RALEIGH, N.C. — An 11-year-old boy clings to life and may have suffered brain damage following a suicide attempt last month.
Family members say Michael Morones was repeatedly bullied at school and called gay because he was a fan of the children’s television cartoon “My Little Pony.”
Michael’s mother, Tiffany Morones-Suttle, told WTVD-TV in Raleigh that her son was teased mercilessly over his love for the show, that although it has a predominantly female audience, also draws male enthusiasts of all ages who are referred to as “bronies.”
His stepfather, Shannon Suttle, said, “Michael was upset because the kids were calling him gay for liking a girls’ TV show. His mom and I, well, we told him that it didn’t matter what other people think. It only matters what he thinks.”
Michael’s favorite “My Little Pony” character is Pinkie Pie, a hyper excitable pony.
His parent say that Michael, who has ADHD and rarely sits still for a minute, feels a connection to bouncy Pinkie Pie.
“He’s the kid that never walks. He dances everywhere,” his mother says. “He’s so full of energy. He’s always on the move.”
“A few weeks ago, Michael told us he wanted to take the bus straight home after school, instead of going to the boys and girls club with the other kids,” Suttle told Carrie Goldman, a Chicago-based freelance writer and author. “And at the time, we thought it was because he wanted a chance to have the TV to himself for a couple hours before his brothers came home.“
Michael has a 13-year-old brother and a 5-year-old brother, and since the family has only one television, the boys often to argue over what they watch.
“But now,” Suttle said quietly, “I wonder about why he wanted to come home instead of being with the other kids. He said to us that the other kids were telling him he was gay for loving Pinkie Pie and they were trying to make him feel ashamed for being gay. We said that we didn’t care if he was gay or straight; he was our son and we would love him.”
Now, Michael continues to cling to life and his parents say his prognosis is uncertain.
“We won’t know for months how much is going to heal,” his mother said. “It could even be years before we find out what potential for healing he has.”
Fans of the show have donated money to help pay his medical bills, and there is a “Michael Morones Recovery Fund” on gofundme.com, which has raised over $50,000 as of Wednesday evening.
Members of the show’s cast have also recorded personal messages for Michael’s parents to play for him.