10.17.2011

Bullied Teen Jamie Hubley's Catholic Funeral

Jamie Hubley
Another bullied gay teenager took his own life this weekend.

Fifteen-year-old Jamie Hubley of Ottawa, Canada, documented the final month of his life on his Tumblr page, voicing in painful detail his struggle with depression and heartbreaking need for acceptance as an openly gay teenager.
“I wish I could be happy, I try, I try, I try ... I just want to feel special to someone,” he wrote.

The Ottawa Citizen reports:
Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for Canadians between the ages of 10 and 24 and disproportionately affects gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth.

“From the outside, he looked like the happiest kid. He was always smiling and giving everybody hugs in the halls,” said Steph Wheeler, a close friend who had known Jamie since the pair were in figure skating together as children a decade ago.

But Wheeler, 16, knew the sensitive Grade 10 student was struggling with being out in high school and often felt the sting of verbal bullying.

A gifted actor and singer — he loved Lady Gaga, Adele and Katy Perry, and posted numerous videos of himself singing on his personal YouTube channel — Jamie wrote a month ago that he was looking forward to taking dance lessons this winter.

“Something to look forward to,” he wrote.

But he also wrote of his sadness and despair, about being called a “fag.”

In a post three weeks ago, he said he was depressed, that medications he was taking weren’t working, and that being gay in high school was so hard — a thousand times harder in real life than on the popular television show, Glee, which he loved.

“I hate being the only open gay guy in my school ... It f---ing sucks, I really want to end it,” he wrote.

On Friday, Jamie made his final blog post, which included the following words:

Well, Im tired of life really. Its so hard, Im sorry, I cant take it anymore.

Being sad is sad : /. I’v been like this for way to long. I cant stand school, I cant stand earth, I cant stand society, I cant stand the scars on my arms, I cant fucking stand any fucking thing.

I dont want my parents to think this is their fault either… I love my mom and dad : ) Its just too hard. I dont want to wait 3 more years, this hurts too much. How do you even know It will get better? Its not.

I hit rock fucking bottom, fell through a crack, now im stuck.

Remember me as a Unicorn :3 x) MAybe in my next life Il be a flying squirreel :D
I'Il fly away.

I couldn't help but notice in the Ottawa Citizen article that Jamie's funeral will be held at Holy Redeemer Roman Catholic Church.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church (emphasis mine):
Holy Redeemer Roman Catholic Church
[Homosexuality's] psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

I have no direct knowledge of this particular church's approach to the topic of homosexuality, nor do I have direct knowledge of Jamie's religious views, his parents' religious views, or the family's involvement with this particular church.

Regardless, Jamie's family and friends will pay tribute to Jamie's life in an church institution which undoubtedly contributed to his death.

Religious institutions, as well as the harmful words of religious leaders (or lack of supporting words) are complicit in anti-LGBT bullying.

One can hope that on Thursday, those officiating the funeral of Jamie Hubley at Holy Redeemer Roman Catholic Church, will use this opportunity to re-think their organization's attitudes on homosexuality. We will only see progress when we break from archaic and harmful ideologies of the past. Hopefully, the spearkers and congregants at Holy Redeemer Roman Catholic Church will not turn a blind eye to the dogma with which they are associated.

"Love the sinner, hate the sin," is no less harmful than outright hatred when one's sexuality is part of who they are.











9 comments:

  1. I think funerals are less for the deceased than for the family and friends left behind. I think our thoughts should be with this kid's parents right now, in their grief. They will most certainly be wondering what they could have done to prevent his death and I don't think it is up to anyone else to tell them where and how to do this.
    -- thoughts from a lesbian reader who hates signing in, in order to comment.

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  2. Wow, this is REALLY reaching... to blame an entire religion for one child's death? Really? Is this sensationalist religion-bashing supposed to be helpful in some way to suicidal gay teens? Please explain how. You start off this post with a touching story of a teen but you just can't help but insert your agenda, even when it doesn't have any bearing on this boy's life. Jamie talks about SCHOOL being his greatest source of pain, not church or religion. He doesn't even mention faith at all, YOU brought it into the discussion.

    Many people, especially those under stress and sorrow, reach for their faith as a means of support. It is his parent's decision where to have his funeral, which is for them, and I think it's disrespectful to question that. The rudeness of this is astounding. How do you think his parents would feel reading this post? His grandparents? You go so hard against religion, yet this church is going against its own tenants to perform this rite for the parents. Committing suicide is considered a sin. Many churches would refuse him a Catholic or Christian burial based on that alone.

    I take exception, as usual, to your implied "ALL" when you talk about religion, faith and church. You assume that all religions, and therefore all believers, are the same. Again, WRONG. Weren't you the one who posted the link of the PSA for the May vote a while back? And weren't there some religious leaders involved? I seem to remember a speaker with a collar on. Pretty sure he was not an atheist.

    As far as your interpretation of "Love the sinner, hate the sin" - yes, someone's sexuality is PART of who they are, but it's not ALL of who they are. So unless someone is a raging sex addict, we can separate the sex from the person having it. I don't have to agree with anyone's sexual choices if I don't want to - that doesn't change how I feel about them as a person.

