Jamie Hubley lived in the province of Ontario (where same-sex marriage has been legal since 2003), in Canada (where same-sex marriage has been legal since 2005*). He lived in Kanata, a middle-class suburb of the city of Ottawa (where we elected an openly gay city councillor in the 1990s). He attended a public high school in the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (which publicly declared its support for LGBTTQ community at this year’s Capital Pride parade).
Despite this apparently gay-positive environment, Jamie was relentlessly bullied, starting in Grade 7 (when he excelled at figure skating, instead of the “manly” sport of hockey). Yet he had the fortitude to stand up and start a “Rainbow Club” at his high school to promote acceptance of others. But his posters were torn down and he was called vicious names in the hallways and online.
His high school, AY Jackson, has a student population of 800, so let’s assume 400 boys. By the stats, 40 of them would be gay. Let’s reduce that by another 50%, on the grounds that some teens may still be unsure about their sexuality. So, there are almost certainly at least 20 gay boys at AY. And yet, Jamie wrote in his blog:
“I hate being the only open gay guy in my school … It fucking sucks, I really want to end it.”
According to his father, Jamie had “struggled with the idea that people can judge you harshly even when you are trying to help others. Jamie asked a question no child should have to ask — why do people say mean things to me?” My heart goes out to Jamie’s parents—the grief of losing a child, especially by suicide, is unimaginable. But I also worry about the other gay youth who are attending AY Jackson. At a time when they should be figuring out their place in the world, they are faced with the awful choice of either hiding their true nature or being tormented, and now they have seen where that torment can lead.
And one more thing—I must comment on the elephant in the room:
The funeral will be held on Thursday at 1 p.m. at Holy Redeemer Roman Catholic Church, Kanata.
By all accounts, Jamie’s parents fully accepted their son’s sexuality. And yet, his funeral is to be held at a church, which by official doctrine considers homosexual relationships to be “objectively disordered.”