Welcome to Jake’s Place

By Jake Stallman | May 1 2013 8:27PM

“Your son is a fag, and we are coming to kill him.”

Those were the words said to my mother about me the day after the local newspaper printed my mom’s story about her fight against bullying. My name is Jacob Stallman — Jake for short. I am 17 years old and in high school in a small town in Iowa. I came out to my mom in 7th grade.

It was a scary process. I didn’t know if she was going to hate me or love me the same. I was wrong because she ended up loving me more. Being gay is just a part of who I am. The night I received the death threat I just couldn’t understand how someone could hate another person so much that they would want to kill him. Ever since, I have been busy with interviews with radio stations and newspapers, and with my mom’s help, we got my story out there.

I know what it feels like to want to end your life. I have thought of killing myself three times. I know that hearing “it is going to get better” sucks; you want it to get better NOW! I was just like that. It is a slow process, but it’s like climbing a huge hill — once you get up to the top you have the best view ever. Climbing that hill and all that work only makes it more enjoyable. The same goes with it gets better. It makes your life better; it is a boost to keep you going.

My friend has recently convinced me to try out for cheerleading. I am now going to start weight lifting, and I am getting stronger. I am doing this because my school has no male cheerleaders. I am going to change that  — I hope!

My blog’s name is “Jake’s Place.” This is a place to feel safe. Send me an email, ask me a question, and I will answer them in my next blog entry. No one should ever feel alone. I am here to help. You are all amazing, and even if you don’t have any questions, shoot me an email at stallman (dot) jacob63 (at) gmail (dot) com and tell me your story. I am all ears.

Editor’s Note: If you are in crisis or considering suicide, please call the Trevor Project Lifeline. It offers free and confidential support 24/7 at 866-488-7386. TrevorChat offers IM help here. Matthew’s Place lists other resources here.


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  • http://www.facebook.com/brandipinnow Brandi Royer-Pinnow

    Your awesome!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/pamela.bernhart Pamela Hewitt Bernhart

    I am so proud of you! You are doing important work at a young age. I have no doubt you will be a success wherever your life takes you. Keep up the good work!

  • http://www.facebook.com/marge.barretta Marge Barretta

    Thank you Jake. I love u already! U r a courageous young man! I am a mom who loves my son Dominick dearly and I also love his fiancée Kristopher. The wedding is 8/25/13 in MD and I am so excited for them both and for our families.Thank u for being who u r and for not given in to threats from ill willed persons. Ur mom is awesome. Tell her I said so and that I would love to be face book friends with both of u, if u desire too. Peace and love always, Marge Barretta

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.twombley David Twombley

    Way to go, Jake! Thanks for your courage for equality. My husband and I were one of the six couples in the ‘Varnum’ law suit here in Iowa for marriage equality; it is your generation that will take this cause to the next level.

  • http://www.facebook.com/wade.howard.18 Wade Howard

    Good Luck Jake… Inspire other gay teens and help them come out…

  • Z. Allora

    You are an inspiration! Please give your mom a BIG hug. You both ROCK for making the world a better place! Hugs, Z.

  • Oscar

    Jake don’t give up, it gets better with time, you and your mother are an inspiration to the young gay people out there, your story can change many young lives out there. Please keep up the good work. Oscar from San Antonio, Texas.

  • Kenny McVeigh Zamesnik

    Jake, you are an inspiration. Your karma is traveling a lot farther than you realize. You are giving hope to others, and perhaps saving peoples lives without even knowing about it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/carl.struble Carl Struble

    Like I’ve always said, it gets better, then it gets way better. Congrats Jake! You’ll always find a friend here. I’m Carl Struble/President Jackson Gay Pride, in Michigan

  • Ed Mills

    Keep climbing that hill Jake. Love and support your mom as much as she supports you. Excellent friend and confidant, you will not get another like her! Good luck with the weights and the cheerleading!

  • http://www.facebook.com/joseph.ferraro.332 Joseph Ferraro

    You ROCK JAKE!!!! Best of luck with the weights and becoming your school’s FIRST MALE CHEERLEADER!! WE ALL GOT YOUR BACK!! So go for it!!!!!!! Love YA Joe :)

  • me

    Thankyou Jake. :) <3 You're an inspiration and mean so much to the world.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Regan-DuCasse/573673881 Regan DuCasse

    Young brother Jake! You have a friend in me. I go way back with Matthew’s Place and there were young people I met there who are now happy, wonderful adults. So glad you reached out. We need young people like you to teach the world who you are, and your potential to do wonderful things.
    Thank you! xoxo

  • Sheri

    I love that you are doing this … what an inspiration!

