CONTENT WARNING for homophobic slurs.
Sydney singer/songwriter Jack Colwell struggled, like many of us did, when he heard about the death of Year 7 student Tyrone Unsworth.
Unsworth died by suicide at the age of 13 last week – he was being relentlessly bullied and tormented at school because of his sexuality.
His devastated mother Amanda told the Courier Mail,
“Tyrone ended up being gay and a lot of people started picking on him.
He was a really feminine male, he loved fashion, he loved make-up and the boys always picked on him, calling him gay-boy, f*ggot, fairy; it was a constant thing from Year 5.
I feel like these people who were bullying Tyrone are the cause of why he is not here any more. They pushed him to the edge.”
Colwell, who grappled with his homosexuality when he was young himself, had written a song a few months ago which delved into his distress over the rising anti-Safe Schools campaign.
“I wrote this song a few months ago, and it came to me very quickly. I was feeling very angry about the campaign against Safe Schools that was gathering steam. It is also a song connects my past to my present.
It describes my personal experience of homophobia, and living in fear, but as an adult I have learnt to reclaim that fear, and reclaim the words used to torture me.”
The track, ‘No Mercy‘, speaks exactly of the hounding pressure that comes from homophobic bullying, and the feelings of alienation, hatred, and sadness.
When Colwell heard about the death of 13-year-old Tyrone, he decided to release the track in his honour.
100% of the proceeds from the track will be donated to QLife, a project of the National LGBTI Health Alliance. They provide LGBTQIA-specialist counselling and referral for people of all ages, on 1800 184 527 or by webchat at qlife.org.au.
Colwell said that currently, the politics of fighting for LGBTQIA equality means many of us in the community are being ‘moved around like chess pieces’:
“After a year that has seen a sustained campaign against the Safe Schools program, the suicide of a 13-year-old boy who wanted nothing more than to grow up to be a vet or a fashion designer, and our government moving LGBTQIA people around as though we’re chess pieces, I felt I had to release this song urgently to let young people know that we’re listening to them, and that we hear them and see them.
Almost every time I perform ‘No Mercy‘ live, someone will approach me after the show to single out the song and let me know that it was positive for them to hear their experience being vocalised.”
You can listen to the track below:
And buy it here, on the singer/songwriter’s Bandcamp.
“I hope this song can empower young queer people who may be struggling.”
You don’t ever have to feel like you’re doing this on your own; promise. If you’d like to chat to someone, you can call National LGBTI Health Alliance’s hotline Qlife on 1800 184 527 or by webchat at qlife.org.au. If it’s an emergency, don’t hesitate to call 000.