Esther O'Reilly
Esther O’Reilly via Twitter

Esther O’Reilly writes: No, HuffPo: Dead Children Like Jamel Myles Are Not Gay Martyrs. The subtitle of this expressive masterpiece reads:

Jamel Myles’s blood is on his bullies’ hands, but it is not on their hands only. It is on the hands of every single tastemaker who is turning him into a martyr for their sexual cause celebre.

A “tastemaker” is someone who influences what is, or might become, fashionable. There is nothing fashionable about human sexuality. Moreover, sexuality is not something that anyone can influence. While most people are (or at least identify) as heterosexual and cisgender, it is an established scientific fact that both sexual orientation and gender are continuums (straight to gay and male to female). We are what we are.

It takes some time for O’Reilly to work up a full head of homophobic steam, However, just for starters the piece in the Huffington Post has not created a martyr. It is fairly straightforward non-editorial news reporting. About as close as it gets is this part:

A study released last December found that lesbian, gay, bisexual and questioning teens are more than three times as likely to attempt suicide as their heterosexual peers.

“My child died because of bullying. My baby killed himself,” Pierce told the Denver Post. “He didn’t deserve this. He wanted to make everybody happy even when he wasn’t. I want him back so bad.”

The study HuffPo is referring to was published to the Journal of the American Medical Association.

I wrote about Jamel Myles. In brief the nine-year-old came out to his mother who was supportive. He came out to his classmates and four days later he killed himself. My question pertains to how Jamel’s school personnel were so utterly oblivious. It is something that Ms. O’Reilly is not concerned with.

Eventually we get to the heart of this tirade:

It’s not just about the kids who told Jamel to kill himself, you see. To LGBT activists writ large, it’s about anyone who might give Jamel any response other than “Of course you’re gay! How could we ever doubt you? What sort of bigot would tell a child who can’t choose his own bedtime that he can’t choose his own sexual identity?”

According to her Twitter page, O’Reilly is pursuing an advanced degree in mathematics. I do not know if she has children or if she is married. But the above is just wrong. Aside from being wrong on the facts, she is putting words into the mouths of gay people; words that do not exist. Just from a quick Google search:

The best initial response from parents is to “give their child a hug, to say that you love them,” said Kathy Godwin, board vice president for the organization PFLAG, which supports the LGBT community and helps to educate parents, families and friends.

Take it seriously – don’t deny it…

Depending on the age of the child, some parents may be tempted to deny that their children have same-sex attractions or a same-sex orientation – or tempted to trivialise it, e.g., by saying something like ‘Oh, lots of people have crushes on people of the same sex at your age – it doesn’t necessarily mean anything. You might grow out of it.’

From Psychology Today one of the most sensible responses:

Let your child teach you. Know that your son or daughter came out to you, most probably because they love you and are seeking a more open, honest relationship. They may have something to teach you about LGBT people and also about acceptance and love. (Like societal ideas about sex, gender, and relationships are wrong, but more on that later.)

And so on. There are dozens of reasonably comparable comments from experts.

Referring to an English blogger:

Ingold’s core assumption that young children are capable of fully mature sexual self-expression is, of course, perniciously false. The truth is that, absent the vocabulary handed to them by our hyper-sexualized culture, young children can’t express themselves sexually, nor should they be able to.

No, that is not the truth and vocabulary is less relevant than context. Sexual orientation develops by about age two. Some children become aware of their sexual orientation as early as age six (which is often the age at which a child develops their first crush).

People like O’Reilly seem to think that being supportive means to promote the child’s stated sexual orientation which will make the gay kid, ⋯ gayer? This is based on the false assumption that sexual orientation can be influenced by others. From where could Ms. O’Reilly possibly get such an idea?

All that is necessary is for the child to know that his parents have the same love for him whether he is gay, straight or something in between. That is how it should be.

As is typical with leftist arguments, when the premises are not perniciously false, they are trivially true. It is, for example, trivially true that children can have interests and personality traits that deviate from peers of their own gender, just as it is trivially true that they can be ruthlessly bullied by those peers as a consequence.

Oh, so this is about leftists? Pernicious leftists too. Good to know. Despite myths and misconceptions, there is no evidence that being gay is caused by early childhood experiences, parenting styles, or the way someone is raised. There is nothing trivial about sexuality. It is an important part of who we are.

Some children experience changes in their sexuality. The point is this: Whatever they are they deserve the full love and support of their parents. Studies of LGBT young adults (BJ Cohler, 2000) demonstrate that most of them recognized their sexual orientation during early adolescence, with awareness of same-sex erotic attraction usually predating puberty.

The point is that we have every reason to believe that when Jamel told his mother he is gay he knew what that meant. The benefits of assuming the child is telling the truth far outweigh any benefit derived from denying or casting doubt about their sexuality.

There is also nothing trivial about bullying. Yes, I realize that she is referring to trivial truths but the effect is the same. The best advice for parents is to accept as true and accurate what their child tells them about their sexuality.

O’Reilly is utterly convinced that sexuality is based upon influences:

The teachers in your school and celebrities on your TV screen are here to help you discover that you were Born This Way. Thus our culture’s self-anointed mouthpieces prove themselves to have all the nuance, imagination, and insight into human nature of a playground bully. Oh, the irony.

What does any of that nonsense have to do with a dead child? Is any of that based on science or, more likely, religious catechism?

From there O’Reilly indulges in an anti-trans rant attacking Jazz and pre-adolescent gender nonconforming children (like she really knows what she is talking about). She refers to Jazz with male pronouns which tells you a great deal about this individual.


This is the culture in which Myles was swimming. Is it any surprise that he told his mother he wanted to grow up and “become a YouTube star”? As gay libertarian pundit Chad Felix Greene observed on Twitter apropos of Jamel’s story, 9-year-old kids do not just up and announce they are gay and “proud” out of thin air.

Greene is in no position to form those judgments which are contrary to the research. Greene (with no applicable experience or training) has benefited from the work of those so-called activists (he is married) but attempts to undermine many of the basic facts upon which marriage equality is based. His expertise is in self-promotion (and self-loathing). Many nine-year-olds have a full grasp of their sexuality.

The following comes directly from something like the Courage Ministry:

Jamel’s blood is on his bullies’ hands, but they’re not the only ones who contributed to this tragedy. Some blame should be cast on every single media outlet, every single “gay icon” with a platform who is standing on Jamel’s dead body and turning him into a martyr for their sexual cause celebre. These are the people encouraging prepubescent kids to adopt an adult identity and sexuality they can know essentially nothing about, then glamorizing their deaths. They are the ones communicating that lack of instant acceptance is a horrifying, even un-surmountable event. These are clearly dangerous messages to send impressionable kids.

What this imbecile is saying is that others are at fault for Jamel being gay and then having the audacity to come out. She is claiming that people are gay because they were “encouraged” to be gay. If Jamel was not influenced to be gay he would not have been bullied. It is not only intellectually dishonest; it is intellectual vomit. Aside from not comporting with the research there is another flaw: People like me.

I grew up in a strictly heterosexual household without any homosexual influences. Sexuality was never discussed and there were no gay characters on television (unless you count the closeted Liberace). As a kid I would have done anything not to be gay. To make matters worse I had to control myself (and did) at an all-boys boarding school where homosexuality meant expulsion. I was surrounded by heterosexuality. Needless to say, none of it worked.

My regrets are limited to not being able to come out and still have a successful career. Being in the closed took a huge toll on my psyche. As for Esther O’Reilly, I fervently hope that she never has an LGBT child.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.