A Gay Suicide: Kim Ji-Hoo

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I often say living in San Francisco is akin to a living bubble. It’s among the many reasons I choose to live here. Acceptance is a part of its DNA. People are free to be who they are or who they choose to be.

I’m reminded of that every time I hear a story like this one. Kim Ji-Hoo, a young Korean actor who recently came out of the closet, was found dead in his apartment of an apparent suicide. The note found at the scene read “I’m lonely and in a difficult situation. Please cremate my body.”

Police and Kim’s mother said that he was a victim of public prejudice and discrimination; the announcement of his sexual orientation had taken a terrible toll on his personal life and his career.

Unfortunately this is hardly unique. Like the gay teen in Derby England who was goaded into jumping off a building just yesterday by an angry mob, or a gay Mormon back in 2000 who killed himself in the hopes it would change his church. There are many more of course, too numerous to do them justice here, the suicide rate thriving in a culture of intolerance and discrimination.

It goes without saying that it is terribly important never to forget these individuals and those who came before them, and unfortunately, those who will inevitably come after. Lives so filled with despair because society refused to accept them for who they were, they saw no recourse but to take their own lives.

And their sacrifice must not be in vain. EVERY SINGLE LIFE LOST must propel us forward in the fight for tolerance, acceptance, and equal rights.

As I sit in my office inside this bubble that is San Francisco, I’m not sure if that bubble is there to stop them from getting in, or from us getting out. I’m also reminded that the 10th anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s death was only yesterday. Wow. We have such long way to go…

For Kim Ji-Hoo and those who took the same path, I hope they are now in a better place.

Post by ILO on 10/09/08 at 1:47 am