GLTBQ* youth in Alberta are fourteen times as likely to commit suicide as are their heterosexual peers, mainly in part because of hate crimes from other peers. These numbers are staggering. Hatred of this sort must be stopped.
Daniel Ritchie was 16 and gay. He was more feminine that anything but to all who knew him he was the sweetest guy. Sadly some in his school did not think too kindly on his sexuality. This was something Daniel could not understand. The bullying had only recently started, when he transferred to the new school. His family had moved across town so he had to transfer.
Jason Tyler was a bitter and angry young man of 18. He hated everyone and everything about his life. He had been dealt the shit end of the deck. So he blamed everyone else for his problems, and always found an outlet to take it out on. He hung around a bad group of kids. He did not give a fuck. He and his buds always look for someone to torment.
It all started the day Daniel walked into his new school. He was dressed in his low cute girl pants and a shirt that matched. He strutted in kind of flaunting his sexuality, but not deliberately. Jason saw him and sneered to his buddies.
“Holy fuck…look at the faggot that just walked in.” He stated.
All of them looked and had a big chuckle over it. Jason decided then and there he would make this kids life a living hell. No faggot little fucker was gonna ruin his school. He got up and he buddies followed him. As he walked by he shoved Daniel, and knocked him to the ground.
“Fucking queer look where you walk, get the fuck out of my way.”
Daniel was stunned. He had never had this at his old school. He could hear the group laughing as they walked away. Daniel sat there stunned. Two other students saw the exchange and came to his aid.
“Man you better watch out for that group. They are the school bullies.” The girl said.
He took the hand that was offered to him. Dusting himself off, he looked at his rescuers, a girl and a guy.
“Thanks.” He said.
“No problem. I am Bekah and this is my friend Keenan.”
“I’m Daniel, I just transferred here.”
“And you already have an enemy.” Keenan said.
Daniel shook his head. He could still not fathom why someone would do that. He had not done anything to them. Bekah saw the look in his eyes. She put her arm around him.
“You do not understand do you?” She asked.
“Not really.” Daniel replied.
“Hun it is obvious to anyone you are gay. People like Jason do not like people like you, you know different and all.”
“And the fact you are gay doesn’t help the situation any.” Keenan put in.
“Well I am not gonna changed to satisfy so useless prick.”
“Good for you, just watch it okay.” Bekah said with a smile.
“I will and thanks.”
Daniel looked around trying to figure out where to go. Keenan knew he needed to get set up in the office. He and Bekah decided to take him there.
“Come on we will get you to the office.” Keenan said.
Bekah led the way. It took ten minutes to get everything sorted. The principal was a real nice lady and seeing as Bekah and Keenan had helped him, she asked them to show him around. Daniel was kind of glad they were. As it turned out he had a couple classes with them. After finding his assigned locker they head to his first class, English. He would be alone for this one.
“We will meet you here after class, and go to the next one okay?” Bekah asked.
“Yeah sounds good and thanks again.”
Daniel waited until they were gone before entering the room. To his shock and dismay he saw that Jason and a couple others were in this class. He walked up to the teacher and hand him a slip. Jason looked up and sneered.
“Oh looky the little faggot has joined our class.” He said out loud.
“Mister Tyler, I will not under any circumstances tolerate that type of language from anyone in this class. Do I make myself clear?” The Teacher stated.
“Yeah whatever you want.”
“Keep it up and you will in detention again.”
Daniel took an empty seat near the front. He could hear Jason and his buddies snickering and talking under their breath. He made the mistake of glancing back. Jason grabbed his crotch and mouthed the word ‘Wanna suck it for me?’ Daniel quickly turned around. He heard more giggling from the back of the room. He tuned it out and listened to the teacher. He wanted the class to be over so he could get out of there, but it was dragging on. Finally the bell rang, and everyone got up to leave. Daniel figured it best to wait before exiting. He never knew what hit him, when he was hit in the back of the head. His head slammed forward and hit the desk. The teacher had his back to the class, but turned just as his head hit the desk. Daniel blacked out.
