OGDEN, Utah (ABC 4 News) – Concerned citizens gathered with
community leaders in Ogden to remember a bullied gay teen who took his
own life this month. The rally to promote awareness about bullied gay teens was held at the Ogden Amphitheater 6:30 P.M. May 1.
The victim’s parents asked ABC 4 not to mention his name or show his
picture, but his loss brings another wave of compassion for the silent
pain gay teens often feel. This teen attended Weber High School where
he was bullied in the hallways.
ABC 4 talked with a gay teen group leader to learn more about life as
a gay teen in northern Utah.
About 45 gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans gendered youth gather to uplift
and strengthen one another in Ogden. Marian Edmonds, who is the LGBT
executive director for a group called OUTREACH, guides the youth
Her love breaks through a lot of pain as she learns about the life of
a gay teen in northern Utah. She says they often feel torn. Many
have an attraction for the same sex, which according to leading LDS
therapists in Utah is not always a conscious choice.
These feelings are in teens with parents who are sometimes very
uncomfortable even talking about homosexuality. Edmonds says being a
gay teen in Utah can be painfully lonely; 80 percent of these teens
don’t know a supportive adult and this can mean the difference between
life and death.
“There isn’t one youth that I can think of that doesn’t know someone
who has lost their life to suicide,” said Edmonds.
So what are parents to do when their child admits their true feelings?
Edmonds has some advice, “I see this at least twice a week. A parent
calling me or coming saying, ‘What do I do now that I know my child is
gay?’ I say, ‘Tell your child you love them just as they are. Help
them through this process of figuring it out.’”