Young people commit suicide sometimes. And often, there’s no knowing what happened.
Sometimes, he or she makes it clear that they could not face being gay in their current circumstances before deciding to bring life to a swift end.
But it seems like most of the time, at the funeral, or really at any time, that their sexuality is the thing no one wants to talk about. Seems a bit insensitive to mention it, doesn’t it? A bit dangerous to bring up something so dark at a time that’s already dark enough? Because if someone actually were to say something, it might sound like:
“Well, he was gay, so I can understand. What a vile feeling, being gay. It’s a shame he hadn’t been freed from that struggle. Maybe he wouldn’t have, you know, —”
Or perhaps, a different tone entirely, “I always thought he was gay. Was he out? Do you think he killed himself because he couldn’t handle it? I don’t know, were his parents anti-gay?”
Maybe, “Well, I heard he had come out about a year ago, but that he was still really depressed because things hadn’t gotten better as fast as he thought they would.”
At the risk of offending a bunch of people, it’s about time we talk about it. No, not talk about it here. It’s time we talk about it out there, when it happens. It’s about time we admit that we didn’t do enough, that they didn’t do enough. That they caused it. And you can hear someone already, “Oh, don’t say that.” They’ll follow it up with one of these: ”you don’t know if that’s what was going on,” or “even if that did have something to do with it, no sense in talking about it now. He’s already gone,” or “you have no right to add to the pain the family and friends are already feeling.”
Is is too speculative? Maybe? Is it harsh? Painful?
Absolutely. And it should be. I’m tired of how much we’re willing to sweep under the rug. There’s no perfectly tactful way to do it, really. There’s no avoiding feelings getting hurt. But someone’s dead. Someone who didn’t deserve to die. But is death the issue? No! The problem is that someone did not deserve to bear that immeasurable shame, guilt, and fear from the time they were too young to even understand why they were feeling alone, abnormal, like they were a mistake.