Friday, May 04, 2012

Vigil planned after another gay Mormon suicide

Excerpts of  Vigil Planned in Wake of Suicide by 17-Year-Old by Joanna Brooks, Religion Dispatches
In the wake of another gay Mormon suicide, more than three hundred people are expected to attend a May 1 community speak-out and vigil against bullying and suicide.  Sources are reporting seventeen year-old Jack Denton Reese ended his life on Sunday, April 22. 

  • A local United Church of Christ is donating the candles for the vigil.  Organizer Marian Edmonds, pastor of City of Hope Church in Salt Lake City and organizer of the OUTReach resource center in Ogden, will staff a table at the event to recruit mentors to help work with LGBT young people to prevent suicide. And Mormons are volunteering to speak, including Bonnie Flint, an LDS mother and educator.  "It is especially important that member of the LDS faith stand up against discrimination and bigotry," she writes.
    The vigil also comes at a moment when individual Mormons across the country are engaging in an increasingly robust discussion about how a faith that theologically prioritizes heterosexual marriage--in LDS temple.  As the LDS Church appears to be backing away from committing the kind of institutional resources to state-level ballot initiatives on LGBT equality it did in California in 2008, individual Mormons in Maryland and Washington are gearing up both in support of and opposition to proposed statewide referenda against same-sex marriage. Gay Mormons and their allies have produced "It Gets Better" videos aimed to shine a light on welcoming and affirming attitudes among LDS people.  
    Leaders of the SoulForce gay rights organization recently met with LDS Church PR representatives and lobbyists to present demands that the Church cut ties with reparative therapy methodologies (now discredited and renounced even by the author of the definitive scientific study used by reparative therapists) and offer employment-related protections for sexual orientation and gender expression for LDS Church employees.
    It is a sensitive thing to write about gay Mormon suicides ... aspects of Mormon doctrine and culture can create lethal circumstances for LGBT young people....  Young people kill themselves.  Can a tradition that prides itself on taking care of its own muster the resources to take care of its LGBT youth?  How soon?