Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Another Gay Minnesota Teen Crushed By Weight of Homophobic Bullying

Portrait of gay bullycide victim Jay’Cory Jones, 17, held by his father, JayBoka Strader.

Rochester, Minnesota – A 17-year-old openly gay teen succumbed to overwhelming bullying, taking his own life this past Sunday.  Jay’Cory Jones jumped to his death into traffic from a pedestrian bridge near Century High School, according to police reports.  According to his father, Jones was beaten down by the incessant school bullying he endured for being open and vocal about his sexual orientation.  His father, JayBocka Strader, told the PostBulletin.com“He said all of his life they always picked on him. He’d still try to keep his head up at school, but then he’d come home and be really sad about it.”  Mr. Strader went on to say that his son was depressed because other boys wouldn’t accept him for who he was.

Jones knew of his sexual orientation since he was a little boy.  He took pride in who he was, and declared on his Facebook page that he was “Gay & Proud.”  A member of the Century Gay Straight Alliance, he sought help with his feelings from the Gay and Lesbian Youth Services in Rochester where he attended weekly meetings.  In the end, the pressure on him from his peers was just too much to bear.

ABC 6 News reports that Jones’s high school friends confirm that the abuse he suffered from bullies was a large factor in his death.  “You could tell it upset him because like he didn’t understand why people couldn’t accept him for who he was,” his friend Rachel said. “It just sucks that we had to lose somebody because of people’s words, and they didn’t realize that words hurt more than anything else.”

Communities across Minnesota, even the notorious Anoka-Hennepin School District in suburban Minneapolis, as well as towns and cities around the nation are attempting to staunch the numbers of gay and lesbian teens who take their lives because of homophobic bullying.  There is help available, like the Gay and Lesbian Youth Services of Rochester, and the nationally based Trevor Helpline, but it appears to be too little too late for so many, like Jay’Cory.

As EDGE On The Net reports, his dad said, “Up until his death, he took a stand. He was like, ’Whatever happens, happens — I’m just going to take a stand.’ And he started to take a stand.”  The homophobia in Century High School was just too heavy to win against. To honor Jay’Cory, Mr. Strader requests that people wear pink.  “I told him he looked really good in pink,” he said.

The Trevor Project 24-hour Lifeline number is 866-488-7386.  For God’s sake, use it!

May 12, 2012 - Posted by | African Americans, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Bullycide, Bullying in schools, gay teens, Gay-Straight Alliances, GLBTQ, Heterosexism and homophobia, LGBT teen suicide prevention, LGBTQ, LGBTQ suicide, Minnesota, Trevor Project | , , , , , , , , , , ,

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