19-year old gay teen, Eric James Borges, who went by EricJames, succumbed to suicide yesterday. I’d like you, for his sake and memory, to watch this video, “Invisible Creatures,” first, before you continue reading.
EricJames Borges was 19. He was from Visalia, California, and a Supplemental instructor at the College of the Sequoias. This is his EricJames Borges’ Facebook page, titled, “Keep Writing, Keep Dreaming.”
Jim Reeves, who writes at Queer Landia, wrote this today:
Word began spreading late Wednesday among shocked and saddened friends and acquaintances. Not accepted by his birth family, EricJames was striking out on his own, trying to deal with his personal situation, but also wanting to help others.
I met EricJames recently, at the launching of My LGBT Plus, a youth oriented resource site, based in Fresno, California. A brief introduction left me with the impression of a fine young man, and I regret that I did not get to know him better.
Friends have begun planning a memorial, details will be updated here as they become available.
Our condolences to the family and friends of EricJames.
EricJames also was a volunteer at The Trevor Project, an amazing organization that works to prevent suicide among LGBTQ youth. He also made an It Gets Better video, which you can see below.
I spoke with Laura McGinnis, the Communications Director at The Trevor Project today. Calling his suicide a “tragedy,” understandably, she sounded sad and upset, and told me, repeatedly, that their first concern is for the friends and family of EricJames, as it should be.
McGinnis also sent me this statement:
We are deeply saddened to hear about the tragic death of EricJames Borges, and our hearts go out to his family and friends, and his community. EricJames was a dedicated, trained volunteer. Our main concern right now is that those affected by his death feel supported and can get the care they need. If you or someone you know needs support, please don’t hesitate to call the Trevor Lifeline at 866-488-7386.
At the beginning of this piece I asked you to watch EricJames’ video. If you did, you know he was in it, and I hope it touched your heart as it did mine. My thoughts and condolences, too, are with the friends and family of EricJames.
In his It Gets Better video, below, EricJames says he was bullied from the beginning of kindergarten, adding that he was daily physically and verbally assaulted for his perceived sexual orientation. He says his mother performed an exorcism in an attempt to “cure” him. And he says his parents kicked him out of his house.
“My name was not Eric, but faggot,” EricJames says, detailing his life.
I don’t know why EricJames succumbed to suicide, nor, probably, do you, though we can see and hear his words, and are forced to make assumptions.
Sadly, perhaps we never will know his full story. But the one thing we can do is remember him, his beautiful video, the thoughts and feelings he injected into it:
“Love is universal,” he wrote at the end.
“It has the strength to decimate the threshold of all prejudice, all inequity. Human relationships, and all those who come into our lives, have the ability to ultimately shape who we are. There is importance in loving each other the way each of us truly deserves,” EricJames said.
Remember him, remember his words, and let’s dedicate ourselves to decimating hatred, prejudice, and inequality.
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