Gay teen revealed bullying before suicide

Tyrone Unsworth.
Tyrone Unsworth.

A gay teenager broke down in tears the day before his suicide, telling a friend he was afraid of returning to school.

Gypsie-Lee Edwards Kennard told the ABC's 7.30 program she was on a fishing trip with Tyrone Unsworth when he revealed the extent of the homophobic taunts he was facing from other students.

"He was an absolute mess, crying his eyes out and telling me everyone wants him dead and I said, 'Tyrone, what do you mean everyone wants you dead?'," Ms Edwards Kennard told 7.30.

"He said, 'The kids at school keep telling me to go kill myself', and I was obviously gobsmacked.

"[The other students] did call him nasty names, like faggot and fairy.

"He loved girly things, he's chosen dresses for me and his mum to wear, he's asked to use makeup.

"Kids obviously thought because he's like that he could be a target for their bullying."

Tyrone Unsworth loved to dress up. Supplied: Gypsie-Lee Edwards Kennard
Tyrone Unsworth loved to dress up. Supplied: Gypsie-Lee Edwards Kennard

Ms Edwards Kennard said she pleaded with him to seek help from his teachers at Brisbane's Aspley State High School.

"I said, 'You need to speak to someone [at the school]' and he said, 'They don't care'," she said.

"He just felt like no-one wanted him around and he didn't belong.

"It's really hard to hear that from a child that's only 13 years old."

Principal Jacquita Miller declined to be interviewed by 7.30, but in a statement Education Queensland said:

"Tyrone was absent from school following the incident and the school attempted to make contact with the family regularly," the statement said.

"The school has the best interests of the family and school community at heart in handling this matter."

Call for Safe Schools in Queensland schools

On Sunday hundreds of people gathered in Brisbane to remember Tyrone, with people asked to dress in bright colours, something he loved.

Speakers at the rally called for the controversial Safe Schools program to be made mandatory to prevent bullying of queer students.

"I had a gay daughter who, in her mid-20s, committed suicide," William, a man in the crowd, told 7.30.

"She was bullied and vilified from the beginning of school because she was different.

"It shouldn't happen, we should have Safe Schools in all schools."

More on this at ABC News

If you or anyone you know needs help:

Lifeline on 13 11 14
Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978
Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467
Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36
Headspace on 1800 650 890

Topics:  bullying editors picks gay safe schools

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