He came to a few hours later. He was not sure where he was or what had happened. As things came into focus he saw Bekah Keenan and his dad sitting there. As soon as his dad saw he came to, he was by his side.
“Son, are you okay?” He asked.
“I think so.” He replied.
Bekah and Keenan joined them. Bekah had tears in her eyes. Daniel finally figured out where he was. He felt panic rise inside him. He did not know why he was in the hospital.
“Why am I here?” He asked.
He was really panicking now. His head hurt every time he moved it. Tears came. Daniel’s dad put his hand on his shoulder trying to calm him.
“You were brought here after you were knocked unconscious.”
Daniel still had no idea what was going on. He finally calmed down enough to listen to his dad.
“Some kid smacked you hard in the back of the head. You were knocked forward and knocked out.”
“Yeah he did this to you.” Keenan said.
Daniel began to cry again. He was not going to calm down. His dad called for the doctor, and they had to sedate him. As he slipped under he saw his friends and his father ushered out of the room. He awoke in the middle of the night screaming. The nightmare was horrible. The nurse stayed with him til he calmed down again and fell asleep.
Daniel spent three days in hospital before being released. Bekah and Keenan came by every day after school. Bekah told him that Jason was going to be gone for a while for what he had done. Sadly he was not going to be expelled from the school. She was really pissed about that part. As were a lot of other students.
Daniel spent a few days at home before deciding to return to school. His parents had offered to transfer him, but he decided he would stay where he was. As he walked in he saw the group of boys sitting in their usual spot. None made any remarks to him. He was almost bowled over as Bekah came running up to him.
“Hey handsome boy, welcome back.” She said with a big grin.
Even Keenan gave him a big hug. All three saw the boys looking at them, with a look of hate in their eyes.
“Aww look, the bitches are lost without their master.” Bekah said, and began to laugh.
Even Keenan and Daniel got a chuckle out of that one. Arm in arm the headed away.
Things were peaceful for the next two months. Daniel had made several new friends. He was really beginning to enjoy himself and his new school. That did not last though. It was after spring break. Daniel walked in the doors as saw his nemesis Jason sitting with his group of bitches. He made a beeline for his friends before anything was said. He sat down between Keenan and Bekah.
“Fuck and just when I was feeling safe.” He said sadly.
“I know babe and it sucks.” Bekah replied as she put an arm around him.
Jason and his horde came walking by, and stopped right in front of them.
“You fucking faggot I spent time in jail because of your sorry ass. You better watch yourself.” Jason sneered.
“Why don’t you fuck off Jason, and get a life.” Bekah said getting right in his face.
“Look the little faggot has to get his whore to stick up for him. Like I said watch yourself, your ass is mine.”
Before anything else was said, Jason was gone. Bekah was flushed red with anger. Daniel was not sure what to do.
“I could kill that bastard!!” Bekah said.
Keenan had a calm head. He suggested going to the principal. Reluctantly Daniel agreed. The principal listened and shook her head.
“I am really sorry, but I cannot do anything without actual proof of the threat.”
Daniel seeing that this was going to do nothing, and the words of his friends did not mean shit, got up and stormed out of the office. Keenan followed him. Bekah stood there and glared at the principal.
“What kind of fucking school is this that will not protect a student from bullies?”
She stormed out of the office. She was not going to give the bitch the satisfaction of a reply. She found Daniel and Keenan sitting outside the office. She sat down next to them.
“God how hypocritical is that shit?” She stated.
Daniel opted out of going to English. During the day he saw Jason a few times. Jason made a slashing sign across his neck and pointed to him. Eventually Daniel decided to skip the rest of the day. He told Bekah and Keenan he was just gonna go home for the day. They offered to go with him, but he said no he wanted to be alone. He took off before either could protest.
