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UT gay community laments recent suicides

with 6 comments

Gay activists in Utah are struggling to make sense of a recent rash of suicides among young gay Mormons. The latest was 28 year-old Todd Ransom, whose body was discovered last week. Friends and gay rights advocates held a vigil last week at the State Capital – to draw attention to Utah’s suicide problem. QSaltLake reports the state has the most suicides in the country among men aged 15-to-24, and every eleven days a Utah teenager commits suicide.

George Cole from gay mormon group Affinity says all Mormons – but gay ones in particular – feel intense pressure.

Cole: “It’s just heroically hard to do everything the average Mormon believes he or she is supposed to do in the course of a day. If you throw being gay right on top of that it really amplifies the challenges probably by orders of magnitude. As someone else said better than I could: ‘gays interrupt the Mormon plan for heaven.'”

Friends say Ransom was rejected by family members because of his homosexuality – Cole says this is a common problem for gay Mormons.

Cole: “Family acceptance is the make-or-break of really any person who is young and struggling. Anyone whose family rejects them for any reason acquires a whole huge host of challenges in life that have started right there in youth and can continue through adulthood and into middle and old age.”

QSaltLake editor Michael Aaron wrote in an editorial that Ransom and others “…didn’t pass away. They killed themselves. Murdered by their own hands. Murdered by our lack of understanding, compassion, awareness, vigilance or simple capacity to make change in their world.”


Written by OutQ News staff

July 27, 2010 at 8:49 AM

Posted in Religion

Tagged with ,

6 Responses

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  1. Why doesn’t the GLBT community of Utah take their share of responsibility for these suicides?

    The Church has just as much right to say “The GLBT’s have just as much responsibility to validate the importance of the church in a person’s life, as they say the church is in validating the ‘gayness’ of a person.”

    The GLBT’s should be saying “Yes, we understand how your church and Your family feel and how important the influence they have on your life is, and we don’t want to cause any more problems in your life than you already have” etc. etc.
    Instead, they are all about “The LDS church should be changing, saying it’s ok for you to be gay” etc., when it’s not ok.
    The Church, and those who belong to the church (including families) have the right to believe that sex between two (or more) people who are not related to each other, and not married to each other, is a sin. They have the right to teach their children that it is a sin. Hopefully, they will even teach their children WHY it is a sin. Then, when the children are grown, they can choose what they want, without having to worry about what other people will think.
    Because the way it is now, they worry about what everyone will think, except for the person who’s most important, and that’s themselves. They have feelings that confuse them because they are feelings they are taught they should not have. But, then, they ar told by others that these feelings are not only not bad, they are GOOD, and they should act on these feelings, in fact, they are stupid if they do NOT act on these feelings and tell the people that have been the most important people in their lives that they are not only wrong, but they are stupid and evil and hateful and bigoted and everything else.
    “Gee, I’m evil if I do, and evil if I don’t.”
    No wonder they get so depressed they end up killing themselves.
    Everyone who preaches tolerance should SHOW tolerance.


    July 27, 2010 at 3:31 PM

  2. Everyone makes life choices in order to deal with dysfunctional relationships. Some choose drugs or alcohol, with prostitution, domestic violence as other outcomes. Those who recover from abuse, drugs and alcohol are judged and condemned for prior behavior (e.g., The Mormon Boy). If one of the choices had been suicide, we would be holding a candle light vigils rather than judgement and condemnation, praising victimization. How sad, that we don’t honor and praise recovery and empowerment. Let’s see its been almost 11 days since the last vigil… do you have your candle’s ready? We are just about due for another suicide.


    July 27, 2010 at 10:42 PM

  3. @Linda, “When it’s not OK to be gay?” What about folks born inter-sex, or dual gender. Who should they marry in order to be OK in the eyes of Mormon believers? How is “heterosexuality” determined from a biological, endocrinological, genetic perspective, do you know exactly? If you can’t explain your own heterosexuality, perhaps your the one who is not “OK”.


    July 28, 2010 at 5:09 PM

  4. I agree, why blame the church? Sounds like the “Batter Spouse Syndrome.” These “poor me victims” are addicted to emotional pain and then are praised and honored with candle light vigils.
    Where are the vigils honoring survivors of Mormonism, abuse, domestic violence, rejection, drug and alcohol addiction. Where is the publicity honoring empowerment? Sometimes there is more glory in how one plays the cards they are dealt, now how well they fold ’em.

    Victim No More

    July 29, 2010 at 10:32 PM

  5. I am a gay man and I agree with what Linda has to say to some extent. Not everything she says is wrong. I also personally know Michael Aaron and he is one smart guy. His last statement, “Murdered by our lack of understanding, compassion, awareness, vigilance or simple capacity to make change in their world,” is a true statement. Michael Aaron is a guy that anyone would love to be friends with. Anyhow back to Linda’s comments, yes the LDS church and it’s members have every right to believe as they wish but they do not have the right to force beliefs upon anyone. I can choose for myself what path I want to follow. Many in the LDS church feel so much pressure to live according to “someone else’s” standards that they feel there is no room for what they want. I also want to chastise the gay community, they put intense pressure upon “gays” to behave according to their rules as well. The only solution to this problem is to get yourself healthy enough to not allow ANYBODY’s oppinion to allow any power over you. YOU are in charge of yourself and can choose to follow any path you’d like.


    August 1, 2010 at 9:30 PM

  6. The Church has made Official Statements on Same Gender Attraction, including the following:

    It is so sad that young Utah Men, including yooung Same Gender Men, are taking their Lives!

    The Church has to support these young men, as well as their Parents, and show compassion and Love towards them.

    We all know the Church Doctrine on the Same Gender issue, but why is the Utah Saints, in general, also “top-of-the-league”in Suicides, in non Same-Gender situations?

    Is lack of compassion a “broad-brush” problem?

    I am a High Priest in my Ward, and we had a parallel problem, whenever a young man’s Girlfriend became Pregnant and both sets of Parents insisted on Abortion, as the solution!

    The yong man’s Father was the Bishop, and he paid for the Abortion!

    The Church approved of BOTH their actions, the Father (Bishop) to finance the Abortion, and to continue in Office, and, the young man to go on a Mission!

    Now THAT was Compassion!

    Not exactly comparable to Same-Gender attraction, but vile to commit “murder”, and one just wonders!

    Let’s state that Same Gender “deeds”, not aspirations, is a Sin, but is sex-out-of Marriage,followed by pregnancy; followed by “murder”, not a major Sin by comparison?

    Maybe Utah’s Suicide rate epitomises different thinking/attitudes in some Wards and Stakes?

    I sincerely hope not!


    August 10, 2010 at 9:01 PM

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