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  3. @wicked opinion - I will respond in two comment posts, as my response is above the character limit.

    You seem to have a skill for extracting statements from my writing which are not there.

    I did not "blame en entire religion for one child's death."

    I clearly stated that I had no direct knowledge of Jamie's faith, or of his parents' faith, or of his church community's particular ideas about homosexuality.

    What I did say was that "Jamie's family and friends will pay tribute to Jamie's life in an church institution which undoubtedly contributed to his death."

    That is, whether or not you want to believe it, a fact.

    Here are some other facts to support the above statement:

    Statistics suggest that youth hear anti-gay remarks approximately 25 times in an average school day, or more specifically, once every 14
    minutes. The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network’s (GLSEN) school climate survey found that approximately 61% of LGBTQ youth reported feeling unsafe in their school environments and 44% reported being physically harassed due to their perceived sexual orientation. This unsafe sense is not just a feeling, because 1 in 6 LGBTQ youth will be physically assaulted so badly that medical attention is needed.
    Recent research on the relationship between anti-gay bullying and suicide indicate that LGBTQ youth are at a higher risk for physical and emotional abuse at school and are at a higher risk for suicide.
    The 2006 Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior Survey of over 3,500 participants indicates that LGBTQ students were more than twice as likely than their non-LGBTQ peers to attempt suicide.

    One recent study suggests that anti-gay discrimination increased symptoms of depression among LGBT high school students overall and increased risk of self-harm and suicidal ideation among LGBT male high school students in particular. Another study of 7,376 middle school students found that LGBQ youth reported higher levels of bullying, anti-gay victimization, depression, and suicidality when compared to heterosexual youth.

    I'm sure we both can agree on this stuff. anti-LGBTQ attitudes and bullying can be devastating. In many instances it leads to isolation, despair, depression, and suicide.
    (http://www.ed.psu.edu/educ/epcse/counselor-education/newsletters/CounseLion_030211.pdf)

    (con't)

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  4. (con't) Where do these anti-LGBT attitudes come from?

    Via 'Faith in America':
    "Religion-based bigotry is the foundation of anti-gay attitudes in our society and in the minds of a majority of Americans, particularly persons of faith. Religion-based bigotry is not synonymous with bigotry. It is a uniquely vile form of bigotry as the prejudice, hostility and discrimination behind the words are given a moral stamp of approval."

    Via Soulforce:
    "We recognize that oppression is most often rooted in religious belief and ideologies of power in which women, people of color and non-gender conforming (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer) people are subjugated and subjected to the violence of exclusion. You will find us most often in dialogue with religious leaders, denominations and institutions who discriminate in polity, policy or practice. We are committed to decriminalization of sexual minorities by all church and state sanctioned organizations worldwide."

    I'm surprised that I even have to explain that anti-LGBT attitudes are deeply rooted in our religious ideologies. Are there other factors? Sure. But the vast majority of anti-LGBT discrimination and oppression is reinforced, and validated by (often misunderstood) scripture.

    Even Christian writers acknowledge that religion is complicit in gay teen suicides:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-shore/christians-and-gay-teen-s_b_978333.html

    http://www.thegodarticle.com/7/post/2011/10/clobbering-biblical-gay-bashing.html

    This is not some far-out theory. If you are unwilling to draw any correlation, you are in denial.

    The intention of the above post was to point out how our society generally turns a blind eye to religion-based bigotry. We sweep it under the rug. We bury our gay teens in the cemeteries of churches which perpetuate the attitudes that lead to the deaths of more teens.

    Are there progressive, LGBT-supporting religious leaders, congregations, and churches? By all means, yes. Am I speaking to those churches or those people? No.

    If you found the above post to be shocking, then hopefully it accomplished what I hoped: To ask people to rethink their association to religious organizations whose ideologies may be at odds with their own. To ask people to speak up and demand that their religious organizations and leaders re-evaluate their attitudes on homosexuality.

    (con't)

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  5. (con't)

    As far as your statements on "Love the sinner, hate the sin," I would ask you this:
    Is your family, your significant other, and your relationship with others around you part of who you are? Would you feel that your life was incomplete if you knew that you could not have a family, or marry? Your ability to accomplish these things in a way that is honest is very much a part of who you are.

    You seem to believe that I'm on some crusade to rid society of religion, just because I happen to be a non-believer. I am not. I am, however, very much against religion-based bigotry.

    That being said, I would love nothing more than to see religion evolve to the point that we do not take scripture literally. I would like to see us reach a point when we, as human beings with evolved minds and the capacity for empathy, reject the dogma that we see as harmful and archaic. We have done this with so much of scripture, yet we hang on to the anti-LGBT stuff.

    I don't apologize for anything I wrote above. You must understand that I write from the point of view of someone who does not entertain supernatural concepts. I certainly can understand how and why people do entertain them, but when these concepts and ideologies contribute to the oppression and suffering of humans, I will speak up and denounce those beliefs.

