By Lucas Grindley
Friends say EricJames Borges, 19, killed himself Wednesday after having endured a traumatic coming-out experience.
Borges had worked for the Trevor Project, which described him as “a dedicated, trained volunteer” in its mission of preventing suicide among LGBT youth. And he’d taped an It Gets Better video that tells the story of how he “was raised in an extremist Christian household” and was kicked out of his parents’ home.
"My mother knew I was gay and performed an exorcism on me in an attempt to cure me," he said in his video. His family told him he was "disgusting" and "damned to hell."
Borges also described growing up bullied and eventually dropping out of high school. “I was stalked, spit on, ostracized, and physically assaulted,” he said. “My name was not Eric but faggot.”
"Back when I was in the closet, I never dreamed that I would be able to express my sexuality and have a normal relationship," he said in the It Gets Better video.
Borges taped a video project last year that seemed to bring his dream to life. The video, shared online, shows him and another boy embracing lovingly and kissing. In outtakes, a person behind the camera can be heard whispering “That’s beautiful” as passing cars honk in support.
Watch the final version of Borges’s video project below. “The underlining subtext of this video is love is universal,” Borges wrote about the short film. “It has the strength to decimate the threshold of all prejudice, all inequity. Human relationships, and those who come into our lives, have the ability to ultimately shape who we are. There is importance in loving each other the way each of us truly deserves.”
The Trevor Project reacted to the news of Borges death with sadness.
"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," a statement read. "Our main concern right now is that those affected by his death feel supported and can get the care they need."
Those needing support can contact the Trevor Lifeline at (866) 488-7386.