Gay Teen, Bullied For Years, Commits Suicide
Openly-gay, Miltona, Minnesota eighteen-year old Lance Lundsten, whom friends say was bullied for years, committed suicide over the weekend in or near his home. His funeral is tonight.
The Jefferson High School senior, who wrote on his Facebook page that he was gay, left this as one of his final messages: “Love knows no gender, color, or religion.”
There is a Facebook page event advocating a “Moment of Silence and Reflection to Honor Suicide Victim Lance Lundsten.” It currently has over 300 attendees. Another page, “In Memory of Lance Lundsten,” has over 500 members.
Local Alexandria, Minnesota news station KSAX has a video and story. They write,
Around 10 p.m. Saturday the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office responded to an emergency call at the Lundsten’s residence in Miltona.
When officers arrived, they discovered 18-year-old Lance Lundsten needing emergency medical care. Lundsten was transported to the Douglas County Hospital where he later died.
The Sheriff’s Office confirmed to KSAX that they believed Lundsten’s death was a suicide. The Sheriff would not confirm the nature of the medical emergency.
According to his Facebook page, Lundsten was openly gay. On a Facebook memorial page in Lundsten’s honor, friends said that Lundsten had been bullied at school for his sexual orientation. Some students who knew Lundsten believed the bullying may have led to his suicide.
“Bullying is a huge issue, particularly with the youth in our country now,” Facilitator of the Diversity Resource Action Alliance Shari Maloney said. “I think because we’re in central Minnesota, and we aren’t as diverse as some of the larger Metropolitan areas are, someone who is different maybe draws more attention and it’s not always positive.”Via Huffington Post:
Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) offered his condolences at an event on Monday.
“My heart goes out to Lance’s family, and friends and loved ones. It’s a tragic event, not only for them, but for the school, and the Alexandria community and really for all of us,” Franken said.”LGBT kids really do need (more) protection,” Franken said. “They’re two or three times more likely than straight kids to get bullied. Nine in ten LGBT students said they’ve been bullied or harassed and almost two-thirds say they don’t feel safe in school.”
When will we stop paying lip service to the education of our children and actually start doing something about what ails our society? The repeated occurrence of suicide among gay youth shakes my faith in the future. Have we become THAT society? One in which we hound from our midst those who don't conform? one in which the only acceptable form of 'mo is a dead one?
We've got to stop this, we've lost half a generation to AIDS, and this time we're losing it to something much more insidious. And far more preventable.
Please keep safe any gay youth you know, and offer any assistance you can to help them through the tough times, we've all been there.
I'm out at work, but not actively. This will change starting today when I go back to work. I'll be volunteering with the student organization and I'll be offering any student I know an ear to listen to their concerns about living life as a gay man or woman. Jobs aren't important unless they mean something to you, and if I put this one at risk because I do what needs to be done, so be it.
And so it goes: