Our friends at PrideinUtah.com are reporting yet another LGBT Mormon suicide today. PrideinUtah has been vigilant in getting stories of Latter Day Saints members into our view, and it’s nearly always attached to religious oppression.
28 year old Colt David Hansen fought a lifelong battle against the Mormon church, which he learned would never accept him for who he was. This story is particularly painful because even after he took his own life due to religious issues, his family has not only asked for contributions be made to the Mormon Missionary Fund, but they have refused to allow his friends to attend Colt’s funeral.
This week we also heard that well-known Mormon, Marie Osmond will be appearing on Oprah to discuss the suicide of her young son earlier this year. The reason she is coming forward and participating in what is certain to be the most difficult interview of her life, is because of the recent rash of LGBT suicides. She has not yet publicly spoken about her son’s suicide and has never referenced his sexuality, but one can assume that this is the reason she wants to come forward.
In 2007, Utah ranked #1 when it came to residents who suffered from depression and led the country at #7 in suicide rates. But when it comes to teen suicide (ages 15-24), Utah statistics are far ahead of the national average.
While linking the suicide rate to a religion is specious at best, one can easily do a little math to realize that between 60-70% of the population of Utah is Mormon. And it is fairly well-known how the Church of Latter Day Saints perceives LGBT people, what we do know is that gay Mormon teens are at great risk of suicide, and we must stop ignoring the links between the person and what the faith teaches.
In the past few years, Utah has seen their suicide rate increase drastically. This goes along with the increased attention that has been given to the direct link between LDS and several anti-gay measures. If we ignore the obvious and fail to tell these young people’s stories, we are failing them.
Thank you to PrideInUtah for continually being a valid source of information and we hope that through education we can help to curb this horrible trend.