  • dnl2002

    Jake, I live in a small town in Iowa too, and I just wanted you to be reminded that most Iowans are decent people who aren’t afraid to celebrate the beautiful diversity that makes up our culture and our communities. I am so sorry that you had to be subjected to the unacceptable vitriol that a small minority feels that it’s ok to spout. I am so impressed that you’ve decided to share your story in such a public way. It is very courageous, and I commend your efforts!

    Thank you for adding your voice to the rest of the chorus in Iowa that is calling for equality and acceptance. Remember that you are not alone! :)

  • Jesus Nava

    Jake I too was born in a small town and was abuse at school by other kids. My mother loved me also which in return made me love my self,and 57 years later I still love my self I now live in PDX and I am very happy being gay and with my life. Thanks to my Mom & Loving Family ” I lost mom at 13 .& my Dad,sisters& brothers took over the loving me part !YAY. In the 60es & 70es Bulling was as Bad as it is today only a diffreant type of Bad. My Prayer for you is learn to Love & Respect yourself & Feel Free To Use Your Mom’s Love & any one else who loves you till you are strong enough to Love yourself as much as they do.!!!! Stay True To Your Self and remember God loves you and created you and he loves all his creations no matter what other humans may say only God has the right to judge you ! Love & Peace.

    • Tania


      Thank you for the beautiful comment, I believe your family is much like ours. I love my kid’s for who they are, what they want to be and proud of them for the respect, love and “would do anything for anyone” attitude they all have. I vowed to my son, after all of this happen, that I would fight for him. I would make a difference for him and to others too, “be who you are”.. whether gay, straight, bi, transgender, type of religion, color/race or expression,,, well, everyone is entitled to be able to be, “who they are” WITHOUT threat, being scared or low self confidence.

      Through all this, our relationship has become even stronger, I see my son believing in “who he is”,, knowing it is ok to love who he wants and knowing, that I, as well as many, have his back.

      I thank you for sharing this and want you to know I appreciate it and I appreciate you. Thank you. :)


  • http://www.facebook.com/chlorinex Philip Bender-Tymon

    Congratulations on taking charge of your life, Jake. You’re off to a great start. My husband and I wish you all the best and are sending you our very best wishes. Rock on.

  • sfbusker

    Jake, I’m the author of the Enough is Enough blog as well as the founder of the facebook community page, Enough is Enough: the blog page. I will be posting this in the community, and it would be great if you would come “like” the community so that you can respond to the comments that are sure to follow.

    • Tania

      Thank you for the share of Jake’s story. I am Tania, Jake’s mom, I visited the page and it was truly touching to see the comments people wrote. Thank you for sharing Jake’s story, we have turned Jake’s happenings from a negative time into something positive. We are wanting to help as many people as we can, Jake wants everyone to know he is here for them. Thank you again.

      • sfbusker

        My goodness, Tania. I’m so sorry I didn’t see this sooner. I don’t use my Discus account as much as I should. I hope all is well with both you and Jake and that things have quieted down for him. Please drop by the Enough is Enough page sometime and leave a PM to let me know how things are going. Hope to hear from you soon.

      • Phyllis Driggers Barr

        You r a terrific Mom!!!

        • Tania

          Thank you Phyllis, means so much.

  • http://www.facebook.com/MarieTWiley Marie Tyler Wiley

    OMG Jake…you can bet that whoever send that immature note is a whimp, ignorant and well…you know what? Trust me…you will get to an age…where you realize anyone who speaks like that is really such a very sad person. Their life is miserable. It’s not a reflection of you…it IS…a reflection of them though…and that is sad!

    You keep strong! You can sooo do this. Kids can be real a-holes. So that cliche’…don’t worry…it get’s better…is totally true! And the best is when you realize…you don’t give a sh_t what anyone thinks of you…you’re happy with who you are…a wonderful young man who is brave, strong and daring!

    Rock it big guy! Ignorance is not pretty. Just remember…you are so doing the right thing. :) xxxx


  • BigWhiteDog

    Tell them to “Bring It”. We got your back.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joshua.gavel Joshua Gavel

    Hi Jake

    I was impressed with your story of courage and drive to want to help others! I am also a gay man. I’m 57 years old. As a boy, I lived in foster homes. When folks realized I was a gay child, I would find myself unwanted and moved on. I survived 32 foster homes but ” it did get better”! Things would have been so much easier if I’d had a mom like yours!!
    Please accept my hugs and best wishes to you and your wonderful life…and give your mom a huge hug from someone who knows they’d love her if we ever met!!