    If you have a problem with that, you may wish to read another blog. I would suggest you read some of the blogs that I mentioned above, John Shore and The God Article. However, even though they are Christian blogs, I believe you would find them equally as offensive, as they share many of the same viewpoints in regards to the culpability of religion in anti-LGBT ideology.

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  6. Prove to me that it is an indisputable FACT, as you say, that the Roman Catholic Church "contributed" to this person's death. You use a lot of words to simply reiterate the statements you already made. I don't understand the purpose of your statistics on school bullying, etc. That has nothing to do with religion at all. I was bullied in school, too, as a hetero and no one brought up Jesus to my many gay friends when they were getting beat up. What made us targets was being DIFFERENT. I'M surprised I have to explain human nature and pack mentality to YOU. Ever heard of a little thing called the Holocaust? It wasn't just about being Jewish. It was about being different.

    I am also against bigotry of any kind. I just think it's way too easy, and even lazy, to keep blaming the same old groups for everything. You, and others, seem to conveniently forget the many "wrongs" of society that organized religion is NOT responsible for. I agree that there are a disproportionate amount of assholes who identify as "conservative Christians" and I will say this: I don't consider someone who behaves that way to be a Christian, that's why I'm offended to be lumped in with them.

    I started reading your blog out of interest in other viewpoints but if my comments are not welcome, no problem. Thanks for re-enforcing my suspicion that believers and non-believers are more alike than different. Most people don't like to have their thoughts challenged.

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  7. First of all, your comments are entirely welcome. Anyone's are (with the exception of one comment that was hate speech, I have never deleted any comments, no matter how challenging or antagonistic).

    I engage every day with people who challenge my beliefs. I welcome it, and would not have it any other way.

    Re: your point that bullying has nothing to do with religion. You are correct that much bullying occurs that has no religious basis at all. I, too, was bullied, and it had nothing to do with religion. It was the fact that I was skinny, not athletic, interested in music and art, and an easy target. I do not for a minute deny that bullying occurs that has no root in religion.

    All that being said, you fail to understand that there is nothing in the bible that states that being skinny and weak is an abomination.

    Leviticus 20:13 does not state, "If a man plays the piano instead of football, he has done what is detestable. He must be put to death; His blood will be on their own heads."
    1 Corinthians 6:9-11 does not say, "Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor skinny kids who look different and like to draw, nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."

    Just because you and I are heterosexuals who were bullied as teens does not mean that religious-based bullying of homosexuals does not exist. That logic does not hold up.

    Just because someone bullies a gay teen, and never mentions the name of Jesus while they are getting beat up, does not mean that religion did not play a role in their actions, directly or indirectly.

    (con't)

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  8. Fact: Religion-based bigotry is a problem

    See:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rev-dr-cindi-love/bullying-bullicidewho-is-_b_744519.html

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130837802

    http://www.child-psych.org/2010/10/special-editorial-bullying-gay-teen-suicides-and-a-need-for-a-solution.html

    http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/home/50518515-76/americans-church-faith-gave.html.csp?page=2

    A Google search will turn up any number of studies, news stories, etc. dealing with the connection between religion and anti-LGBT ideology and bullying: http://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1CHKZ_enUS440US440&gcx=w&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=examples+of+religion+based+bullying#sclient=psy-ab&hl=en&rlz=1C1CHKZ_enUS440US440&source=hp&q=religion+based+bullying+homosexual&pbx=1&oq=religion+based+bullying+homosexual&aq=f&aqi=&aql=1&gs_sm=e&gs_upl=996977l996977l1l997657l1l1l0l0l0l0l280l280l2-1l1l0&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.,cf.osb&fp=b571422ac7922aeb&biw=1280&bih=653

    It's important to note that, often, bullies themselves are not aware of the connection. But the anti-LGBT religious messages that have been perpetuated throughout history, and currently in churches, religious literature, religious talk shows, etc. are complicit in validating anti-LGBT ideology and bullying. The hateful speech that comes from the AFA, FRC, Focus on the Family, etc. (along with our political leaders' validation via association with these groups) serves only to encourage and condone anti-LGBT ideology and bullying.

    What I am stating here is that, yes, religious institutions, and yes, the Roman Catholic Church, through their long histories of condemning homosexuality as a sinful abomination worthy of eternal hellfire and damnation, have indirectly contributed to the rampant anti-LGBT ideology which has led to the suicides of bullied gay teens.

    Did the church punch the kid in the face, spit in his food, or call him a 'faggot?' Of course not.

    Can a child who grows up in a household of spousal abuse end up abusing his own spouse? Yes. Did the behavior in his house contribute to his own violent and abusive behavior? Absolutely.

    I don't believe that I can convince you that religion's long history of condemnation of homosexuality has contributed to the attitudes we see today. It's there in black and white. It's in the scripture. The words are spoken from the pulpit every sunday. (At all churches, and by all religious people? Hardly.) Religious organizations speak it at national events on a regular basis.

    How, I ask you, is this *not* influencing ideology?

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  9. All excellent points, eshep ... I can only concur; religion doesn't kill LGBT kids, but it does create people who do.

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