The phone calls started a couple days later. All the caller would say was ‘You are dead faggot’ and then he would hang up. Daniel knew who it was. He wondered how the fuck they had gotten his phone number. The calls never stopped. He father began answering the phone demanding to know who the fucker was that was threatening his son like that. It was getting to Daniel. School became unbearable yet still nothing was done about it. Daniel began skipping most days. Worst of all he began cutting himself to deal with the emotional pain. He was cutting himself when his dad took the call. Daniel began sinking into a dark depression. He wore long shirts to cover up his cuts. Bekah became really concerned. She saw some things that she recognized as thoughts of suicide.
Weeks went by and the calls stopped for a while. By this time it was too late. Daniel was too far gone to care. He continued to cut himself, and then cover it up. Bekah was sure something was wrong when started wearing long sleeve shirts. She confronted him, but he just shrugged it off, saying he was fine.
Jason was getting worse with his tormenting. Every chance he got, he would have something degrading to say to Daniel. Most of the time he would grab his crotch and shake it at him
“Oh you know you wanna piece of this big cock.” He would sneer.
He and his buddies would get a big laugh about that. Sometimes they would walk by and deliberately push him. Daniel suffered in silence. Many nights he cried himself to sleep. It was worse when the calls started again. Offers of sex or being told he was gonna die. Daniel could not take it anymore. His only freedom was when he cut himself. It was the only way he could relieve the emotional pain, by causing himself physical pain.
Everything came to a head one two weeks before the end of the school year. Daniel was alone and walking in the park. As soon as he saw Jason and his buddies he knew the shit was going to hit the fan. He tried to run, but was cornered by the bullies.
“Well if it ain’t the little faggot.” Jason sneered.
He was hit hard across the face, and knocked to the ground. He tried to curl up in a ball, but he was pinned down before he could. He was kicked in the side.
“DON’T FUCKING MOVE YOU GODDAMN QUEER!!” Jason yelled.
Daniel tried to fight as he was hauled up. Jason was right in his face, almost spitting as he talked.
“I told you I would get you faggot.”
Jason brought his knee up and connected. Daniel screamed in pain. He was punched and kicked and literally pulverized. He dropped to the ground when he was let go. As an added insult he was pissed on. He was left for dead.
Daniel awoke and found himself again in the hospital. His whole body hurt. From his haze he was told he suffered several broken bones, and several cuts. He had gotten lucky. He spent most of the summer in the hospital. He wanted to die, that was all he thought about. How everyone would be better off if he was dead.
When he was released from the hospital he decided what he needed to do. He stood in front of the bathroom mirror. He hated what he saw.
“Fucking faggot you deserve to die!!” He said to his reflection.
He placed the note he had written to his friends and family on the sink. Taking his dads razor and breaking it apart, he took the blade and cut both his wrists. As he sat down and watched the blood pour from the wounds he whispered a final goodbye.
“I am sorry mom and dad. I am sorry everyone. The world will be better off without me.”
His dead body was found in the morning along with the note he had left. No one really saw it coming. All except Bekah and she felt helpless when she heard the news about Daniel. An investigation was launched against Jason and his buddies. Bekah saw them on the street one day and confronted them. She smacked Jason right across the face.
“You arrogant prick, because of you Daniel is dead, not that you care.” She screamed in his face.
“Back off you dumb bitch. I am glad he is dead, one less faggot foe the world to be contaminated with.” Jason sneered.
Before Bekah could say more the cops pulled up and Jason and his buddies were arrested. Bekah watched as they were hauled off.
“I HOPE YOU ROT IN JAIL FOR THIS JASON TYLER!!”
Bekah turned and walked away.
Due to this happening, new non-hatred policies were put in place. Sadly it came too late for one boy. A picture was hung in the foyer as a reminder to all of how stupid some teens can be toward those who are different in anyway. The principal of the school was terminated for not doing something sooner.
Daniel’s life was ended to soon, a victim of a hate crime. For his part Jason was tried and sentence as an adult and received life in prison. His buddies all received lighter sentences, but would be in jail for a long time.
A memorial was held for Daniel and Bekah gave a speech to the crowd. Three quarters of the school showed up for the service. Each year since his death Bekah, Keenan and his family get together and remember his life.
*GLBTQ – Gay, Lesbian, Transgendered, Bisexual and Queer