Video: Parents of gay suicide teen urge families to talk
The parents of Jamey Rodemeyer have urged other families to do everything they can to help bullied gay teenagers.
Tracy and Tim Rodemeyer were speaking ten days after their 14-year-old son killed himself. Jamey had suffered years of homophobic bullying, at school and online.
The Lady Gaga fan, who lived in Buffalo, New York, had “put a brave face on” and refused to talk about the harassment, his parents said.
Speaking to Ann Curry of MSNBC’s TODAY programme (video below), Mrs Rodemeyer revealed that the bullying had continued even after Jamey’s death.
She said: “It was the first day of his wake, and my daughter, we let her go to the school dance … we thought it would be great for her to be with all her friends and she was texting that she was having a great time.
“Then all of a sudden a Lady Gaga song came on and they all started chanting for Jamey, all his friends and whatever, and then the bullies that put him into this situation started chanting ‘you’re better off dead, we’re glad you’re dead’, and things like that and my daughter came home all upset.
“And you know, it was supposed to be a time for her to grieve and have fun with her friends, and it turned into bullying even after he’s gone.”
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The couple were asked whether anti-gay churches and politicians were contributing to an atmosphere of anti-gay taunting.
Mr Rodemeyer said: “Yeah, I think it does. People have different views on things, and if you believe in homosexuality is right or wrong, that’s your right as an American, but it’s no reason to bully someone and hate them.”
The family said Jamey used to speak openly about being bullied but did not tell them the problem had followed him to high school. Mrs Rodemeyer said he was “putting on a brave face for everybody”.
When asked what message he would give to other parents, Mr Rodemeyer said: “My message to the parents is badger your kids and make them talk or get them the help they need.
“There’s lots and lots of other people that maybe they’ll talk to. There’s a lot of organisations out there that maybe they’ll talk to, but get them to talk.
“We tried to get Jamey to talk to us constantly, and he just kept it in. He just put up a brave face but just don’t let it go, if you know they’ve been bullied in the past, Keep on them, go to the school, do whatever you have to, to make sure that they’re getting the help they need.”