Mother Tries To Perform Exorcism On Gay Son, He Eventually Kills Himself

This is EricJames Borges’s “It Gets Better” video posted last month, on December 10. In it he explained, among other things, that his mother tried to perform an exorcism on him after he came out of the closet.

Yesterday, on January 11, still only 19 years old, he killed himself. He was an intern with the Trevor Project which works to prevent suicides among LGBT youth. Jim Reeves reflects and reaches out to those at risk:

I met EricJames recently, at the launching of My LGBT Plus, a youth oriented resource site, based in Fresno, California. A brief introduction left me with the impression of a fine young man, and I regret that I did not get to know him better.

Friends have begun planning a memorial, details will be updated here as they become available.

Our condolences to the family and friends of EricJames.

If you are finding it difficult to deal with the issues of being LGBTQ, the Trevor Project is available, with peer counselors available to talk to you about problems you may be facing. Contact them at The Trevor Project, or call the toll-free hotline, at 866-488-7386. Help is available, and people are ready to listen.

Here was a short film EricJames made, called Invisible Creatures.

Your Thoughts?

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • Jafafa Hots

    It makes me feel kind of sick to my stomach to read the comments which, though sympathetic and heartfelt, mostly talk about how he’s in paradise now, how God loves him and he’s finally at peace, etc.

    No, he’s fucking dead, he’s not at peace, he’s not with a God, he’s not in paradise, he’s not in a better place, he’s not in an everlasting life.

    He’s fucking DEAD, his life is OVER, and religion is the primary cause of that. It does NOT get better by being fucking DEAD.

    I know all the many (majority of, actually) posters are not homophobes, not haters of any real sort probably, but when are people going to wake up that this BS is part of the fucking PROBLEM?

    The same bullshit they’re using to comfort THEMSELVES over his death (he is NOT comforted, he is dead…) is what was used to justify the bigotry he had to suffer.

    If it is to get better, it can only get better HERE, in REALITY. While you are alive.

    Fooling yourself into believing and then passing on mindless platitudes about life after death only serves to lessen the impact of the truth of this tragedy. Pretending he’s better off dead only undermines the just demand for equality and freedom from delusion-derived persecution HERE and NOW.

    He is gone, he is dead, he no longer exists, it did NOT get better for him, it WILL not get better for him, and saying it IS or will be is just fucking insulting and a moral cop-out.

    • CT

      that, what you said. agree/like/star

    • yup

      Exactly. The idea that he is now in paradise only supports people’s idea that by killing themselves they are going to not only end the suffering, but finally find acceptance. People need to be reminded how much their lives are worth…not told that they’ll be happier dead. It’s just another delusion to add to the camels back.

      Thank you Jafafa for bringing this nonsense to light.

  • Randomfactor

    California’s Central Valley must be a rough place to be gay. Or anything that stands out from the “norm.”

    A very backwards part of a fairly progressive state.

    Besides that, what Jafafa Hots said.

  • Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM

    This hurts my heart. :(

  • Sergio

    This is so sad hatred among the god lovers is beyond comprehension
    He and all lgbt humans deserve so much better

  • Raging Bee

    …mostly talk about how he’s in paradise now, how God loves him and he’s finally at peace, etc.

    He was gay, and then he committed suicide, but now they believe he’s in Heaven? So why did they have to “exorcise” him again? This pretty much proves their whole theology is pure bullshit, subject to change without notice as needed to make themselves feel good.

    He and all lgbt humans deserve so much better.

    We ALL deserve better. The people who got their heads filled with this hateful dysfunctional bloodthirsty nonsense deserved a better upbringing than they got. The kid who was driven to his death is the greatest victim here; but his parents, who followed the bigotry they learned from indifferent bigots, and who now have to face the consequences of that bigotry for the rest of their lives, are also victims here.

  • martalayton

    Damn, but this makes me sick to the stomach. To be told that part of who you were was not only aberrant, not only evil, but was downright Satanic… I am truly at a loss for words.

    I know this may be unpopular, Dan, but I am hoping the mother is comforted. Because to do something like that and then lose your son at least in part because of it… as awful as she was, that position must be tortuous. She can’t hurt her son anymore. But here’s hoping she is comforted and grows. More importantly, here’s hoping all the other people she might impact see what this did to her son and grow without having to put their children through this.

