Radar Staff Writer
The parents of Jamey Rodemeyer, the Buffalo, New York teenager who killed himself last week after enduring constant harassment from schoolyard bullies over his sexuality, appeared on the Today Show Tuesday to discuss the events that have followed their son's tragic suicide, and the message he wanted to leave behind.
Jamey took his own life at 14 on September 18, just months after posting a widely-viewed “It Gets Better” video in which he seemed to be comfortable in his own skin, preaching a message of anti-bullying and tolerance synonymous with his favorite musical artist, Lady Gaga.
"We thought it would be great for her to be with all her friends and she was texting that she was having a great time, then all of a sudden, a Lady Gaga song came on and they call started chanting for Jamey, all his friends and whatever," Tracey said. ”And then the bullies that put him into this situation started chanting 'You're better off dead, we're glad you're dead,' and things like that and my daughter came home all upset.
"It was supposed to be a time for her to grieve and have fun with her friends," Tracey said, "and it turned into bullying even after he's gone."
Tim said he thinks that politicians, religious institutions and the like who come with an anti-gay message enable a climate of intolerance, whether they realize it or not.
"People have different views on things, and if you believe in homosexuality is right or wrong, that's your right as an American -- but it's no reason to bully someone, and hate them, and make them feel worthless.
Tracey said that Jamey went out of his way to hide his pain at home, telling his parents everything at school was alright, even when it wasn’t.
Asked what message he could send to parents who might have a child in Jamey's situation, Tim said parents should "badger their kids and make them talk or get them the help they need.
"Get them to talk. we try to get Jamey to talk to us constantly, and he just kept it in. he just put up a brave face but just don't let it go, if you know they've been bullied in the past, keep on them, go to the school, do whatever you have to, to make sure that they're getting the help they need.
Tracey said Jamey will "forever be in our hearts."
Both Lady Gaga and Ricky Martin have taken public stands in memory of Jamey, calling for anti-bullying laws to be enacted in his memory.
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