Tulare County is located in the vast Central Valley of California, is the nation’s #1 dairy producer, and ranks consistently #2 or #3 in overall agricultural production in the United States. Visalia, the county seat, was also the home of EricJames Borges, a 19 year old gay man whose suicide garnered attention worldwide in January, 2012.
Another gay teen has taken his own life after enduring years of bullying. Rafael Morelos, 14, hanged himself January 29, 2012, in Cashmere, Washington.
His middle school principle, Rob Cline, told the Wenatchee World that there was no ongoing investigation about bullying at the school. He said that Rafael had, earlier in the school year, reported one incidence of being bullied but “we took care of that. We investigated and took appropriate action.”
The Wenatchee World also reports that the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office is the investigating agency, and determined that it was a suicide and there was no foul play involved.
“You’re the first one who ever indicated to me that he had been bullied,” said Sheriff Brian Burnett in a phone interview Saturday.
At his chosen family memorial, Jennifer McGuire, the “Mama Badger” who took Eric into her home after he was kicked out of his parent’s, gave this moving eulogy. The crowd was in tears as it rose to its feet in applause at the end.
“As he wrote in his note to me, “Oh God, where do I begin?” I know there are people who knew him longer and there are people who may have known him better, but over the last year, and especially the last three months we lived together, EricJames was My Boy, and my heart is broken.
And I will never get over this, but We will get through it.
As much as I would love everything I say today to be cutesy antidotes and sappy remembrances, and there will be those, don’t worry, but there are also some things I need to make sure are said, said out loud, said for him, for all of us.
Continue reading Jennifer’s Eulogy to EricJames
The site Gay USA has posted excerpts from the notes left by EricJames. (Suicide claims another LGBT youth: Eric James Borges, 19) In them, he requests that $500 go to Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation, $500 to the Trevor Project, and $521.56 to the Human Rights Campaign.
Also posted at the site are excerpts from the eulogies given by William “Van” Vanlandingham, and the woman who took him in after he was kicked out of his home by his parents, Jennifer McGuire.
McGuire pulled no punches in her eulogy.
“I am not going to avoid the elephant in the room. He tells his story better than any of us could in his short film and “It Gets Better” video, but I need it to be spoken out loud – and said for him… his parents tortured him – there is no other word to describe it. What he shared in his video was the tip of the iceberg, and that’s only compared with what he shared with me, and I am sure there was more.
His parents tortured him by not protecting him from the extensive bullying. His parents tortured him through their relentless, extremist religious teachings. His parents tortured him with shame and intolerance and emotional and physical abuse that most of us can’t even begin to imagine. And yes, I blame them, and not just a little, but for a majority percentage… His parents killed him.”
Full story at Gay USA.
Many sequels are simply the same story, repeated. Let’s change the sequel when it comes to bullying and suicide.
Help us to stop bullying and prevent suicide by taking the ElevenEleven Challenge to promote equality for all. Post these four lines on the 11th day of every month: Our human rights are not HUMAN, Our civil rights are not CIVIL, Our equal rights are not EQUAL, We have the power to CHANGE THE SEQUEL!