Monday, May 14, 2012

Another One: Jay 'Corey' Jones

Jay 'Corey' Jones, a 17-year-old, from Rochester, Minnesota, jumped to his death on May 6th, after being bullied and tormented for being gay. He had suffered severe depression after being bullied for years and, perhaps, believed this was his only way to make it stop.
"He said all of his life they always picked on him," Jay Strader, Jones' father, said. "He'd still try to keep his head up at school, but then he'd come home and be really sad about it. He just got really depressed about it because the guys weren't accepting him."
Jones, who identified as gay from a very young age, was an active member of Century High School's gay-straight alliance [GSA] and even featured a pro-gay cover image on his Facebook page that read "Gay & Proud."
'Corey' Jones moved to Rochester about two years ago and joined the GSA after enrolling at Century; he attended the group's twice-weekly meetings regularly. His friend, Tia Born, says, "He was strong about supporting gay people."
In March of this year, Jones attended a support group meeting at Gay and Lesbian Youth Services in Rochester. He had brought along a group of friends, but, group facilitator, Vangie Castro thought he seemed to be looking for something more, "He was looking for something, but I think he just didn't know what he was looking for." Castro said. 
The meeting was the only one he attended.
In early April, a fellow student directed an anti-gay comment to Jones at school. He'd wanted to wear short-shorts to school to stand up to the student, but friends asked him not to do it, out of concern for what might happen. But Jones was not to be deterred; he wore those shorts that day, as a kind of in-your-face 'I’m gay' to that student, and received support from many people at school.
But he was saddened that his friends had asked him not to wear the shorts, and he soon stopped going to GSA meetings last month as a result.
"Up until his death, he took a stand," his father said. "He was like, 'Whatever happens, happens — I'm just going to take a stand.' And he started to take a stand."
Jay 'Corey' Jones’ funeral will be held in Chicago, but Strader wants to do “something big” in Rochester to honor his son, who on April 20 was involved in a “Day of Silence” at Century. "I want everyone to have on pink shirts and remember the Corey that tried to get the rights," Strader said. "When I saw him in pink, I really liked him in pink, and he was really happy. I just told him that pink looked good on him."
This one really gets to me because, on the outside, Jay 'Corey' Jones seemed so defiantly gay, so proud to be gay, so in-your-face gay. And yet, even with all that, the taunts and the teasing and tormenting got to be too much.
And sometimes, too much leads you to a bridge.....


Bill Dameron said...

When will we learn that as adults, we are the ones teaching our children that it is ok to bully? So many of our politicians spout bigotry and hatred every day. They should be held responsible. They should be charged with hate speech. Words can kill.

Stephen said...

I don't think I can stand more stories of kids killing themselves after being repeatedly bullied...

kathy said...

sad Monday

Biki said...

omg, another one? wipes tear at the lost of a precious human

SteveA said...

What a strong lad.....rare these days!