But for hope

I woke this morning to this heartbreaking news. A 15-year-old boy in Ottawa killed himself, because of the struggles of being gay in high school.

If you don’t want to cry this morning, don’t read the story, just add Jamie Hubley to the increasingly long list of such publicised suicides (and remember that there are many, many more that never are publicised), and reduce it to a stat rather than a tragedy. I was tempted to do the same.

But I read the article, and I cried this morning, and what struck me most was that this boy, this 15-year-old guy who was so brave that he could be out of the closet when he was 15… was in some ways a lot like me.

“From the outside, he looked like the happiest kid. He was always smiling and giving everybody hugs in the halls…”

…She said all that Jamie wanted was what every teenager wants — somebody to love.“I just remember him wanting a boyfriend so bad, he’d always ask me to find a boy for him. I think he wanted someone to love him for who he was,” she said.

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

Yep. That it does.

I wasn’t quite the only gay guy in my high school, but I also was barely out of the closet. I found it hard to relate to very openly gay people, still. And it was still a school of 2000 people, and though there was (in later years) a GSA and outspoken support, it was the quiet, entrenched feeling of homophobia that pervaded. I didn’t want to be caught near the GSA, lest someone watching assume I was gay (as I said, barely out of the closet, and only in my last year). It was an Ontario suburb, conservative middle-upper class.

Jamie had struggled with depression in the past — Wheeler said she’d talked him out of committing suicide several times — but despite how he felt on the inside, Jamie often put a smile on his face, setting aside his own pain for others.

“Even though he was feeling down all the time, he always made everybody else feel better,” she said.

Like Jamie, I was desperate for someone to love, someone who would love me back. I don’t know that I was clinically depressed — I’ve never been to a psychiatrist for diagnosis — but I was certainly depressed. And like Jamie, I tried to never let it show. It didn’t stop me from enjoying the day to day — I smiled, I laughed, I had amazing friends — but the memory of the depression stands out, overtop of all that.

But I’m blessed, I suppose, with a strong will, and an almost unfailing optimism for life. I have always carried an immense hope for the future. I have never even contemplated suicide, however much pain I’ve been it — my brain just doesn’t seem wired to consider it an option.

But for brain chemistry, maybe I would have been Jamie, I don’t know. But for hope, maybe he could still be with us, happy, laughing, loving.

Fuck. I wish I could have spoken to this kid.

Life, Sexuality , , , , , , , , ,


  1. You are an extraordinary person, Lucas! Your talent and optimism and ability to share your thoughts so candidly is inspiring. I love you. Thanks for posting the story on Facebook

  2. Crystal

    There was a lot of $hit going down in highschool, I feel bad that I never stopped to think how hard it must have been for you to be gay there. I guess it was such a nonissue to *me* that I just (selfishly) thought it must be a nonissue – and therefore accepted and happy fact – to everyone else surrounding you. And you. I’m sorry for being so selfish, but I’m glad that your brain is not wired that way. It would have been an immense tragedy to lose you, much in the same way it is an immense tragedy to lose every person to suicide.

    Lots of love.

  3. mom

    And a HUGE THANK YOU to all of Lucas’s most AWESOME friends – his father and I are TRULY grateful for your constant support. <3

  4. Maria

    This year when my son wished me a happy 26th wedding anniversary, I in turn wished him a happy anniversary. He was dumbfounded. I reminded him that it was also one year ago on this day that he came out to me. It took a minute to register and then he had a really good laugh. My nephew committed suicide when he was 19 yrs old. He had a 3 month old daughter. I agree with you on the brain chemistry that leads one to take their life. I have strongly encouraged my kids to sleep on their problem and see how they feel about it in the morning. I encourage them to talk, find someone they trust and talk through the problem. And with my son, as he is meeting other gay guys…he is sharing the same advice and has the numbers in his phone for gay hotline and also the suicide hotline to pass on to others, because he is meeting people who want to end their lives too. Thank you Lucas for providing information and support to everyone. You are not only touching the lives of gay, you are reaching their friends and family.

    • Maria,
      Thank you for sharing your story — and for being a wonderful parent to your son. We need more people like you.
      I’m glad I have some little reach on my little blog. We need as much support out there as possible.
      Thanks, and give your son a hug.

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