    • Tania

      Hi Josh,
      I am Tania, Jake’s mom. First, I want to say thank you for the kind words. I am so sorry to hear about your childhood, my goodness, no child should endure what you went through. I am so touched that you shared this with Jake and with us all, this has touched me. Just know, I may not know you, but you have a friend in me and if we ever met, I would love a big hug! :)
      Take care and thank you Josh!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=651397596 Pam Pendergraft

    You are my hero Jake!! much love sweet kid! :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/rebecca.g.leblanc Rebecca Gullotti LeBlanc

    good for you and your mom! Colleges have male cheerleaders so why not highschool, it’s really not something that far off! good luck!

  • headley@visir.is

    Thank you young man, you have probably saved someone else’s life already. I was lucky but many are not and we need to make sure that we do what we can to support them.

    • Tania

      Thank you for the dear comment, that means more than you know. I am Tania, Jake’s mom, he is truly a blessing. Thank you again.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1274887453 Wesley Drake

    You are an inspiration to us all.

  • chris

    Jake, you are the man, keep your head up high, and give others hope. There are a lot suffering in silence.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Angelwhite32 Michael Beck

    You my dear boy are a true inspiration to the next generation coming our way for equal rights and equality for all… Keep your head up, your story is one to cherish, you make me feel like we have a fighting chance. Lots of love.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Deby-Colson/1252110060 Deby Colson

    Jake anyone would be proud to know you.

  • http://www.pinkpanthersblog.com/ cowboyneok

    Go JAKE! Be who you are and continue to be proud. I served on submarines in the Cold War and I’m gay. Those of us who are older and LGBT are trying to make it easier but we need you to remain tough and hang in there. We want you to be sure you are there to celebrate a more equal and better future for all of us.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ricardo.santana.5264 Ricardo Santana

    I AM With u brother all the way!

  • That Bitch Zach

    cutie :*

    • JacobStallman

      Thank you!

  • daniel bragg

    Jake keep up the good work . I am the founder of No Bully Iowa I am vary happy to have both Jake and his great mom to be apart of my group . But today I read were a lady said thing to Jake about being gay I am also a pastor and yes I am gay . In the bible it also says (Judge not lest ye be judged ) but I guess many dont read their bible . Another thing she said was about the moive the BULLY I guess she never really seen it as she would not have said what she did . Jake keep your head up your doing great

  • http://buddybest.tripod.com/index.html BuddyNovinski

    Jake, you are correct. Overcoming the obstacles will make you stronger. I’ve often thought that Matt was near that position in October 1998, and the Anti-Defamation League was correct in thinking what he’d be doing today at 36.
    By the way, your blond hair and blue eyes are what I wish I had. Is Stallman really “Stahlmann”? it would take a man of steel to overcome what you’ve gone through and become stronger! Besides lifting weights, I’d recommend yoga for spiritual strength.

    • JacobStallman

      Thank you so much, I’ve been lifting a lot recently! I will try Yoga for sure. If you would like shoot me an email at stallman.jacob63@gmail.com.

  • Kiddoo

    Great job man. Keep doing the amazing things you are..

    • JacobStallman

      Hey It’s really nice to meet you! Thank you so much for your support! I would love to hear your story if you want, here is my email stallman.jacob63@gmail.com!

  • mjason28

    Hey Jake, Mike here!

    My brother has been a cheerleader and instructor for about 20 years. He was the first person I came out too. I couldn’t believe the support I got from my family..But, that’s not why I’m messaging. If you are ever in the Atlanta area, drop me a line. I am sure that my brother could give you some advise and a lesson, if you’re interested! Good luck and mad respect!

    Your friends,

    Mike and Paul (my husband!)

    • JacobStallman

      Hello Jason! I sure do that! I need all the help I can get. I’m just starting a tumbling and stunting class! But thanks for sharing your story with me, it really means a lot to me! The more responses I get the more I feel I am helping people! Shoot me an email at stallman.jacob63@gmail.com!

  • Craig Esbeck

    Hi Jake,
    I just read the DM Register article about you that was shared through facebook. What an amazing story. It really touched and inspired me. I’m a 1975 graduate of THS. My father and brothers and their families all still live in Tipton. I’m also gay, though I wasn’t out in high school. It’s so amazing to me to read about you and what you’ve done to help the people of Tipton – and now in Iowa and around the world – to be kinder more compassionate people. Keep up the good work! Craig Esbeck, Kampala, Uganda

    • JacobStallman

      Hey Craig! Its nice to me you! I am so honored that you feel this way! I am so happy I am making people feel proud! Some people at Tipton disagree with me saying there is no Bullying at our school. I know that is not true because I have kids coming up to and talking about their problems. Feel free to shoot me an email at stallman.jacob63@gmail.com!

