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Jay 'Corey' Jones, Gay Minnesota Teen, Commits Suicide After Allegedly Being Bullied

Posted: 05/11/2012 1:58 pm Updated: 05/11/2012 2:05 pm

Bullying

Friends and family are mourning the loss of a Minnesota teen who jumped to his death last Sunday after allegedly being tormented by classmates for being gay.

As the Rochester Post-Bulletin is reporting, 17-year-old Jay 'Corey' Jones of Rochester, Minn. had suffered severe depression after being bullied for a number of years. Jones had known he was gay from a young age, according to his father, Jay Strader. Police officials say Jones jumped from a pedestrian bridge near Century High School on May 6.

"He said all of his life they always picked on him," Strader is quoted as saying. "He'd still try to keep his head up at school, but then he'd come home and be really sad about it. He just got really depressed about it because the guys weren't accepting him."

Jones was an active member of Century's gay-straight alliance and even featured a pro-gay cover image on his Facebook page, even though Strader told Minnesota Public Radio that the teasing was a constant struggle for his son. "I wanted him to let me know what was going on with him. I didn't get a chance to get that," Strader added. "I didn't get a chance to find out what was going on inside his head."

After what has been a truly landmark week for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights, Jones' friends were forced to console themselves with their memories. "We all loved him because he was just funny, and an amazing person -- like the best person you could ever know," Rachel Born told ABC 6 News. She and her sister, Tia, are reportedly planning a car wash as part of a fundraising effort for Jones' family.

As for the bullying her friend endured, Born adds, "It just sucks that we had to lose somebody because of people's words, and they didn't realize that words hurt more than anything else."

Though Jones' funeral will take place in Chicago, Strader told the Alberta Lea Tribune that he wanted to do "something big" in Rochester to honor his son. "I want everyone to have on pink shirts and remember the Corey that tried to get the rights,” Strader said. "When I saw him in pink, I really liked him in pink, and he was really happy. I just told him that pink looked good on him."

Take a look at other LGBT teen suicides and bullying cases below:

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  • Jack Reese

    Though details of the 17-year-old Reese's April suicide are scarce, his boyfriend Alex Smith spoke frankly about the repeated bullying the teen had experienced at school. As one official is quoted as telling Ogden OUTreach off the record: "It happens here about once a week, but officially, you know, it doesn't happen here."

  • Kenneth Weishuhn jr.

    The 14-year-old took his own life after friends and family say that classmates sent him death threats on his cell phone and made him the subject of a Facebook hate group. "People that were originally his friends, they kind of turned on him," sister Kayla Weishuhn, a sophomore, is quoted as saying. "A lot of people, they either joined in or they were too scared to say anything."

  • Eric James Borges

    In January, just one month after filming an "It Gets Better" video in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth, 19-year-old Eric James Borges took his own life. Borges, who went by EricJames among friends, worked as an intern with The Trevor Project, and as a supplemental instructor at the College of the Sequoias, according to Queer Landia blogger Jim Reeves.

  • Jacob Rogers

    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.

  • Jeffrey Fehr

    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.

  • Tyler Clementi

    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

    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.

  • Pastor's Confession

    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.

  • Jamey Rodemeyer

    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

    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.

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Filed by Curtis M. Wong  |