The BBC is reporting the apparent suicide of Jamel Myles.
Jamel Myles was nine years old, he lived in Denver in the US state of Colorado.
Jamel’s mother has told the local television station that Jamel had shared with her over the summer that he was gay. It seems that when Jamel went back to school and told his classmates that he was gay, he was subjected to four days of relentless homophobic bullying that has ended with Jamel taking his own life.
School officials have confirmed to the BBC that support and counselling services are being provided to students at the school to help them cope with the loss of Jamel.
It seems extraordinary that we live in a world where a nine-year-old boy was persecuted to his death because of his sexuality — particularly in a country where homosexuality is legal.
Jamel Myles didn’t do anything wrong. He told the world who he was. This is what we tell kids to do — to be themselves, to live their authentic lives, to find their truth. But the loss of Jamel does make you wonder — is that the right message to be giving to young people?
It makes you wonder, where did Jamel’s classmates learn homophobia? How could we have helped Jamel to be more resilient? Should we be trying to give kids a different road-map on how to embrace their sexuality — perhaps they should only reveal who they are once they’re confident that they’re not going to be subjected to hate-crimes?
Is Denver not a safe space for gay kids?
Jamel, I’m sorry. We’ve failed you.