Phillip Parker, Gay Tennessee Teen, Commits Suicide After Enduring Bullying (VIDEO)
A Tennessee teen's parents claim that constant anti-gay bullying led their son to take his own life.
As WSMV is reporting, parents and grandparents found 14-year-old Phillip Parker's body last Friday, along with a handwritten note in his trash can reading, "Please help me mom." Family members say they had previously reported concerns about their son's treatment to Gordonsville High School but to no avail.
"I should have knew something was wrong, but he seemed happy," Philip's mother Gena Parker told News Channel 5. "After he did what he did, we found out a lot that we didn't know and there is a lot of bullying that goes on at the school."
Added grandfather Paul Harris: "Because he was gay, he got mistreated physically, mentally by several people out there at the school, and I am very resentful as a result of it. After he did what he did, we found out a lot that we didn't know and there is a lot of bullying that goes on at the school."
The Tennessee Equality Project's Upper Cumberland Committee will hold a candlelight vigil in Cookeville on Thursday, honoring Parker as well as other bullying victims, including Jacob Rogers, another teen who committed suicide last month.
Sadly, Parker's case follows a spate of LGBT-related controversy in the state of Tennessee. In addition to Rogers, the so-called "Don't Say Gay" bill, which would effectively prevent public elementary and middle schools from teaching or distributing material on human sexuality that deals with homosexuality in any way, gained traction once again, while the state's senate Republicans have also proposed a change to the state's anti-bullying law to exempt condemnations of homosexuality based on religion.
Take a look at other recent bullying cases and related news below:
Eric James Borges
Just one month after filming an "It Gets Better" video in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth, California-based gay filmmaker Eric James Borges, 19, who worked as an intern with The Trevor Project and as a supplemental instructor at the College of the Sequoias, took his own life.
Jacob Rogers had been bullied at Cheatham County Central High School for the past four years, but at the start of his senior year, it had become so bad he dropped out of school before taking his own life. "He started coming home his senior year saying 'I don't want to go back. Everyone is so mean. They call me a faggot, they call me gay, a queer,'" friend Kaelynn Mooningham said.
Eighteen-year-old Jeffrey Fehr, who was known as a skilled athlete and previously served as the first male captain of his high school's cheerleading squad, hanged himself on New Year's Day in the front entrance of his family's Granite Bay home after enduring what his parents describe as a lifetime of anti-gay bullying.
The disturbing rash of LGBT teen suicides began receiving attention last fall. Among those who took their own life was Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old Rutgers University student who jumped off the George Washington Bridge between New Jersey and New York after his roommate allegedly filmed him having sex with another man.
Seth Walsh, a 13-year-old California teen, hung himself in September 2010 after reportedly being bullied because he was gay.
Raymond S. Chase
Gay Rhode Island-based student Raymond S. Chase, 19, became the fifth in 2010's disturbing spate of teen suicides last fall.
Obama's Anti-Bullying Video
In October 2010, President Obama released a video in support of LGBT youth who were struggling with being bullied.
In November 2010, Jim Swilley, the pastor of a Georgia megachurch, revealed to his congregation that he is gay. The 52-year-old father of four said the recent spate of teen suicides, particularly that of Clementi, prompted him to change his mind. "For some reason his situation was kind of the tipping point with me," Swilley told CNN's Don Lemon this weekend.
Daniel Radcliffe Honored
In June, "Harry Potter" actor Daniel Radcliffe was honored with the Trevor Project's "Hero" Award for his <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/02/26/daniel-radcliffe-speaks-o_n_478960.html" target="_hplink">ongoing suicide prevention efforts</a> for LGBT youth.
In September, Jamey Rodemeyer, a 14-year-old boy from Williamsville, N.Y., took his life Sunday after what his parents claim was years of bullying because of struggles with his sexuality, months after posting this "It Gets Better" clip on YouTube.
Lady Gaga's Dedication
After vowing to stop bullying and make it illegal, Lady Gaga -- a longtime advocate for LGBT causes -- dedicated a performance to Rodemeyer at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas. "I wrote this record about how your identity is really all you've got when you're in school," Gaga told the crowd. "So tonight, Jamey, I know you're up there looking at us, and you're not a victim. You're a lesson to all of us."
Bachmann Speaks Out
Days after being faced with a petition that urged her to publicly address gay bullying in her district, Rep. Michele Bachmann noted, "That's not a federal issue," according to CBS News. Previously, Tammy Aaberg, the mother of Justin Aaberg, a gay teen in the Anoka-Hennepin school district who committed suicide after having been bullied in area schools, delivered petitions to Bachmann's office asking her for support.
Jamie Hubley, a gay 15-year-old from Ottawa, Canada, committed suicide Oct. 14. In this clip, the teen performs Mike Posner's "Cooler Than Me."
Hubley Tribute Video
Friends created a poignant tribute video to Hubley, the Canadian 10th grader who committed suicide on Friday.