When I learned that the gay Oregon teenager who had hung himself from school playground equipment
had died this past Sunday, it left me with a heavy heart—navigating the litany of emotions that comes
from such a tragic event. According to a family friend, Jadin Bell had experienced intense bullying both in person and online for being gay.
In this time of sorrow, confusion, and pain, we offer heartfelt condolences and prayers to the family, friends, and community of La Grande. It hurts, the pain is real and palpable, but also a reiteration of the need for us to do more to ensure our youth have the support and resources to be safe and fully themselves.
As we negotiate the emotions that come with Jadin’s passing, we ask that you take the time to fear less, and love more. Take the time to check in, be fully present, hold your loved ones a little bit closer, and remember that you can, will, and are making a difference, simply by just being you.
Remember that you, and we, are not alone.
For more information about resources for LGBTQ youth visit www.pridefoundation.org/youmatter.
Jett Johnson is Pride Foundation’s Regional Development Organizer in Oregon. Email Jett.