Here is a quote from Mary Griffith nine years after her son's death:
To all the Bobbys and Janes out there, I say these words to you, as I would to my own precious children:
Please don't give up hope in life, or in yourselves. You are very special to me, and I am working very hard to help make this life a better and safer place for you to live in.
I firmly believe - though I did not, back then - that my son Bobby's suicide was the end result of homophobia and ignorance with-in most Protestant and Catholic churches, and consequently within society, our public schools, our own family.
Bobby was not a drunk, nor did he use drugs. It's just that we could never accept him for who he was - a gay person.
We hoped God would heal him of being gay. According to God's word, as we were led to understand it, Bobby had to repent or God would damn him to hell and eternal punishment.
That I ever accepted - believed - such depravity of God toward my son or any human being has caused me much remorse and shame.
What a travesty of God's love, for children to grow up believing themselves to be evil, with only a slight inclination toward goodness, and that they will remain undeserving of God's love from birth to death.
Looking back, I realize how depraved it was to instill fals guilt in an innocent child's conscience, causing a distorted image of life, God, and self; leaving little if any felling of personal worth.
Had I viewed my son's life with a pure heart, I would hav recognized him as a tender spirit in God's eyes.
I would have seen a life that, for the most part, parallels the heterosexual life: being; learning; working; loving and caring for another human being; having someone to grow od with, someone to share the joys and sorrows of life with, someone to share God's wonderful world with.
We never thought of a gay person as an equal, a lovable and valuable part of God's creation. What a travesty of God's unconditional love!
Is it any wonder our young people give up on love, as Bobby did, and the hope of ever receiving the validation they deserve as beautiful human beings?
Is it any wonder sucide statistics are increasing among young people, and even more so among young gays and lesbians?
Bobby dropped out of high school in April 1981, two months before his graduation.
With the right help to fight the homophobia surrounding him, he might have found the hope and encouragment he needed to finish school.
As a result of my son's death, I have joined other caring people to try to make a pathway with knowledge and understanding within our public school system, a pathway that in time may be traveled with dignity and freedom from fear, for gay and lesbian students, and any student who is subjected to discrimination.
Promise me you will keep trying.
As Tina Turner says in her song, "Love and compassion, their day is coming; all esle are castles built in the air."
Bobby gave up on love. I hope you won't. You are always in my thoughts.
Walnut Creek, California