connect the dots. Logic is not something a suicidally depressed person is very open to. Not to say that you cannot ever "talk them out of it" but it is very hard. Once suicide is a real option for a person, that person has let logic go. That is what makes this issue to hard to deal with.
Ridiculous! One person's anecdote is not reason to believe that the Stranger increases gay teen suicide.
It's not like only members of the media making a big deal out of stories where someone commits suicide because they were bullied is the ONLY place a bullied and vulnerable teen will hear about suicide. I'm not that far out of highschool--class of '08--and suicide was a topic that was discussed in the yearly "health" classes I took in middle and high school. I remember learning about warning signs of suicide, suicide hotlines, how to get help, etc and watching videos dramatizing the whole process which often included bullying on the list of the suicidal character's problems. It rung cheesy to me (especially after a member of my family committed suicide) but I think they were doing it with the best intentions. I experienced pretty much the same "learn about suicide" unit in several different schools across America, from socially conservative settings (Florida) to liberal ones (Portland, OR).

So while stories of bullied gay youth that lived through bullying to have a successful life would certainly be wonderful to hear about (as someone who was bullied, stories of people whom I admired who lived through bullying helped) but it certainly isn't Dan's fault for introducing depressed teens to the idea of suicide.
The writer has a point "I think you should consider publicizing the stories of young gay adults who showed bullies up by living." Absolutely, yes indeed. We also have to continue shining a light on the results of bullying- in this case death.

The issue of bullying has not been dealt with by a society that treats it as if it is just one of the rites of passage to adulthood."Tough it out" is the attitude. Adults talk about zero tolerance for bullying but do NOTHING when it occurs except make excuses and some how imply it's the victims fault. As in so many cases the adults are at fault as well.

You can do one of three things with a bully: ignore them, fight back or make them look foolish.
Perhaps focusing on this issue, even if it increases suicides in the short run, will, in the long run, create an environment where the suicide rate for GLBT teens will be the same as heterosexual teens.
The letter writer's coming from a good, but thoroughly misguided, place. I was severely bullied in middle school and tried to kill myself twice in eighth grade. I did not have fantasies about "getting back" at my tormentors, nor did I assume there would be media coverage of my death. Indeed, if you read up on suicide, you'll learn that media doesn't tend to report it. I hoped to "slip away" with little notice, and I wanted only to stop my pain, not embarrass or upset anyone.
EVERYONE PLEASE email CNN to cover the horrible Child Death and Cover-Up of Billy Lucas.


This isn’t about BEING gay, but about being PERCEIVED as gay. The school Is Not investigating. The locals aren't holding anyone accountable. They are in denial about this child's death.

The Principal denies knowing of that which is common knowledge among students.
The mindset of the bullies, their resulting actions, AND the inactions and the denial by Principal Phil Chapple is the issue here. The Parents of the Bullies and the Educators are ultimately the ones responsible for this death. They did not condemn nor control the atmosphere of hate. This was not the first such incident within the Greensburg community.

Now the Coroner says the note Billy left doesn’t indicate that it was a suicide? Did he or didn’t he???

It is as clear as a crystal ball that a community wide denial and cover up of a PERCEIVED gay 15 year old child being pushed to suicide by that very same community’s people is going on in full swing. You own this Greensburg! This mindset that it is Perfectly Okay to harass a child who is perceived as gay to the point of taking his own life, originates with, is perpetuated by, is endorsed by, and is now being denied by the Parents, and the Educational and Community Leaders of GREENSBURG, INDIANA, U.S.A.

Greensburg, Indiana is “The United States Capitol City of Hate!!!”
He's right. Studies and experience have found that glamorizing suicide, sensationalizing it, and showing it to have positive consequences increase the suicide rate. With that said, the kind of vicious bullying that makes kids wish they were dead is a serious problem that needs to be addressed, both nationally and locally, and without coverage, how will things change?
Also another formerly suicidal teen (I also posted on the previous topic as well.)

How did I survive? Well, depends what you mean by survive. Still in therapy. I don't trust people; I have no trust or love towards my parents, who I feel failed me - how can I trust them, when they let me endure such abuse for 8 years? I have never been able to have an intimate relationship; my trust issues manifested themselves in a total phobia of sexual contact.

The only reason I did not kill myself was that I had a younger sister - I wanted to be alive to protect her, at least, from the shit I went through. I didn't want her to toddle into my room and find I wasn't there anymore. I didn't want my Mum to have to explain to her what a funeral was.

So how do I feel about publicizing these articles? KEEP DOING IT. Sometimes, people flippantly say "bullying is a part of growing up, it happens". No - kids saying mean things happens. Bullying is nothing less than constant, repeated psychological/physical torture. And being silently mandated by PARENTS AND SCHOOLS no less! When people see articles like these, I hope they realize the damage their false beliefs cause.

As for hope: I am getting better. I am making friends, even if they are few and far between. My relationship with my parents is still terrible. I cope much better with things that sent me into panic attacks years ago. I did exceedingly well at school, graduating this year, and I hope to get a job far away from all the bullshit I grew up with.
Shut up lady.
Not talking about things doesn't make them better. It makes it worse. Think of all the years Catholic boys thought it best not to talk about what their priests did to them. Or the women who have been beaten and raped by boyfriends/husbands who used to have no recourse because these things didn't get talked about.

How on earth do you draw attention to a problem by ignoring it?

I think people vastly overestimate how easy it is to get someone who doesn't want to kill themselves to do so. If some kid is already thinking about it because of bullying, Dan's column shouldn't get primary blame for them following through. First of all, you don't know if they would have killed themselves anyhow.

Ultimately, this attitude puts the burden on everyone else to NOT do something just in case it might help some one. In the meantime, being silent allows the continued bullying and tacit acceptance of gay bullying to continue unabated.

Please wait...

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