Monday, December 06, 2010

Bruce McDonald: Death of a Gay Blogger

I still can't believe it. Bruce McDonald of Canuck Attitude has died. They say he took his own life. And I'm so sad.

I started blogging five years ago after reading his blog. When I told him he was my mentor, he used to call me grasshopper. He was funny like that.

I never met him, but he always encouraged me. I shared his anger and his pain.

I was hunted, and I was alone. So terribly, desperately, alone. When you're thrown against the lockers and getting punched out and your home room teacher is 50 feet away chatting with the Principal and Vice Principal and you know they can see what's going on and they turn a blind eye, you know you're alone in this world. It was pretty clear to me by the time I was 14 that I either had to find a new way to get along in this world because the situation I was in wasn't repairable, or I had to die.

I didn't want to die, but I had reached a point where there didn't seem to be another option. I've been held at knife point, I've been stabbed, I've had a gun held to my head, I don't know if it was loaded or not, and I've literally been hung by my ankles from a highway overpass as I stared into the seemingly uncaring windshields passing underneath knowing that not one of them would report anything.

As I told him in the comments of that post, I didn't understand why it took him 28 years to come out. But after that I did.

Now I can't understand why he took his own life. But maybe I should. Because how can you hurt a a decent, gentle, gay man like Bruce for half his life, and not expect the damage to last forever?

Which is why the no surrender gay flag he designed, will fly in my sidebar as long as this blog lives. And why he will always be my inspiration.

And that's it, I can't write anything more about this tragedy tonight. I'm too sad. There will be other nights when I can and will.

Tonight I just want to say that our progressive blogging family has lost a gentle gay giant. That he was my mentor. That I will always be his blogging grasshopper.

And that he wasn't just sad and angry, he was warm, wonderfully rude, and very funny. And he had a favourite song.

Rest in peace Brucie my brother.

This one's for you... 


  1. I am heartsick tonight about Bruce. Thank you for helping us to remember him.

  2. Dude! We have to meet. Bruce was one of my best friends. I know he wanted to meet you. We were talking about it just two weeks ago.

    I have so much to say about Brucie but it has to wait. It has been one of the toughest nights in a long time for me as it is for many.

  3. I knew him mainly by his funny, snarky comments on others' blogs. He seemed so upbeat. But man, if I had to face the kind of bullying he did, I probably wouldn't still be here, either. I was horribly ostracized as a kid, but it was nothing compared to what you quoted. I had the good fortune not to actually be gay, only to be sometimes called that by a bunch of fucking idiots who used it as a catch-all insult, never having met the real McCoy.

    May Bruce find the peace that he looked for. And may his next time on Earth be better...may we have made it more bully-free for the Bruces yet to be.

  4. Unfortunately, I did not know him. I wish I did.

    Still, your post introduced him to me. Such a tragic life. I did not know about the flag he had designed. It is now posted on my blog as well. We're all in this world together, aren't we? And life is so short. Such a waste of precious moments by those who have done him harm. May he rest in peace.

  5. I had not heard this, and am incredibly sad over it. I too followed his blog and admired Bruce.

    May he find peace.

  6. Anonymous8:32 AM

    Oh my...This is shocking news. I enjoyed meeting Bruce in the Blog world and had the pleasure of meeting him in real life. He was an awesome man and he will be surely missed.

    BC Waterboy...

  7. When ever I received a comment from Bruce, I knew I had written an honest post.

    This is so sad.

  8. I've spent the morning re-reading many months of Bruce's blog entries. He was a tireless champion of gay rights and the right to be free of religion. He was justifiably angry. But he was always so funny and had an incredible gentle streak.

    I also looked at his professional blog where he featured some of his creative work. Very talented man.

  9. I've been away & I only learned today that Bruce is gone. I am in shock. I met him on the blogosphere & he was unfailingly kind, smart, funny, & I pictured him as kind of a gentle giant. I am so so sad that we have lost such a beautiful being. And that he wasn't able to find help to alleviate his deep depression. When I first read his piece about his HighSchool experience, I wrote privately to him to tell him how it had brought my to tears, and to share my support & caring for him & his courage.
    I can understand, Bruce, that your pain was so all encompassing & excruciating that all you wanted was to find some way to stop the pain. I am so sorry we couldn't help you buddy. But we will miss you terribly and we will remember you. Now you can rest, sweet prince.
    Rick, I am so so sorry for your deep personal loss.

