19-Year-Old Gay College Student Raymond Chase Commits Suicide

Raymond Chase, a 19-year-old openly gay sophomore studying culinary arts at Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island, committed suicide on Wednesday by hanging himself in his dormitory.

This is a thing that happened and it was reported on Perez Hilton, who we categorically loathe but were visiting his website because we just wrote a thing about how we categorically loathe Perez Hilton, and so we thought we’d get the post started and by the time we got started there would be other news sources with other information that we could use and link to like a proper news reporting outfit.

But that was two hours ago and now it’s 3:30 AM and still it’s just Perez fucking Hilton and we’re in that weird time of the night where the news-cycle is sleeping and we’re awake and here we find ourselves instead on R.I.P Raymond Chase on Facebook, and we’re crying because he’s so funny and cool in these videos — dancing and rapping and goofing around in the hallways with his friends. And we’re sad because it’s late and he’s a stranger, but he’s beautiful and also dead and there are other people in the videos who are still living; people who loved him and now must go on living without him even though they have feelings like “my tear flow has now turned into a blood flow cuz im living with a broken heart.” They must go on living with thoughts like “I love you Ray, I wish you would have just talked to one of us!” and “he said I was one of the flowers in his life, but he will ALWAYS be the rose in my heart” and “you were the funniest loving person ever” and “if we’re lucky enough in this life God blesses us with an instance of meeting someone like you.”

“We mourn and grieve but inside know that you’re in a better place where nobody is a lame or hater. You are loved for you baby boy. Who you are inside and out.”

+
In the three suicides that happened this week, the dedicated Facebook pages quickly became public mourning places for strangers and friends alike. Inner circles withdrew as the media noise increased. Similar details started getting repeated and few new details have emerged. That hasn’t happened yet to Raymond Chase. Maybe it’s better that we don’t look at all, but we don’t know the “rules” of facebook-journalism and so we’re not sure, so we’re not linking there and we’re asking you if you think it’s okay, too. But the thing is that this part — before the noise, before the media descends — is the closest you’ll get to the actual human person and the heart of the matter beneath the social issues: the human being and the people who loved him. Right now we can still see him clearly and we know the world is less without him in it.

Raymond Chase was a person who liked Harry Potter and Rugrats and was a member of the popular facebook group “I cant spell “bananas” without singing hollaback girl.He’s not number five in a week of suicides, he’s a unique special person with friends and family who are devastated by his loss. He’s a gay college kid who sure seems happy in these videos and pictures but not on September 29th, or maybe he’d never been happy and something even worse happened or something bad had always happened and on that day he knew that he couldn’t do it anymore.

His facebook bio is short and simple: “I like to laugh, I like to have fun, and I’m gay.”


If you or anyone you know is considering suicide or even just seems a little sad there are resources. Every hospital has a Psych ER in addition to a regular ER and you can go there! I’ve been! No shame! Just go there. Just talk to someone. Just make somebody talk to someone. Just don’t die. Go to The Trevor Project for more information. Don’t die. We need you.

Avatar of Riese

Riese is the 32-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York City, and now lives in The Bay Area. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are!

Riese has written 1729 articles for us.

64 Comments

  1. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    This breaks my heart. I’m at a loss for words.

    The suicide prevention hotline for LGBTQ youth is 886-488-7386.

    Also, HRC (Human Rights Campaign) is petitioning to have the Secretary of Education Arne Duncan include gender identity and sexual orientation in anti-bullying programs. It takes like 5 seconds to fill out. http://bit.ly/b3YXiL

  2. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    How many must be taken in a week? This breaks my already fragile heart. I thank g-d that I’m a strong person but my resolve is starting to crack. How does someone get out of a closet that double dead-bolted from the outside? By a wider culture that wants to read me as straight because I have a boyfriend. And a lesbian community who for the most part want to stay away from me because of said boy or the possibility of me going back to him if we ended it so I could find a female partner. I’d love to walk down the street hand and hand with a girl and yell out Yes world I’m a big fat Queer and I’m damn proud of it. But there’s no girl holding my hand there’s only me a girl stuck in a society not ready to accept someone spending the rest of their life with two partners of opposite genders. The times when my mind spirals back are when i wish I was just straight or gay not both forced to accept the reality that I’ll never be happy with a single partner no matter that persons gender. What a girl locked in a closet by society to do?

      • Thumb up 0

        Please log in to vote

        You shouldn’t worry unless you believe there is someone to worry about. Me? I’m at my wits end. I’ve already been hetro-normalized the friends and fam might not believe my statements. Because there’s never been a girl to speak of and I’ve been with my boyfriend for 2years and 3months. But alas I want to be true to my self and and i know too many people know/see me as the girl with a boyfriend and un till there’s a girl I’ll still be seen as a straight girl.

        • Thumb up 0

          Please log in to vote

          I’m the same – no girl to speak of, been with the boyfriend for 4 years, hetero-normalised especially since in many situations I can’t really reveal anything about being queer. I’m sorry to hear it’s causing you distress.

    • Thumb up 0

      Please log in to vote

      Raymond is my cousin and I know he did not do this. Someone else did this to him. “MURDER” He was a strong young man who knew who he was since a little kid. He spoke with his mom that morning as usual. Said he was on his way to class. No way. Think about it 5 kids in 3 weeks you dont think this is odd. My cousin did not do this. This is not denial our whole family feels the same way and we are going to RI after the funeral for answers.

  3. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    btw it was a rhetorical question. must we repeat the names? Every time the names are repeated my heart breaks a bit more.
    (for some reason my comment got cut off) sorry for the sort of double post

    • Thumb up 0

      Please log in to vote

      The risk is never too strong, especially if they’re already struggling with suicidal thoughts. Be there for her, and get in touch with someone like the Befrienders or Samaritans if you need help – they provide free counselling for those in risk of suicide.

      • Thumb up 0

        Please log in to vote

        Thanks, those are really good suggestions.

        She’s 17 and bipolar, and has been in and out of the hospital a lot. It’s hard to gauge with her sometimes the level of intervention she needs from 400 miles away.

        I just found out that she’s not in talk therapy right now because my dysfunctional mother can’t afford the $15 co-pay. The free services are very welcome, thanks.

        It’s all so overwhelming still.

        • Thumb up 0

          Please log in to vote

          Speaking from experience, it’s terrifying to know that there’s something like that going on with a sister (or brother), and being far away. As someone who’s been dealing with that over the summer, albeit in a situation where my sibling’s more connected to available resources, I’m thinking of you.

          IDK if you’re in the US, but I just thought about the fact that 1-800-SUICIDE might be able to connect you to some other local free resources in her area. There’s only so much you can do for her, but that might help assuage that utterly squashing feeling of helplessness.

        • Thumb up 0

          Please log in to vote

          Because shes bipolar she may need to go on medication if her mood shifts a lot, with bipolar there is a greater risk for suicide. If money is a concern try researching for free services, I am sorry I can be of more help because I am not in your area D:. If you lived in Canada I would say go see a psychiatrist, I still say that is the best solution but if it is impossible due to money.. find other free counseling services and make sure to get plenty of exercise and sunlight as it improves mood.

          My cousin committed suicide.. It feels awful and all you do is think of what you could of done to help.. So I feel like if u have anything that u feel like u are too embarrassed/uncomfortable to say/ to try and help with do it anyway cuz its better than them dead.

        • Thumb up 0

          Please log in to vote

          If she is bipolar she needs to get into treatment and talk to somebody — the $15 is moer than worth it! Suicidal thoughts is a common symptom of bipolar disorder and untreated bipolar often leads to attempted or actual suicide — sometimes people need medication too.

          This week we’ve been looking a lot at kids for whom we’re not sure if there was any mental illness at work or if it was more about their circumstances in life. It’s hard to know. But when it comes to mental illness… you gotta get on that shit.

  4. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    I really just wanted life to be different. I wanted the world to better. I wanted everything to be fair. I wanted right and wrong to be black and white so that everyone could learn and everyone could change.

    Sometimes, like today, I feel stupid for even hoping.

    • Thumb up 0

      Please log in to vote

      This is seriously breaking my heart, but the optimistic in me won’t quit quite yet. Is it a sign of times changing that we’re seeing all of these news stories? Because there’s no doubt that gay youth have been committing suicide for forever, it’s already been happening and we know it. But possibly the difference is that we’re seeing their stories in the news. Instead of families covering up the reasons for suicide, or news sources turning away, people are actually paying attention. And maybe all this focus will help to change something. Maybe? Please?

      Thinking of this any other way would put me in a very dark place. I want to hug everyone. Raymond Chase was a beautiful person.

  5. Pingback: 6th Gay Suicide This Month

    • Thumb up 0

      Please log in to vote

      Jee that sounds like I’m about to kill myself.

      I just meant, that in days of feeling low it’s always nice to see this little message, even if you know it already – hearing people say it makes it different and no one understands the importance of that. People take each other for granted and it’s really important to communicate =)

  6. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    Fuck! This shouldn’t be real, not in 2010! I didn’t know the guy but I know a lot of fuckers that could make someone like him think about suicide. If I had the power, I’d trade 100 of those motherfuckers with 1 Raymond Chase. Wait, 100? Thousands and thousands of thoses fuckers!!

  7. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    Thanks for sharing this. I’m physically drained and numb from the events of these last two weeks. Eddie Longs homo hatred and dizzying hypocrisy (and his ilk) is connected to the despair our live with, and sometimes kill themselves over.

    If any good can come of all this it is that we will address American society LGBT inequality, church-sanctioned homophobia and the trickle down effect it has on our youth.

    Again, thanks for sharing this ….

  8. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    My heart feels heavy enough to break through the 24 floors beneath my feet. As a mother this news knocks the wind out of me every time.

    I want these kids to live. I want them to want to live. I want them to hear us, to feel us, to let us be for however long is needed whatever it is that has failed them so badly, and for too long.

    The world is full of unimaginably monstrous things, it’s full of rape and murder and war and famine, it’s full of meanness and cruelty, but there is wonder, truth and good, and every time we lose someone so bright and full of life, the wonder and good have less of a fighting chance against the madness. The truth dims.

    We need you as much as you need us. Don’t go.

  9. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    My GOD READING THIS HAS HIT HOME FOR ME CAUSE I GOT OUT OF THE ARMY BECAUSE I’M GAY AND IT FEELS LIKE EVERYONE IS LOOKING DOWN ON ME EVEN MY DOCTORS AT THE VA… I DID WANT TO KILL MYSELF BUT I’M GOING TO FIND SOME HELP THANKS FOR POSTING.. I LOVE YALL: REMEMBER I’M JUST AS CLOSE AS YOUR VERY NEXT HEARTBEAT!

  10. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    BUT BUT… September is over! I woke up! I thought we were done with this! :(

    and jason – thank YOU for posting. I’m so glad you are going to find some help — remember you are NOT alone and life is worth living! – even if it doesn’t always feel that way

  11. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    What a fucking mess.
    Every day it’s one more. One more nauseatingly naive AAG (dead God, don’t get me started), and one more gay who can’t stand it anymore. It’s horrifying.
    Don’t these people see? Gays are AWESOME. We’re not some alien race or some radical extremist group trying to brainwash the world. It’s who we are. We love who we love, and whoever says that’s wrong is a fucking monster.
    It’s not 1955 anymore, people. The world won’t turn away when things like this happen. It won’t be ignored.
    On this earth, what do we have left if not equality, acceptance and the right to love whomever we choose? Nothing. A barren, ugly landscape filled with nothing but hatred and untimely, preventable deaths.
    Good riddance.

  12. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    Jason …

    Way back when, I made an unsuccessful attempt at suicide. Fortunately I woke up in the hospital to my moms tearful face and we cried together and she made me swear I would never do it again.

    That moment in time made me realize how much I was loved, how devastated she would have been had I succeeded, and that LOVE is infinitely stronger than hate. It was a blessing for me; one that all these kids lately never got a chance to learn.

    Search out the love and ignore the HATE.

  13. Pingback: It Gets Better

  14. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    this “suicide,” this radical self-erasure, this self-killing, this self-annihilation on behalf of heteroPower further implodes my sense of Self as a Queer man of Color. The scene of “suicide” is not a scene of a radical willing to escape, to die; rather, it is a scene of a hetero-desire to eliminate heterosexuality’s Other/s in order to persist intact, to eliminate those (anti)bodies that dare speak and move, to articulate that which heterosexuality negates, disavows…to persist through “no homo” discursive spasms…We Queers are anti-bodies, we supposedly reside in the symbolic, in fantasy, in pure discourse, in excesses, beyond The Body that the regime of heteronormativity has captured as its object of mastery…we are anti-bodies that dare deterritorialize sexually gendered norms that constitute The Body, we threaten the existence of The Body that is heterosexual…We dare enact and live the power of the erotic, to feel, to enjoy our carnality, we persist in actualizing, in enfleshing our bodies against heteronormativity’s persistence in dispossessing us of our bodies… We are anti-bodies.
    Heterosexuality must contain, must eliminate its shadow (anti)bodies that dare bear and live, embody the ‘truth’ of that which it negates, disavows, and relegates to “no homo!” utterances… “suicide” is a misnomer in this context of young queer death…this is systematic killing of queer (anti)bodies via the Self, a radical turn against one’s Self… “Suicide” is a scene of self-elimination on behalf of heteroPower. Raymond Chase didn’t commit “suicide”, he was murdered.

    • Thumb up 0

      Please log in to vote

      sexualized forms of violence is enacted on many people. peer reviewed studies demonstrate that perpetrators of sexualized violence is enacted on boys, young and adult men, by self-identified heterosexuals, not GAY ADULTS as such. I’m a survivor of sexualized violence. My heterosexual, married uncle raped me multiple times when I was 12 years old. I have given many public speeches on my experience, and you have no idea how many straight and gay men have been raped by their heterosexual family relatives.

      The question should be: Why don’t we hear about sexualized violence against males by other males in general? Why is the discourse on sexualized violence always tracked along the bodies of kids and women, and never along the bodies of men? But…you’re not interested in posing critical questions about the multiple forms of violence that are enacted upon bodies CUZ you’re a homophobic bigot.

    • Thumb up 0

      Please log in to vote

      There are gay criminals, black criminals, straight criminals, white, yellow, you name it… Should we pay less attention to this guy’s suicide because he was black and gay? I think that it doesn’t matter. All I see here is a young, very young human being that decided to stop living for a reason. If the reason is because he’s gay and because of other’s judgement, harassment, looks and/or comments, I thinks it’s a shame that he didn’t wait a bit longer to find out that after some time, it gets better. This is very important to understand. Hey, you, if you’re young, a teenager, a young adult, trust me, this isn’t it! There’s a lot more to come! And you know what? Somewhen, sooner than you may think, you will see other things, meet other persons and your reality will change. Ask around you, everybody will tell you this! I remember when I was in school, some things were SOOO important!!! And when I think about those things now, I smile and wonder how I could think like that, how and why some things and some people could impress me so much! A lot of people that I thought were so cool back then, when I see them today, some are just “regular” people, nobodies, some even became “losers”! Trust me, it will get better! Just give time some time and you will feel just like I do!

      “Unnatural”, to come back to your post, what you say is correct, some kids still get raped today by homosexual men and that’s terrible! Should we only pay attention to gay kids who commit suicide? No, of course not! Should we ignore them and only pay attention to kids raped by homosexuals? No. I think that it doesn’t matter if someone is raped by a heterosexual or a homosexual, what’s important is that someone was raped and that’s WRONG! It really doesn’t matter if you’re gay or straight, it doesn’t matter if the guy that raped someone is gay or straight, NO ONE should ever be raped, by no one! Period! And no, we shouldn’t pay only or more attention to a gay victim but to all victims. I think that in this case, there are so many comments because a lot of people are shocked because even in 2010, there are still people, mainly young people that feel so bad about being gay that hey consider or even commit suicide. It’s not just about the suicide but everything around that led to that decision. It’s not just about that one kid, the 19 years old Raymond Chase, but I think it’s about us, some of us still think that being gay is wrong or a disease or an evil “act” or… WTF?! My message is already too long, so I won’t start to try to convince homophobic persons that being gay is NOT wrong.
      Like I just said, my message is already too long, so I’ll stop here. I’d just like to add that, in my opinion, in 2010, the human being reached a point where he should be smart enough to understand that being gay is not wrong, just like not being white or not being from your country isn’t wrong, either. Fuck, we’ve managed to put satellites orbiting all around our planet, to build cars, planes and rockets that fly to the Moon and even further into space, we’ve done so many great things, so how come we still can’t reach deep inside our hearts to see that at the end, what’s important is to love each other and it doesn’t fucking matter if someone else is different. Fucking embrace it instead of rejecting it!

  15. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    This is sickening… a friend of mine on Livejournal posted this link and I had to come over. This has got to stop, too many young lives have been ended over hatred. It got to a friend and I so much that we’re working on a project to make sure our youth are heard and have somewhere to turn not just for videos but for blog posts (in case you don’t want to put your face out there for the world to see). We especially want stories from our POC LGBTQ youth, bi and trans folks.

