Eric James Borges, 19, a gay filmmaker and intern for The Trevor Project, the leading national organization providing crisis and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth, took his own life last week, the Huffington Post reports. This tragedy took place just one month after EricJames, as he's known by his friends, posted a video for the It Gets Better Project to show other gay teens that life does not begin and end with high school, and they will not always be bullied for their sexuality.
In his video, EricJames said he was raised in “an extremist Christian household,” and faced bullying throughout his academic life, including being “assaulted in a full classroom with a teacher present” in high school. His mother performed an exorcism on him in an attempt to “cure” him after which his chronic emotional problems, including anxiety and suicidal thoughts “spiked.” His parents officially kicked him out of the house two months prior to his making the “It Gets Better” video. The Washington Post reports that children who are rejected by their parents over their sexuality are eight times more at risk for suicide than are children whose parents accept them.
The Post quotes Trevor Project spokesperson Laura McGuinness as saying “He was a volunteer teaching suicide prevention, so he knew what counseling was available to him,” and “Unfortunately suicide is so complicated, so rooted in mental illness, that it is difficult to know why he made that decision. It is very, very sad.”
EricJames also made a video called “Invisible Creatures,” which shows a heterosexual couple and two homosexual couples, obviously in love, enjoying a beautiful sunset. With this video, EricJames hoped to teach us this: Love is universal. It has the strength to decimate the threshold of all prejudice, all inequity. Human relationships, and those who come into our lives have the ability to shape who we are. There is importance in loving each other the way each of us truly deserves.
Watch both videos created by EricJames here at Queer Landia.
Our hearts and thoughts go out to EricJames and his loved ones. Here's hoping we, as a society, will learn to look past our personal prejudices soon.