Intoxiskate Promoter Turns Talents to Help Others and Faces Personal Tragedy
By Bob Kecskemety
Early in June, Intoxiskate promoter and Matty’s bartender, David Rohrig, 31, realized there was a need in the community to provide a website database for troubled LGBT youth in Broward County. He realized there were online sources, but a young person looking for immediate help would have to search through pages of information and spend hours online to gather the necessary sources.
He decided to take on the mission himself and congregate all the necessary information into one, easy-to-find online source.
His mission turned into his passion when, just days later on June 10, his boyfriend of nine months, Daryl, committed suicide by walking into the path of a moving freight train in Pompano Beach.
“It was eye-opening,” said Rohrig, “and looking at our past relationship, solidified the need for a website. [Looking back] he was often saying suicidal things but I didn’t recognize it. I knew he was often depressed — very dramatic — but nothing was saying ‘danger-danger’ that something bad was going to happen.”
A self-awareness course told Rohrig to look deep inside himself to create a project that would help others. Rohrig had parents who readily accepted his homosexuality (which he is thankful for) and he desired to help young gay people who had been rejected by their parents or were addicted to drugs or didn’t have any place to turn to for help.
Rohrig also recognized that there were many young LGBT people who were in the state’s foster care system but once the person turns 18 years old, they are no longer eligible for assistance and were turned out into the streets. “Many end up on people’s couches or some random guy’s bed.” said Rohrig, “They would do anything they could to just get by.” Often they would turn to prostitution and crime just to survive, many more turned to drug abuse and addiction to forget their problems.
Upon coming up with a project idea, he started doing research for sources and realized they were not easy to find on the Internet though they were a lot in our area. He found Pridelines and their programs in Miami but they didn’t offer services in Broward and the PrideCenter/GLCC website in Fort Lauderdale had a lot of information, but the specific information he was looking for was hard to find, buried in the many other programs offered by the Center.
He said he also found faith-based services such as Covenant House and SunServe in Broward County but he didn’t think Christian-based services, though not a bad thing, would not have broad enough appeal to today’s 17 year olds.
He wanted to create an online site that would welcome young people in a way they will feel comfortable and easily find the resources in Broward County. He is tentatively calling his project “Broward LGBT Youth SORC” (Services and Organizations Resource Central).
“My goal is to make it user-friendly and acceptable by today’s youths,” said Rohrig, “they do not necessarily have to be gay organizations but they must be at least gay-friendly. And I have to get it high on the search engines.” He said that the site will include the church groups but will also list places for food handouts, listings of youth groups and events such as proms and movie nights, places where a person could get counseling and other help.
He also wants to find organizations or individuals willing to offer extended foster care for those over 18 so young people could get better acclimated to the world outside of the state’s foster care system in a caring, loving environment instead of them being thrown into a homeless shelter. “I was accepted by my family and can’t imagine what it would be like being kicked out,” he said.
In the meantime, Rohrig is mourning the loss of his boyfriend. “The hardest thing is there was no note, no ‘goodbye’ or no ‘I love you’.”
Rohrig said everything seemed “normal”, Daryl had a good appetite and seemed fine but was depressed. A few days earlier Daryl was crying because Rohrig’s birthday was only a few days away and the unemployed Daryl could not afford a birthday gift. On Tuesday, June 8th, the two had a small argument during the weekly Intoxiskate party; Daryl walked away. That would be the last time Rohrig saw his boyfriend alive again. Not being able to locate Daryl, he contacted the police and filed a police report on Wednesday. The train conductor saw Daryl step in front of the moving train on Thursday night June 10 at 7:15 p.m., the day before Rohrig’s birthday.
Rohrig said that Daryl’s family never accepted his homosexuality and he felt rejected by his parents. Even at the memorial service, the fact that Daryl was gay was never mentioned.
“Daryl was a very expressive person except for what was going on inside him,” said Rohrig. “If I had only known, I would have gotten him to counseling or whatever he needed. Here I am, creating this website before he died not even realizing that I’m trying to bring resources to the community to help young troubled people and here he was, sitting right in front of me and I wasn’t helping him at all. Now my project is a passion.”