UT gay community laments recent suicides
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.”