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Letter from Brussels - Yasmine

by De Ket in Columns & Opinions , 19 september 2009


Dear Northern Neighbors,

Flanders’ best-known gay icon has passed away. Singer and VRT anchor Yasmine, born Hilde Rens, has taken her own life on Thursday 28th of June. Some newspapers used the phrase: “Left this life.” Everybody prefers to avoid the harsh “killed herself,” or even worse “suicide.”


It was no secret she had trouble coping with the recent break-up with her girlfriend, her colleagues expressed their concern several times. On TV she was also visibly increasingly uncomfortable.

Thirty-seven only. There’s no young or old when it comes to suicide though. Although it still was a shock to everyone, it couldn’t be a total surprise either. When you see someone deteriorate so quickly mentally and physically, you fear for the worst.


Unfortunately, Yasmine fits the statistics as well: those of homosexual people deciding to leave this life behind. They’re tragic statistics, but very real and true. In spite of our increasing social integration gays are amongst the social groups which have a higher percentage of people who prefer to have a say in when to exchange the temporary for eternity.

Yasmine didn’t do what she did because she was a lesbian, so much is certain. Perhaps gays respond differently to losing a partner from straight people? But surely this is not the reason to go for such a radical and definitive step? Some say even our genes come in play.

Her ex-partner Marianne Dupont - also no stranger in the landscape of famous Flemish - will be quite flabbergasted too. A lot of people - the tabloids included - forget that there are always two sides to a break-up. Marianne may have pulled the plug in their love affaire, but no one does so for pleasure. It must be a horrible turn of events for her.

A lot of people like to point fingers and quite a few of my gay boyfriends and girlfriends point to the ex. That’s easy. It was Yasmine however, who decided to do what she did. Suicide is about the most selfish option because you just see no other way out.

Still, our support system for people in psychological need is quite adequate and professional. We will never know exactly why Yasmine did this. Maybe the break-up played a part but it can’t have been the only thing. Life is too beautiful to throw away for love, so much is clear.

We have to look out for the people around us who have trouble holding that perspective. Too often we think a simple “you’ll get over it,” or “time will heal,” “tomorrow’s another day” will sustain to get those pining for love off our back.

Those sophisms are classic and not helpful; it’s crucial to get people to adequate professional help timely. Too often still, we blame the taboo on psychological or psychiatric assistance and shun away from recommendation to some friends. This is wrong.

So, if you need help, you can always call the help line 02/649.95.55, day or night, with full discretion. Or surf to www.zelfmoordpreventie.be where you can chat with a social worker.

Yours dedicated,

De Ket



 







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