  10. I'm new to your blog, and did not know your friend Bruce, but I just wanted to tell you that this is a touching story, and I'm so sorry his life had this tragic ending. Suicide is a horrible problem that our society too often ignores out of shame and ignorance about it and how prevalent it is. And the homophobic torment that your friend went through is unreal and should never happen to anyone on this planet. I am sorry for your loss.

  11. I'm still processing this myself, Simon. Bruce was such a great guy. I loved getting emails from him, and his smiling face still pops up in the random list of my Twitter followers now and then. It's hard to comprehend that he's gone.

  12. hi skdadl...I've never felt this way about someone I only knew on the internet. But Bruce was such an interesting guy I enjoyed following him. I thought I knew him, but I guess I didn't, and it's so sad...

  13. hi Ricky...I know you were a really good friend of Bruce so I want to offer you my condolences. For you it must be even more of a terrible shock. I thought he was happier than he had been for a while. I remember that great picture you took recently of him making bread. So why, why, why? Life is an amazing journey, but sometimes it can be so cruel...

  14. hi Bina...yes he was funny and he did have a mouth on him.I saw Scott Tribe said some of his comments were "coarse" but I thought they were hilarious. As I mentioned in the post I didn't understand why it took him so long to come out. What I didn't say was that for a long time I held that against him. Until I read how he had been bullied. So among the many things he taught me was not to be too quick to judge.
    As you say, may his second time around be better. And here's to a bully-free world...

  15. hi Oemissions...yes it is so sad. I have to admit when I was writing this post I had tears running down my cheeks. It was so sudden, it was so shocking, and it never should have happened...

  16. hi Gene...It's not easy being a gay blogger in the political blogosphere.
    You can't expect to be really popular, but he had a strong and loyal following because he was interesting and he wore his heart on his sleeve.
    I'm so glad you posted his flag on your blog. I bet there are a lot of them all over the world. So his legacy will live on...

  17. hi Brahm...yes it's shocking isn't it. And for gay people it's particularly sad. We lose so many young ones, losing someone who survived his youth is very hard to take.
    I could tell that he was haunted by some demons, I wanted him to find peace. But not that kind of peace.
    And I'll be sorry forever...

  18. hi BC nice to hear from you again. You made me remember my early blogging days, when Bruce was such an inspiration to us all.
    I'm glad that you got a chance to meet him in person. And all I can hope is that our poor brother's end was gentle, and that his spirit is free at last...

  19. hi Willy...yes he could be brutally honest, especially late at night ;)
    But he knew a good post when he saw one. And in my case he knew a bad post when he saw one and he wasn't shy about letting me know. Ouch.
    But I'm still going to miss him a lot...

  20. hi Beijing...yes Brucie was talented in so many ways. I went through his blog the other night looking for clues to what might have led him to take his own life. I expected the tour to be sad, and it was. But then I would come across a comment only Bruce could make, or one of his great cartoons, and he made me laugh again.So that's how I choose to remember him...

  21. hi CanNurse...yes depression is a terrible thing, especially when it drains the energy out of you, and you are too tired or too proud to seek help. And of curse it can fool you too. Because I'm gay I knew that he was hurt. I could read between the lines. But I thought that things were finally getting better for him. I thought he was happier than he had been for a long time. But the wave of gay suicides might have reawakened some painful memories, and made him lose hope.
    As for me, it only strengthens my determination to fight bullies even harder. Bruce deserved a better world, and I won't stop fighting until we get it...

  22. hi Jen...thanks for your sweet comment. When I was in university I used to work with suicidal teenagers, so I know what a huge problem suicide is, and how society makes it harder to help those in need. And when I get over the sadness I will use Bruce's death to motivate me to try even harder to help build a kinder, gentler world. If Bruce had been born into that kind of world, instead of one filled with senseless hate, his life would have been happier and this never would have happened...

  23. hi Mark...yes processing is the word isn't it. It's so hard to accept such a brutal departure. As I said in the post I believe that Bruce never recovered from what happened to him when he was young. Our mission is to keep fighting the homophobia that cheated him out of half his life, and ultimately all of it.I'm tired of gay people killing themselves, and the bigots are going pay for it.

    P.S. I helped myself to his juke box so it too will play forever...

  24. Thinking a lot about Bruce lately.