Manchester teenager's suicide linked to gay taunts

Publish Date: 09/10/2008

blackboard with homophobia on itWidespread media reports have linked the suicide of Manchester teenager, Lee Simpson, to homophobic bullying. Lee, 18, from Blackley in Manchester, revealed he was gay in a letter to his family and friends.

After coming out, Lee was subjected to a string of anonymous and abusive phone calls about his sexuality. Months later, in March of this year, Lee was found hanged at his home.

Lee's father, John Simpson, believes that the homophobic taunts that Lee received became unbearable, to the point where he couldn't go on and took his own life. Mr Simpson did manage to intercept most of the calls, but some did get through to Lee. He told the Manchester Evening News: "I think they (the calls) pushed him over the edge."

Lee Simpson was studying childcare at Mancat and was open about his sexuality. His brother David described how Lee bravely stood up to the bullies: "he gave as good as he got". However, in his suicide note, Lee revealed: "I cannot do it anymore."

After Lee's inquest, Manchester coroner, Nigel Meadows, mentioned that the death of Lee's mother four years ago could have played a part in his death, and said: "it's possible that he could have been struggling with some inner turmoil."

For the full story go to:www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk.

For more information on tackling homophobic bullying go to: www.bullying.co.uk and
www.kidscape.org.uk