Every now and again we’re reminded at No More Lost of why we are here; as it says in our tag line, “To stop any more LGBT deaths because of bigotry, and remember those we have lost”. It’s a monumental aim, but the sentiment is the same regardless of how near or far we could ever possibly be to achieving it.
Today’s sad news comes from Gloucestershire, UK, where a 15 year old boy has died following rumours that he kissed another boy during a game of dare, days after returning from a school field trip. Tributes to the young man have poured out on a facebook group dedicated to his memory, which currently stands at 1,288 members.
Dominic Crouch fell to his death from the top of a 6 story building on May 18 last year, within days of returning from that school trip. His family have stated that he was not gay, but never the less he was deeply opposed to all forms of discrimination and hatred. An inquest into his death recorded a verdict of suicide.
The inquest found that “There is no evidence that Dominic was a desperate young man.”
The deputy coroner went on to add: “There is a suggestion that a game of spin-the-bottle was played. It is a game played by numerous young people across the country, especially when they go away on trips like these. It may have concluded in Dominic kissing a boy. But there wasn’t any evidence that it affected Dominic to the extent that he took his own life.”
In a press release, Dominic’s parents have made the following statement: “Dom was clearly upset by rumours he believed were being spread about him and we need to recognise that what may seem like a laugh to one young person can be deeply upsetting to another. We feel that schools need to be much more watchful to the spreading of rumours or gossip about their pupils and teachers need to intervene when pupils seem upset or distracted. Schools also need to know where their pupils are at all times when they are in their care. Dom was missing from school for nearly two hours before he died. And when an absence is noted it needs to be acted upon immediately. We heard at the inquest that the school protocol was not followed.”
Dominic’s death was not that of a gloomy and reclusive person. Dominic was in fact “a happy generally carefree boy who clearly felt deeply upset by rumours he believed were being spread about him.”, as expressed by his parents.
They continued: “On the evening of Tuesday 17 May he was laughing and joking as we watched his favourite TV programme. By the evening of 18 May he was dead from a combination of horrific injuries. Dom may well have acted impulsively but a combination of things that were done or not done helped lead to his final irrevocable decision.”
“Finally, can we repeat what we said at Dom’s funeral to young people – if you ever find yourselves in a similar position then talk to someone before you make a mistake from which you, your family and friends will never recover.”
As if the tragedy in itself were not enough, Dominic’s parents have also reported that “The single most upsetting thing to come from the inquest was to learn that our beloved son had texted 999 some 20 minutes before he died, but as the system was designed and intended only for registered deaf users, no emergency service was alerted.”
Dominic’s parents now have the uneviable task of rebuilding their shattered lives. Dominic’s family are fund raising for a childrens hospital in South Africa, and would appreciate people taking a look at the Just Giving page set up in his memory, which has so far raised over £3,000.
You can’t help but to take a moment’s pause here. This is a tragedy for so many reasons, and as we see so tragically demonstrated, heterosexual people can be victims of homophobic abuse too. The main issue of homophobic abuse is not especially that it’s homophobic, as clearly important as that is; it’s the fact that it’s a kind of abuse fuelled by fear, intolerance and hatred; abuse that any of us can fall victim to, whether deserved or not. Homophobia is not only damaging to gay people, but is damaging to straight people, families, communities and even the world at large.
We keep posting here at No More lost. We post information on current events, we deconstruct actions and statements fuelled by hatred, fear or bigotry to show them for just what they are, we post good news stories, and we try to inform people on how they can make a difference while also posting articles that aim to inform of how and what difference is currently being made even now as we sit here. Every time someone comments positively on an article here, that too is making a difference and showing those young and/or vulnerable people who make their way to this page that things are improving, that things can be different and that sometimes things really are different to the way they may sometimes seem. On this occasion, as happens from time to time, we find ourselves sadly reporting on and remembering one we have lost. ‘We’ aren’t just LGBT people. ‘We’re’ anybody that stands against the bigotry, hatred and intolerance that so many people face, straight or gay, as a result of the fear and intolerance of LGBT people… We seek to see to it that there are no more lost. Unfortunately, on this occasion, we have another shining light in this world, now extinguished, to be remembered.
The loss of a person deeply opposed to all forms of hatred and intolerance is the loss of one of the very kind of people this world needs: It’s a loss to the world.
We pass our sympathies and condolences to this young man’s friends and family, and note with sadness this should not have happened in this day and age for a variety of reasons. We hope that you will join us in offering your condolences too.