Gay teen filmmaker Eric James Borges commits suicide one month after making 'It Gets Better' 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:
Watch "Invisible Creatures," a short film Borges produced last fall.