“He was a volunteer teaching suicide prevention, so he knew what counseling was available to him,” Laura McGuinnis, a spokeswoman for the Trevor Project, told the Post. “Unfortunately suicide is so complicated, so rooted in mental illness, that it is difficult to know why he made that decision. It is very, very sad.”
According to the Trevor Project, LGBT youths whose parents reject them for their sexuality are eight times more at risk for suicide than teens whose parents accept them.
In his video for “It Gets Better,” a project in which adults tell kids someday their lives will be brighter, Borges talked about the homophobia he experienced. He said his “extremist Christian” family called him “disgusting,” and kicked him out of the house in October. He recounted an instance in which he said his mother performed an exorcism to try to make him straight.
He also said that he dropped out of high school because of physical and public assaults by his peers. But Borges said it had gotten better for him. “You will love, be loved, and I love you...You are not alone,” he said.
Here is the video, in which Borges cites an instance in which he says he was called an offensive name:
Borges also made a short film called “Invisible Creatures,” in which he shows both gay and straight couples expressing their affection in similar ways.
“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,” Queer Landia writer Jim Reeves writes of Borges.
Other recent cases of gay teen suicides that drew wide attention: Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers University student, last year jumped off a bridge after his roommate allegedly videotaped him having sex with another man. Jamey Rodemeyer, a 14-year-old New York high school freshman, killed himself after his classmates bullied him. Rodemeyer had also made an “It Gets Better” video.
Researchers at the University of Arizona and New York University have now launched a nationwide study, hoping to identify causes for high risk among this group, and prevent suicides like Borges’ in the future.