by Charlie Hart
An alarming number of young people become depressed and take their own lives after being bullied just for being different
Nobody should have to feel weird, ashamed, rejected, excluded, isolated due to their sexual orientation or their gender expression, nor due to their disability or neurological differences, nor any other human characteristic, but sadly this happens all the time.
Young people, especially teenagers, can be particularly affected by lack of acceptance and support. An alarming number of young people become depressed and take their own lives after being bullied just for being different from typical.
My own son Iggy tragically ended his own life in April 2019, aged just fifteen. This is the heart-breaking fate shared by an increasing number of young people on the “double rainbow” of the autism spectrum and the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, whether they have evident mental health issues or not.
Losing Iggy was unexpected and heart-breaking. We knew Iggy had been struggling to cope with being bullied for being “weird” at school. He had become more withdrawn and started trying to blend into the background to avoid being noticed. At home, however, he had been excited and happy. He was making plans for his future, coming with me on long country walks to train for his DofE expedition, planning his work experience placement working with cars (his special interest), looking forward to the next Marvel movie. He was always joking and giggling. It is tragic and senseless that his life was cut short, with so much to live for and look forward to.
I never want to hear anybody told they should “act more normal” or “try to fit in” or “I would keep that one quiet”. My dream is for everybody to understand how and why we should celebrate and respect all the natural variations in the human condition, freeing everybody to be their authentic selves, with no need to mask or to look for a way out.
I want to spread the message “Different is OK” and educate others about just how common and normal it is to be both neurodivergent and LGBTQIA+. Also, to create safe spaces where young people on the double rainbow can offer mutual support to each other, moderated by ND and LGBTQIA+ “elders” like myself, so nobody needs to feel weird and alone.
AIM for the Rainbow are excited to launch Iggy’s Initiative, to do all we can to make a difference to young people on the double rainbow in Iggy’s memory.
7 thoughts on “Introduction”
It’s very sad to know of Iggy and others who suffer because of non acceptance on the double rainbow. As an elder who still feels one cannot be open to many about this , I feel there is much ground to be made.
This project is of such good value
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Iggy was my FANTASTIC grandson, and reading this was very difficult. Whenever we looked after him when very young he was my shadow, an honour and privilege I will never forget. It was an amazing relationship I know his other granddad enjoyed equally. None of our family’s lives are the same without him. I don’t know exactly what happened but I agree all bullying and similar behaviour must stop. Love to all.
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Anything I can do to promote this Charlie please let me know. We are just building our social media bank for launch I will make sure this is included.
What a read.
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Thanks Caroline, apologies I have only just seen this. I will be in touch soon!
I wish you all the best with your campaign. I am so sad to hear about Iggy. He was obviously a lovely young man, who should have had a great future. You and your family must be suffering terribly. Thank you for your courage in sharing your story and for all that you are doing to help other people.
Wow – I am so sorry to hear this story, and thank you for sharing it. Our eldest (Jamie, now 19) is on the ‘double rainbow’ you describe. The started identifying as non-binary aged 13 and we got an Autism diagnosis when they were 15. Like Iggy, they suffered nasty bullying because they ‘acted weird’, while hyper-sensitivity made crowded, noisy school corridoors a nightmare. They had mental health crises for several years, but are thankfully in a good place now and soon to have top surgery to fully assert their identity.
My deepest condolences go to you and everyone who loved Iggy, and I wish you every success in promoting this cause.