Father of suicide gay teen walking across US to spread bullying message

Jadin Bell, a 15-year-old from Oregon, hanged himself on an elementary school playground after homophobic bullying

Father of suicide gay teen walking across US to spread bullying message
22 April 2013

The father of a gay teen who hanged himself is walking across the United States to spread his message against bullying.

On 19 January, Joe Bell’s 15-year-old son Jadin was taken to Portland hospital in Oregon after he hanged himself on a playground at an elementary school.

The teen, who had gone to a counsellor to report homophobic bullying in the past, died two weeks later.

Bell has now resigned from his long-time job to walk across North America, which he says will take two years to walk 5,000 miles, at a rate of 15 to 25 miles a day.

‘I needed a break. I was ready, I was looking for something different,’ he told the La Grande Observer.

‘I just wish, however, that I was doing this under different circumstances.

Along the way, Bell will speak at schools and other venues to emphasize the importance of speaking up against bullying and for schools to deal with it properly when it does come up.

His planned route will take him through the southern states, including Texas, Arkansas and Lousiana, before moving north to New York and his final destination Delaware.

‘It will be a healing process for him,’ Bud Hill said, a friend and co-founder of Bell’s foundation Faces For Change.

Bell believes he could the first person to walk across the US with two artificial knees, and hopes his walk will also inspire people who have had joint replacement surgery.

In September 2010, the It Gets Better project launched in response to the number of gay teens taking their own life. Since then, it has inspired more than 50,000 videos which have been viewed over 50 million times.

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Sue Perkins, Boy George and others to attend anti-gay bullying event

Lily Allen, Michelle Dockery, and Charlie Condou are among the stars attending anti-gay bullying event hosted by Diversity Role Models
No thumbnail available
No thumbnail available

Anti-gay-marriage French mayor presides at gay son’s wedding: If he is happy like that – good for him

Despite being a vehement opponent of same-sex marriage, a French mayor said he did not hesitate when his gay son asked him to officiate at his wedding
No thumbnail available

Bisexual X Factor contestant Charlie on finding love

MK1 rapper talks about her long-term girlfriend and the feelings for the lesbian contestants
No thumbnail available

UK man guilty of blackmailing married men he had sex with in parks

English man tricked two married men for money  
No thumbnail available

Wisconsin candidate warns marriage equality will lead to incest

'We can just do away with that state law the same way we did away with sodomy laws'
No thumbnail available

MEPs slam Russia anti-gay laws

MEPs have spoken out against Russia's anti-gay laws as St. Petersburg perpares to pass a bill banning 'promotion of homosexuality'
No thumbnail available

Grammy winner Frank Ocean briefly joins celebrity shirtless selfie club

Openly gay singer posts pic displaying his abs and more then deletes it
No thumbnail available

One in four NFL players would refuse to shower with a gay teammate

In an anonymous survey, 86% said they would welcome a gay teammate but would feel less comfortable in the locker room
No thumbnail available

From outsider to underground star, the Divine journey

See an exclusive clip from the documentary uncovering the rise to fame of one of the world’s most famous drag queens, Divine