Huffington Post- Gay Voices reported tonight that 15-year-old Jadin Bell of La Grande, Oregon was taken off life support and died early today. The gay high school sophomore hung himself in his high school playground after what a family friend described as an intense period of bullying by his peers.
The outgoing teen was not only bullied at school but on the internet as well by those who could not accept Jadin’s lack of social and sexual conformity to what they apparently deemed as normal. Jody Bullock, one of Jadin’s friends told a local newspaper that he was amazingly sensitive: “If he saw a wounded butterfly [as a child] he wanted to heal it … He is an amazing young man who is smart and very social; he has a persona and a presence that you want to be a part of.”
Conformity makes a lot of simple people comfortable. Being “different,” is threatening to the less sophisticated mind and those who don’t trust people who don’t share their point of view. Ironically, just as we finished reading about Jadin’s death, we caught a video clipof Republican Senator Ted Cruz speaking to the very conservative, National Review Institute. In responding to a question about whether or not he would like to see America as a dominant military power in the world, Cruz starts to explain his views on America’s standing in the world and why he voted against John Kerry becoming Secretary of State and why he will vote against Chuck Hagel to become Secretary of Defense. Before he can even get another sentence out, the mediator of this auspicious group yells out: “Because they are anti-us!”
The greatest challenge confronting America and much of the world was, is and will continue to be the emotional immaturity of those who genuinely fear navigating life in a world in which there are other people who don’t share their point of view; people who don’t conform to their ideas about what is normal; people who don’t share their religious and political beliefs. How sad.
One can’t help but wonder how such intolerant commoners reconcile such simplistic reasoning with the message of “religious”conservatives usually claim to have such a passionate knowledge of and adherence too.
Rest in peace Jadin. I never met you but I’ll bet my life you were a better person than any of the people hassled and bullied you. You can be sure that many of us will continue the fight for the rights of sensitive people who don’t necessarily conform to other people’s ideas of what is normal. I promise. God willing.
We can speculate on why Jadin made the decision he did but that won’t change the outcome. Teens everywhere gay, curious, or straight, face the same challenges. Jadin reminds us that the worst weapon against our progress is silence. The media exploits this story now for ratings, but the conversation must continue. We leave Jadin in God’s hands, not knowing all the answers. Only that God’s hand is leading us and His love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord