Gay Ottawa teen mourned at packed church
'Things are going to change for kids like him'
Holy Redeemer Roman Catholic Church in Ottawa was packed to twice its capacity for the funeral of 15-year-old Jamie Hubley, a gay teenager who committed suicide after being bullied.
The traditional funeral mass was led by Rev. Pierre Champoux, who told the crowd that depression was like "a cancer of the mind," and that it too could be terminal.
Family and friends who spoke during the service and outside afterwards praised Hubley's efforts to make life better for other gay teens.
Jamie's friend, Luke Spiro, spoke in his eulogy about Hubley's desire to create a club for gay teens at his high school, and outside the church his family and friends said his work would not go unfinished.
"I think Jamie would be happy to see that things are going to change for kids like him," said Michaela Dorans, a friend and classmate at A.Y.Jackson High School in Ottawa.
Groups that provide support to youth:
"I think people now understand how much this has affected everyone, everyone's come together to try and get over this," said Dorans. "He will help a lot of people and he has. And I don't think it's going to stop."
Hubley wrote on his suicide note in an online blog he was the only openly gay student in his school.
His father, Ottawa councillor Allan Hubley, said his son suffered from depression and was constantly bullied throughout elementary school and high school.
Jamie Hubley was a figure skater and came out in high school, which led to increased homophobic taunting, his father has said.
Reaction to Hubley's death reaches Parliament, other teens
Hubley's suicide was also mentioned at the conclusion of question period in the House of Commons Thursday.
Québec NDP MP Dany Morin asked the Conservatives what they were doing to address the problem of harassment and bullying against gay teenagers.
"I know I would speak for all members of the House when I offer our sincere condolences to the family of Jamie Hubley," said Ottawa West-Nepean MP John Baird.
"Bullying, homophobia, intolerance and incivility have no place in our schools. It underlies the real challenge of depression, mental health, especially among young people."
Hubley's death has struck a chord with many gay teenagers across Canada and even in the U.S. Many have posted tribute songs and videos online to honour Hubley.
A candlelight vigil was also held Thursday evening at the Human Rights Monument in honour of Hubley. Many of the people at the vigil were donning purple, the official colour of Spirit Day, which took place across North America Thursday. The day is meant to show support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual youth.
The family of Jamie Hubley wants all donations to be made to the Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa in honour of Jamie.