After 11 years of bringing you local reporting, the team behind the Vancouver Observer has moved on to Canada's National Observer. You can follow Vancouver culture reporting over there from now on. Thank you for all your support over the years!

Gay teen filmmaker Eric James Borges commits suicide one month after making 'It Gets Better' video

See video

"My name was not Eric, but 'Faggot...I was stalked, spit on, ostracized, and physically assaulted,'" said 19-year-old filmmaker Eric James Borges, speaking in an It Gets Better video to support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth who suffer from bullying. 

His eyes filled with sadness in the video, he recounts how he was tormented by bullies from his earliest days in school, the attacks intensifying as the years went by. Despite his message urging gay youth not to give up, Borges took his own life just one month after filming the video. 

Borges said he was raised in an "extremist Christian household" in Visalia, California, and kicked out of the house shortly after he came out. He suffered severe anxiety and depression, but managed to complete high school early and worked as an intern at The Trevor Project, an organization working to prevent suicide among LGBTQ youth. 

Laura McGinnis, communications director at The Trevor Project, called Borges' death a "tragedy" and issued the following 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


"Don't ever for one second think that you're not a valuable and beautiful contribution to this world. It gets better. With love, from Eric James," Borges said to viewers shortly before the end of the video. 

The It Gets Better project was founded by Seattle-based sex columnist Dan Savage and his husband Terry Miller in 2011 in response to suicides by teens bullied because of their sexuality, or suspected sexual orientation.

Recent teen suicides prompted by homophobic bullying include:

Billy Lucas (age 15) 
Raymond Chase (age 19)
Tyler Clementi (age 18) 
Ashler Brown (age 13)
Seth Walsh (age 13)
Jamey Rodemeyer (age 14)
Jamie Hubley (age 15) 

Watch "Invisible Creatures," a short film Borges produced last fall.


More in World

Japanese teen girls with superpowers

Unlike the bagel head "trend" awhile back, this one's the real deal: Japanese high school girls (and guys) have an online trend of performing "Makankousappou" ( often tweeted as...

Finger pointing in Richmond Chinese signage debate not constructive

Language rules on signage would not resolve the tensions that underlined the petition presented to Richmond City Council last week.

Two years after Japan's tsunami, time stands still

"Two years after the tsunami: families lost, time stands still," reads the headline on Japan's Asahi newspaper this morning, as the country marks the anniversary of the 9.0 magnitude...
Speak up about this article on Facebook or Twitter. Do this by liking Vancouver Observer on Facebook or following us @Vanobserver on Twitter. We'd love to hear from you.