You know…

It truly baffles me to think about unjustly cruel so many people can be sometimes. And I’m not talking about having a difference of opinion or simply refusing to be supportive of something that you don’t agree with or don’t understand…but to actively, even AGGRESSIVELY, attack it like a bunch of bloodthirsty hyenas for NO goddamn reason!!! How heartless are you? It makes me want to CRY when I think about how fucking heartless people are!

No remorse.

No shame.

No sense of empathy or humanity at all. And I wish them no peace for the rest of their natural lives on this Earth. Those people sicken me. And whatever you’ve got coming to you…just know that you deserve it. You nightmarish pieces of absolute subhuman filth. FUCK YOU!!!

And FUCK everybody who stands beside you! I really mean that.

For Pride month, I wanted to bring attention to a very special 7th grader by the name of Eli Fritchley. I wish his life could be celebrated under different circumstances…but I’m not going to pretend that I’m optimistic about such a thing being possible anymore. This world has become a cesspool of narcissists and control freaks, and the damage that they’ve done to us all is a rusty screwdriver through the hearts of every single one of us who remembers how to give a shit about somebody other than ourselves. It’s telling of our times. It really is.

Only 12 years old…this poor kid had to get up every morning and go to school, only to deal with constant bullying and disgusting comments from his peers…while everybody else stood aside and did NOTHING to help him. Even after his parents talked to the Principal and the school teachers to make it stop. But it’s not the school that’s at fault. It’s the fact that we have lost our humanity when it comes to interacting with one another. When it comes to simply caring about people. What the fuck is your actual malfunction? Seriously.

It was in Bedford County, Tennessee, that Eli went to middle school (With five older brothers). Even at that young age, he knew that he was different from other boys. Eli came out and let people know that he was gay. Proud to be gay, in fact. At twelve! Do you have any idea how much I wish I could have had the stones to come out to my parents and friends at that age? How different my life could have been if only that could have been seen as something that was ‘ok’ by the people in my immediate circle? That’s phenomenal! I can’t even fathom it.

Eli let everyone know that he was gay without feeling as though it was something to be hidden away like some dirty little secret, and I applaud him for that. Because I know that it’s not always that easy for us, depending on where we live, the communities we interact with, or the cultural biases of those around us. But Eli was an angel. And angels have nothing to be ashamed of. 🙁

He was a simple, fun loving, totally ‘normal’, boy who liked pink. He painted his fingernails as a part of his self expression. He played the trombone in his school’s marching band and loved Spongebob Squarepants. He was beautiful. In every way that a proud young boy could be beautiful.

But…this fucking CANCER in our society had to move in and destroy everything that it’s never been taught to understand. Idiotic politics and religious dogma that have NO place in the suffering and torture of another individual…despite what anybody tells you. It’s SICK! You become a vile and loathsome piece of shit for using your beliefs as an excuse to fucking tear somebody apart. You have no soul at all. At **ALL**!!! And you’d better pray that God is a myth…because, if not…there is a special place in Hell for each and every one of you for what you’ve done!

Just around Thanksgiving of last year…Eli Fritchley took his own life, his lifeless body being discovered by his mother in his bedroom right after the holiday, simply because a bunch of insecure, hate-filled, creeps couldn’t just leave him alone. And that’s all any of us really want, isn’t it? You don’t have to agree with me. You don’t have to support me. You certainly don’t have to date me or make out with me during our lunch period. Just leave me the fuck alone! Go be pissed off some place else. Nobody cares what you think or what you have to say about it. Just leave me alone. You know?

All this poor boy wanted was to be loved and accepted and not have to be tortured or made fun of by his classmates who had nothing better to do than pick on somebody who just so happened to be a little bit different from them. It’s so unfair.

Eli’s mother, Debbie Fritchley, said that the other kids would often tell him that, “Because he didn’t really have a religion and that he said he was gay, that he was going to go to Hell.” Is that what we’re teaching our kids now? To say and actually believe such nonsense? They couldn’t just leave him alone to be himself? If that’s what they needed to feel good about themselves, then congratulations. You’re a sick fucking sociopath. I hope you’re happy.

