There's a Japanese proverb that goes, “The nail that sticks up gets hammered down.” This seems to be truer in our schools than it is almost anywhere else in our society. Schools should not be something that have to be survived, places where our young people have to twist themselves out of shape to avoid standing out.
Jamie Hubley was a kid I would've liked and one my fifteen-year-old self would've liked—a young man who loved music and singing, who preferred figure skating to hockey and who tried to make his school a better, more accepting place by starting a rainbow club. One of Jamie's friends had this to say about him, "It's hard to describe him in one sentence. I couldn't even describe him in a novel. He was so colourful. My favourite thing about him was how he would put his problems aside for others -- put everybody else first and then worry about himself later."
Jamie was the only open gay guy at his Ottawa high school. Imagine the kind of guts that takes, especially at just fifteen. By all accounts, Jamie had guts, heart and talent in spades. The world needs more of all of these things and I'm sad for Jamie and sad for all of us who are left in a place that is a dimmer in his absence.
It's hard for me not to hate the bullies who in seventh grade tried to stuff batteries down Jamie's throat on the school bus because he was a figure skater, hard for me not to hate the kids who tore down his rainbow alliance posters and the people who called him "fag." But I know hate isn't the answer. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
None of us can afford to be bystanders. People's lives are at stake.
Meet Jamie Hubley. He was what one of his idols, Katy Perry, would've undoubtedly called a "firework". I won't let myself hate the people that made Jamie feel less than that but I will forever hate that we are without his light.