The LGBT community mourns the loss of another teen due to suicide.
Campus police at Oakland University in Rochester, MI, police report the body of 19-year-old Corey Jackson, of Warren, MI, was found in a wooded area of the campus. The Oakland County medical examiner confirmed his death was a suicide by hanging.
Corey’s family said he recently revealed to them that he was gay — they believe Corey was bullied over his sexual orientation, and that the bullying led him to commit suicide. [WDIV-TV]
“I believe (it happened) because he recently realized he was a homosexual and he was getting pressured at school by his peers because he told his family and nothing changed here,” said grandmother Carolyn Evans.
“Corey was the most loving, giving, funny person. He had the most wonderful personality. He had cousins from ages 14 down to 2 and he never said a bad word about anybody. When he went to school and he realized his sexual preference had changed, he changed completely. He withdrew.”
Jackson’s Aunt, Kim Jones, said Corey revealed to her he was having a difficult time.
“He said ‘I don’t know what’s wrong. Ever since I came out people are treating me different. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know where I belong,” Jones said.
The suicide occurred Tuesday night as activists across the nation were preparing for a Facebook driven day of activism to counter a wave of suicides of young gay people across the country that have been tied to bullying.
Wednesday was dubbed “Spirit Day” by the Facebook plans, and was designed to draw attention to the suicides by encouraging people to wear purple.
Police said that so far there is no indication bullying was a factor in Jackson’s suicide.
“We have no indication that bullying-type activity was occurring,” said Sam Lucido, campus police chief. “We have talked with two people — one who was a student — who were close to Corey Jackson and they have said that was not an issue.”
Melissa Pope, director of the university’s Gender and Sexuality Center said the issue points to larger, hidden epidemic of suicides among LGBT youth. [Oakland Press]
“In recent years, we’ve labeled the cause as bullying,” Pope said. “But the root cause goes deeper –- it goes to the very core of our society that discriminates against the LGBT community on all levels, including the denial of basic human rights that are supposed to belong to every person.”
Students and campus staff were notified of Corey’s death at around 7 p.m. Tuesday. Campus police are continuing to investigate the incident.
Students plan to gather later tonight for a candlelight vigil.