    Come over to We Got Your Back project (http://wegotyourbackproject.wordpress.com) for more information.

  16. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    It hurts to read that another teen has chosen to take their life when it has only started. My heart goes out to those who dare to be different by taking the courage to be true to themselves.

  17. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    As one of Ray’s friends who saw on a daily basis it hurts to see his image splashed on all types of blogs so soon after his passing. I do not know all the particulars with the other young gentlemen but Ray was not bullied for being gay. If anything he helped show a lot of straight men that you can have a gay friend. I have heard many times from ignorant straight guys here at JWU about how they hated gay people but they loved Ray. He was the light in all of our eyes. I feel blessed to have know him on a deeper level but you didn’t have to be in his circle for him to care about you or try to ease your burdens. He was a pokemon playing , Nicki Minaj singing,garbage disposal appetite having , dancing fool who happened to be one of the best friends I ever had. ( By the way he was also gay) His sexuality should be a footnote in his story he is not a statistic he’s a person at peace.

  18. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    This is my cousin.. and it didn’t have to happen this way…
    If any-one is ever feeling sad or down about something in any type of way they need to go and talk to some-one… Don’t take your life… it’s too precious.. and you’ll leave many behind that do not want to live without you… Many loved ones and friends… Ray was definitely loved by all he never made or had any enemies.. he just always wanted to laugh and joke around with everyone.. making every-one who came in contact with him laugh uncontrollably.. EVERYDAY!!.. and eat up everything.. even though he never gained weight… I love you baby boy.. N i will always miss you… I’ll look to the stars everynight cause i know you’ll be the brightest one shining. RIOT CLASS.. 84.97.. love you.. R.I.P.

  19. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    SIX kids!?! Six. Six. What in fucking hell? This makes me sad and frustrated and upset and discouraged. It also makes me angry, indignant, and outraged. Plus about a million other complicated feelings. Sometimes I think change is possible and other times I think all the assholes in the world are going to continue fucking everything up. These six kids are only the ones the media has reported on. How many others are out there? Why is this even a problem? Who in the hell decided it was okay to ruin other peoples’ lives, and what are we supposed to do to change that? It’s not okay.

    People know that, right?

    It. Is. Not. Okay.

  20. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    I am a 71 y o Australian gay man who was so so bullied and beaten at school that I tried to kill myself.
    As I’ve grown older and somewhat cynical I thought I had no more emotions left, until this week when the news of the recent suicides reached me. Now I am physically and emotionally distraught that homophobia is driving so many young people to such a deep level of despair that death seems the only way out of their recurring nightmare.
    I agree with the sentiment that Raymond is not number ‘whatever’. He was a person; to his family, friends and associates he was a special person. He was one of us, a human being, just like you and me.
    Stop the fear.
    Stop the hate.
    Stop the homophobia.

  21. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    Regardless of sexuality, this should infuriate anyone. Have a heart and some empathy and you understand how messed up this world is. I guess we just have to try to empathize but not let it get us too down and rather try to be the change we wish to see. I’m trying to keep hope that one day, even if beyond our lifetimes, there will be equality and love for all, regardless of any differences they possess. Our similarities are much greater than our differences- we just choose to ignore them at times. Any positive difference we can make today will better the lives of those tomorrow. I really love you guys, each and every one of you.

  22. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    I stumbled upon this article. The writing is absolutely magnificent. Also the message is beyond words. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.
    I’ll be posting the link for your website and this article everywhere. what an eye-opening response.

  23. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    “Don’t die. We need you.”

    I didn’t. It was just recently, and I didn’t want to live anymore if it was going to be like this,and I was so sad and so scared I couldn’t stop crying. I went and talked to somebody, I reached out, I knew I couldn’t wreck that many people’s lives, I stayed. AS was a big part of the support system that got me through those days. You do so much more than you know.

    Now it’s only a little while later but the world is a different place. I’m not gonna go. I’m so sorry that these amazing people did.

  24. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    My heart is broken, I can’t fathom the cruelty in this world. Innocent lives are being taken because of the ignorance of others. This needs to stop. Stop cutting down the flowers of our world because YOU can’t see the sun.

Contribute to the conversation...

You must be logged in to post a comment.