  • Meridith

    Jake, I am so proud of you even though I just “met” you through this post. Your mother must be so incredibly proud of you… as a mother of 4 I have tears in my eyes as I type this b/c I can feel your mother’s pride for you. I am a freelance writer who writes about mental health issues all day long to help spread truth and fight stigma. I also have a passion for gay rights and eliminating hate from this world. Any thoughts, ideas, feedback, etc. you may have, I’m all ears. I admit that just a minute ago when I started an article about Matthew Shepard I had a small doubt, a fear of hateful comments (because I don’t handle mean people well), so this is further proof that you are a brave and special soul. Much love to you! mzel@bellsouth.net

    • JacobStallman

      Thank you so much for the amazing comment! Here is my email this is a quicker way to get a hold of me! I would love to help you out! stallman.jacob63@gmail.com

  • wcb54


    First, congratulations to you and your mom for your courage and your success in changing the realities of Tipton. I’d love to have you as a student at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. Give us a look. Our Peace and Justice major may be of interest, but that is only one of many excellent choice. Wartburg College is dedicated to challenging and nurturing students for lives of leadership and service as a spirited expression of their faith and learning. From what I saw on television, that sounds like you. Whether you look our way or not, however, I extend a sincere congratulations and thanks for being an agent of change already at 17. Walter C. Bouzard, Ph.D., Wartburg College.

    • JacobStallman

      THANK YOU SO MUCH! That means the world to me! Comments like that makes me keep fighting harder! Here is my email please feel free to email! stallman.jacob63@gmail.com

  • JacobStallman

    Hey everybody feel free to email me at stallman.jacob63@gmail.com I’m trying to keep up this is a hard thing to post on!

  • Jan Zurcher

    Jake, I am the Region 44 Emergency Manager for Boone, Nance & Merrick counties in NE. One of the risks that has been identified in Boone County is bullying. We held a character building camp this past summer which had a good attendance. We are looking for speakers and people to be involved in the camp next summer. Is this something that you do? Are you willing to travel and speak or spend time with a bunch of 3-8th grade kids? You may contact me by email jzrcdisaster@gmail.com.
    I am looking forward to hearing from you. Thanks!

    • TaniaMcAtee

      Hey Jan Zurcher this Jake, but on my mom’s posting account. I tried to email you but it said it failed unreachable address. Can you possible email me at stallman.jacob63@gmail.com?

  • Samantha Westurn

    jake i just emailed you one of my stories….an i want you to know that you’re truely an amazing person.

  • Skip Godfrey

    Jake – I am very sorry we got crossways ! You’re a nice person – I wish you the very best, now and in the future. I won’t be contacting you again !

  • John Fields

    Dear Jake. I’ve just read your lines! I’m gonna keep me briefly!
    There’s no cause to doubt in yourself! Stand up proudly for your rights! You are a wonderful young man and I’m proud on you what you have achieved by now! I admire your strenght! Never let stop the sun shine on you! There are many people they believe in you! To be gay is NEVER a shame NEVER! But you’ll always confronted with rednecks who see that differently! I do support you! Hugs from Ivan

Jacob’s Safe Place
Jake Stallman

Jacob Stallman is the youngest member of the Matthew’s Place blogging staff and writes about his personal experiences overcoming homophobia and bullying as well as providing peer advice to young people.

“My life well, it hasn’t been the most ‘smooth sailing.’ What can I say? I am a sophomore in high school and am the only openly gay student at my school. You can say that makes me an easy target.

I have been bullied because I was fat; In fifth grade I was that fat kid who ran his mile in the longest amount of time. Yes, I was THAT kid. My 7th grade year came and the school offered track, and I thought to myself “It can’t get any worse from here.” So I did track. It was amazing, and I got skinny. I was tall and as skinny as a pole. I have been bullied because I am gay; Freshmen year I got called out on Facebook for being a fag. Sophomore year I was called out on Twitter, and then I received the death threat.

I remember that night that I received the death threat. I was crying so much, and I just didn’t understand why someone could hate someone so much they wanted to kill them. The next morning, I was scared to step out of my house afraid that someone was out there waiting for me. The person was caught, but that person turned into people. But I overcame what happened to me, with the help of my mom and family who started an anti-bullying campaign.

So, I have had enough of people pushing me around, so what do I do? I’m start to lift weights, and I am going to try out for cheerleading.

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