Canadian comedian Rick Mercer used his weekly televised rant Tuesday night to passionately denounce gay bullying after the suicide of Ottawa teenager Jamie Hubley.
Hubley, 15, killed himself earlier this month after weeks of suicidal musings on his blog and social-media websites such as Twitter and Tumblr. His father, Ottawa city councilor Allan Hubley, said the boy had been treated cruelly at school because of his sexuality.
As Mercer says in the rant:
"He was gay alright. He was a great big goofy gay kid singing Lady Gaga on the Internet. And as an adult, you look at that and you go, you know what? That kid's going places. But for some reason, some kids, they looked at that and they attacked and now he's gone."
Hubley’s suicide made national headlines. Hundreds turned out for his funeral, bloggers rallied to challenge the status quo, and politicians such as Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and several other high-profile Conservative MPs contributed to a YouTube video in honour of the teen. In it, they tell kids "it gets better" — a reference to the It Gets Better campaign to help young people facing harassment.
But Mercer suggested "it gets better" is not enough and issued a direct challenge to gay people in public life to step up:
"It’s no longer good enough for us to tell kids who are different that it's going to get better. We have to make it better now," Mercer said. "So If you're gay and you're in public life, I’m sorry, you don't have to run around with a Pride flag and bore the hell out of everyone, but you can't be invisible. Not anymore."
Are you in crisis? Need help? Find links and numbers to 24-hour suicide crisis lines in your province here.
A FRIEND'S TRIBUTE
HUBLEY'S RENDITION OF COOLER THAN ME
With files from The Canadian Press