I wish I could place a candle in the window of every out and proud LGBT person and ally in America saying, "Come to our home. It's safe here. We're family and we welcome you just the way you are." The It Gets Better Project started on Sept. 21, 2010 after a rash of LGBT teen suicides. The Project has helped - including enabling suicide survivors to tell their stories.
But suicides among LGBT youth continue. On Friday, June 1, in the middle of an incredible celebration of LGBT Heritage Month at LA City Hall, I reminded people that two young people had committed suicide that week. Today I learned that the day after I spoke of those kids, on Saturday, June 2, 16-year-old Brandon Elizares had taken his life at his home in El Paso, Texas, after being bullied for being gay.
An email newsletter entitled Opposing Views reported on June 14:
Zachalyn Elizares, Brandon's mom told KVLA-TV News: "When he first came out, he told me that he had lost a lot of his friends because he wanted to live openly as a gay person and he did not understand. He'd be like 'I'm still me. I'm still Brandon, nothing's changed other than the fact that I like boys."
Apparently Brandon took pills to end his lfe and was discovered by his younger brother in his room.
His mother said bullying and threats led to Brandon's suicide. The day before Brandon took his life that he was to fight a boy who had been taunting him.
Brandon reportedly wrote in a suicide note: "My name is Brandon Joseph Elizares and I couldn't make it. I love you guys with all of my heart."
The teen's mother said Brandon had friends, but also had bullies: "Brandon was the type of person that if you're mean to him or you say something to him, he just smiled, kept on walking, and he going to say anything back. It's really sad because I always wish that he'd found his voice and I thought that he was getting better at than since he came out. But he internalized a lot of it."
Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians & Gays (PFLAG) will hold a memorial for Brandon on Friday at 7pm at Holy Spirit Episcopal Church in El Paso.