    But that poor man. I remember how my community reacted when I dealt with PTSD after some family deaths of my own. If he was still alive I’d want to buy him a coffee and just listen to him for an hour. Or knock his mother upside the head. Or both. :-S

  • martalayton

    Raging Bee, very few Christian denominations today view suicide as a sin of any kind. (Lots of individuals today have inconsistent attitudes, of course.) Certainly not the kind of sin that would condemn a person to hell. Homosexuality, too, are not the kind of thing that can’t be forgiven.

    I’m not advocating the belief system or anything, but as someone who’s suffered through those inconsistent attitudes, I feel a special duty to point out there’s nothing per se inconsistent with believing a person was gay/suicidal, even possessed, and believing they could be in heaven.

  • Anthony

    I live in the same town EricJames did. Visalia. The entire valley the town is in is filled with ignorance and bigotry, there is a church on nearly every corner and everyone I know who is gay, bisexual, or otherwise interesting feels like an outcast. I am an atheist and always feel like I have to shut up about it except around my closest, progressive friends. I am actually surprised this doesn’t happen more often around here. I only wish the message he stepped out to spread had resonated more strongly with him. To be quite honest, if you want things to get better and you live here, get the fuck out. I can’t be more clear on that.

  • Di Pearton

    Jafafa Hot is right on the money. Religion is mostly an excuse not to actively do something (yes DO something- not just pray!) about the state of injustices now.
    It is also what the moneyed classes use to keep their position above the rest of us, and men in control of women.

  • kraut

    “Our condolences to the family and friends of EricJames.”

    I guess just a “fuck you” to a mother who was so utterly ignorant.
    I cannot feel for a bitch like her – being a parent of two myself -
    who did not support her son but actively drove him to suicide.

    Sorry, I feel only revulsion at a bitch like her, no compassion.

  • WMDKitty

    He may have burned out early, but he burned brightly, and made a difference.

    *raises bong in salute*

    Here’s to EricJames, may his memory live on.

  • Prochoice

    Toxic relatives do not deserve any consolation.

  • CT

    Don’t know where you live but here in the heart of evangelical xtians, suicide or even the hint of suicide is still a sin and will cause the ones who are supposed to help the living more pain. Mainstream big denominations are likely different.

  • kraut

    “I know this may be unpopular, Dan, but I am hoping the mother is comforted. Because to do something like that and then lose your son at least in part because of it… as awful as she was, that position must be tortuous”

    I am sorry, but how is she different from those engaging in “honour kiliings”?
    Withdrawing her support (or that of the rest of the family) in a stressful situation like he was in is driving someone to suicide – she and the family did one thing only: kept their hands clean and justify their behaviour even stronger because he comitted the additional sin of suicide. Those shysters are know all shiny and justified in the eyes of their fucking jesus overlord.

  • j9000

    You’re right Kraut! His parents diserve neither sympathy nor comfort they are to blame for the death of their own child. Though I fear they will blame his “wickedness” and not theirs.

  • jay

    “I cannot feel for a bitch like her ”

    Calling her a bitch is an insult to mother dogs everywhere.


    Suicide is complicated. Why did someone who was of legal age to leave home, who had resources to fall back on, a person who knew of alternatives, chose that path? Perhaps for similar reasons that other people choose to. Private reasons, things that no one understands but them (I think this is something that most people blindly overlook). He had a private pain, his mother’s idiocy certainly did not help, but I am sure it is much more complicated than that.

  • martalayton

    To clarify what I said earlier:

    I don’t really think this is different from an honor killing. You have the objectification of a human being, with tragic and lethal consequences. But I would still pity people who commit honor killings. I pity anyone who does something so horrendous to someone they’re supposed to love, who they probably do love deep down (or at least think they do). My reasoning is simple. This mother has to live with the consequences of what she did forever. Suicide is painful enough for those left behind, without there being a legitimate reason why the survivor is to blame for the death. As much as I hate what she did (and I do hate it), I pity her pain as well. Because whatever she did, she’s still a human being who lost her son. The fact that it’s her own damned fault only makes it that much harder to bear up under.)

    Pity isn’t the kind of thing you can run out of. The reason I said I pity the mother rather than the son or anyone else involved is (assuming atheism is correct), the son doesn’t need pity anymore because he’s not living through it. Sadness over lost opportunity, of course, but there’s no longer a person to pity. That was my thought, anyway. I honestly wasn’t trying to be controversial or say I agreed with her; feeling pity in situations like this isn’t really a moral judgment for me.