Students Speaking Out
Mark Indelicato sits down with Sarah, Jake, Claudia, Nicholas, Isaiah and James.
Dr. Phil welcomes Mark and his teen roundtable to the studio. "You played a character on Ugly Betty that became an iconic character for a lot of gay, lesbian, transgender teens. It meant a lot to those kids. You got a lot of letters," he says to Mark.
"I did. That's really what drove me to come and talk with these teens yesterday, was because of the letters that I did receive while working on Ugly Betty. I really just wanted to see in person and hear their stories in person," Mark replies.
[AD]Jake, 18, shares that he was a victim of anti-gay bullying. "I tried to commit suicide three times. There was a point in my life where my mom could not go to work because she was afraid that she'd come home and I'd be dead. There was talk of having me sent to a mental institution, just because the things that these kids were saying, the things that these kids were doing, were getting to me."
"That could have been you on that bridge," Dr. Phil muses.
"It almost was," Jake says. Then he explains what prevented him from winding up as just another statistic. "I had my family. I had a community."
Nicholas says he also had suicidal thoughts. "When I first came out, I had a situation where these kids decided to teach me a lesson, so I was pushed down some stairs," he recalls. "I ended up in the emergency room, and I was prescribed pain medication. It was at that point that I decided to end it somehow. What I did was I used the pain medication they gave me, and I thought it was symbolic, and I took it all."
[AD]"As much as it isn't surprising to me, I never thought that this kind of stuff could happen," Mark says. "Being a teenager, and being in high school, I know what it's like to feel like an outsider."
Dr. Phil expresses sadness at the teen's testimonies. "I want to say to all of y'all, on behalf of all the adults that seem to be running this society, I am so sorry," Dr. Phil says. "I'm so sorry that gay is a slur. What are we thinking? What the hell are we thinking here?"
If a friend or loved one is talking about or planning to take his or her life, reach out for help now. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-TALK (8255).