SNAP: Rally for Equality
The suicides of several young gay Utah men have rocked our community this summer, raising persistent questions not only about the state’s alarmingly high suicide rate, but the disproportionate number of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people who take their own lives. To help queer Utahns who are contemplating suicide, our community is doing what it does best: talking honestly about the subject , as Turner Bitton’s Rally for Equality will do later this month. As we go forward, however, we also need to seek solutions instead of placing blame squarely on the shoulders of the LDS Church. Even though its anti-gay rhetoric has hurt many queer Utahns, suicide is a complicated subject with roots not only in hostile religious rhetoric, but in things like substance abuse, trauma, poor emotional support networks and mental illness. No one person commits suicide for exactly the same reasons, which makes holding up any reason as the cause is wrong, and actually just as harmful. In order to stop suicides in the community, we need to look at all of the factors behind it.
SNAP: Sunstone Symposium
The Sunstone Education Foundation’s annual symposium is one of the best academic conferences in the state. Where else can you find half a dozen non-judgmental, non-condemning panels on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Mormons (and often other faiths!), the church’s treatment of gay and lesbian members, and even queer-friendly spirituality? Snaps to the foundation for never forgetting, as religious authorities of all backgrounds often do, that their congregations, synagogues, mosques and temples aren’t populated by straight, cisgender (non-transgender) worshippers.