On the day that he was pushed over the edge, Eli was actually supposed to skip school in order to go to a doctor’s appointment. An appointment that his mother had to cancel at the last minute and reschedule because of problems with her car. She later said that sending him to school that day was the worst mistake of her life. Even though she knew of the bullying and did her best to protect him from it, she claims that Eli was always able to laugh it off as if it didn’t really bother him so much. When being battered with rude and unnecessary comments about him going to Hell…she said that Eli would answer with, “Well, Lil Nas X is down there, it can’t be all that bad.” And that’s the thing about this kind of internal pain and harassment…it doesn’t always show itself like you think it would. Especially when it’s such a constant burden on a young kid’s shoulders.

“I don’t think it was ever physical…” Eli’s father says. “…They were just words. But words hurt. They really hurt.”

And then…Eli decided that he couldn’t take it anymore. And without warning…he was gone. Just…gone.

“We all failed him. We all failed him. It’s as simple as that.” His mother said, utterly heartbroken and devastated at the loss of her child. And even though I wasn’t there, I feel like I failed him too. We all have as a society. Because we allow this to go on and on and on without changing a goddamn thing. And my heart hurts for him and his family. It really does.

Speaking as someone who lost a very close friend of mine to suicide, and as someone who has had those exact same thoughts myself…I know that you have to be in a really dark place in your life for those thoughts to win over your will to live. Trust me…I know. I remember. And he didn’t deserve that. No one does. Certainly not at the tender age of twelve.

And yet…we have these demagogues in the church who are constantly trying to push this hatred out into rest of the world. These fake politicians who use Pride month to attack and demonize young kids like Eli for the sake of cheers and a few cheesy punchlines on stage. Parents who are more obsessed with controlling their kids instead of raising them to be themselves and reach their full potential on their own. The wheel goes around and around and around…and nobody does anything. Nobody SAYS anything!

Well…this is me, saying something.

When I began writing my stories, it was supposed to HELP kids like this find some sort of solace and peace in simply being who they are. To know that they’re not alone and that love and joy and all of the other miracles of life that the so called ‘normal’ boys and girls take for granted. And after all of these years…people still can’t just leave us alone. 🙁

Because of them…there will be no Pride for Eli. He’ll never have his first kiss. Never find his first boyfriend. Never graduate high school. Never pursue whatever passions and purposes and interests that he had for his future. Our angel is gone. And for what? Seriously…for what?

We need to do better. Do you hear me? We can’t tolerate this anymore. There is NO reason for us to accept this kind of daily assault on the fragile heart of a child. Speak up! Provide guidance and comfort to those who need it. Let people know that you love them for who they are. And that ‘who they are’ is just as normal and as perfect as everybody else. PLEASE don’t allow this to go on! Tell your friends, or your family, or your co-workers, or your classmates, that it’s not ok for them to make these kind of fucked up statements in your presence. Not to you or to anybody.

I know that it can be scary…going up against the herd of bigots and assholes that may make up a large amount of the people in your community. But if you don’t…who will? How many more angels have to die before we all take this seriously? How many people will have to grow up hiding who they are, suffering from an entire childhood of trauma, before we stand up and say something? This isn’t a difference of opinion anymore. These sick sons of bitches are DELIBERATELY going out there and bullying these poor kids to DEATH…and they have nobody willing to stand up and fight for them!

I’m willing. I’m here. And I will fight for them. Even if I end up being the only one.

Because I just can’t live knowing that this is going on right now with someone else in the world. I can’t.

Take a stand…and help me make the world slightly better when I leave it than it was when I was born into it. K?

To my younger Shackers…don’t give up. Talk to me. Talk to others around you. Or find yourselves another outlet to reach out to. Something like The Trevor Project or any of the other gay teen help sites. It’ll be ok. And there are people out there who are willing to help. Just remember…

You’re never alone.

R.I.P. – Eli Fritchley

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