Kehlani, Laverne Cox and Ellen Page are
among the out celebrities paying tribute to a 9-year-old boy who took
his own life after he was bullied at school.
According to Jamel Myles' mother, Leia
Pierce, her son came out to him over the summer and told her that he
planned on coming out to his classmates.
“He went to school and said he was
gonna tell people he's gay because he's proud of himself,” Pierce
told local television station KDVR-TV.
Pierce found her son dead at their home
four days after he began school at Denver's Joe Shoemaker Elementary
Singer-songwriter Kehlani, who
has said she identifies as queer, said in a tweet that the
lessons of Myles' death were “clear.”
“jamel myles' confidence, pride, and
eagerness to share his new found freedom with is parents and then
classmates at 9 years old is beautiful and hope that is the memory
celebrated continuously. rest in peace little warrior. the lessons
here are clear,” Kehlani messaged.
Actress Laverne Cox (Orange is the
New Black) added that such bullying has to stop: “This has to
stop happening. It just must stop. Our bullying culture is killing
Ellen Page, who
in January announced she is married, said in a tweet that Myles'
story broke her heart.
“I have traveled around the country &
the world & have been witness 2 hope & joy but also deep pain
& horror. This needs to change. I'm sad & angry but trying
2 keep my her warm & open 2 continue 2 strive 2 help eradicate
this suffering [heart emoji],” Page said, referring to her
television travel series Gaycation.
In a video, Pierce said that she blamed
herself for her son's suicide.
“I feel responsible because as a
mother I should have felt his pain,” Pierce
said. “I should have [known] he was hurt, and I didn't. I
feel responsible because I didn't see the pain in my baby's eyes.”
fundraising campaign to raise a modest $2,000 to help cover
funeral costs has raised more than $5,000 in just two days.