Another LGBT Suicide in Utah

Posted By on November 5, 2010

This post was updated, see here.

Salt Lake City, UT – We have lost another beautiful life. Colt David Hansen, 28, passed away Wednesday evening after a lifelong struggle against the Mormon Church which he felt never accepted him because he was gay.

Colt David Hansen, gay, suicide, utah, salt lake city

Colt David Hansen

According to friends, Colt had a fight with his father the night before he died over the Mormon faith and his refusal to be a part of it. However, his obituary reads that he was a member of the Mormon church and despite never going on a Mormon mission, the family is asking that donations be made to the Mormon Mission fund. The obituary also never makes any mention that he was gay.

Colt’s family is refusing to let his friends attend the funeral, presumably presided over by a Mormon Bishop, calling it a private family affair.

The Utah LGBT community will remember Colt for who he was. A beautiful, intelligent young man who worked for several years at Try-Angles, beloved by many.

When will our families learn that they must love us for who we are, and they dishonor our memories when they try to pretend we are something other than who we are.

There will be a memorial for the community held at Club Try-Angles this Sunday, I believe at 4pm but I haven’t confirmed that yet.

Here’s a copy of the official obituary:

Colt David Hansen
BORN: May 22, 1982
DIED: Nov 3, 2010
LOCATION: Salt Lake City, UT

Our beloved son, brother, grandson, and uncle passed away peacefully in Salt Lake City, Utah on November 3, 2010 after a severe battle with depression. He was born May 22, 1982 in Payson, Utah to Ricky Duane and Connie Beckstrom Hansen. Colt graduated from Spanish Fork High School in 2000.

Colt loved being around his friends and family. He loved his niece and nephews dearly. He had a big heart and was kind and thoughtful. He loved to laugh out loud and liked to work on computers. Colt loved his dogs, Kasha and Travis. He was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Colt is survived by his loving parents, Rick and Connie Hansen; siblings, Cody Hansen, Adrienne Prestwich, Shad (Sammi) Hansen, and Seth Hansen; nephews, Tanner and Brayden Prestwich, Laton and Ryan Hansen, Tyrell Russell, and a niece, Mylie Prestwich; grandparents, Billy and Joanne Williams; and many aunts, uncles, and cousins. He was preceded in death by grandparents, Merrill and LaRue Beckstrom, and Duane Hansen.

Our son, brother, and uncle holds a special place in our hearts and will be missed daily. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the LDS Church Missionary Fund.

Graveside services will be held on Tuesday, November 9, 2010 at 1:00 p.m. at the Spanish Fork City Cemetery, 420 South 400 East, Spanish Fork, Utah. There will be a family viewing at Walker Mortuary, 187 South Main Street, Spanish Fork, Utah from 11:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. prior to the graveside service.

Update: 11/6/10: I want to add another personal note to this. Colt’s story was posted yesterday after I spoke with 3 different friends who all told me the same story as you see above. Since then however, I’ve heard from 2 others who say that his death may have been an accidental overdose, rather than intentional. PRIDEinUtah is trying to get a copy of the coroner’s report, although even in the case of suicides those reports almost always rule accidental.

We may never know what truly was going through Colt’s mind in those final moments, but what we do know for sure is that we loved him, he will be dearly missed and we must do more for these people who feel that suicide is the only way out.

About The Author

Eric Ethington
Eric Ethington has been specializing in political messaging, communications strategy, and public relations for more than a decade. Originally hailing from Salt Lake City, he now works in Boston for a social justice think tank. Eric’s writing, advocacy work, and research have been featured on MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, CNBC, the New York Times, The Guardian, and The Public Eye magazine. He’s worked as a radio host, pundit, blogger, activist and electoral campaign strategist. Follow him on Twitter @EricEthington

Comments

52 Responses to “Another LGBT Suicide in Utah”

  1. Kyle Foote says:

    Even one is too many. Member of the LGBT Community who are suffering from a mental illness need the support of those around them to survive each and every day. Mental Illness and depression is VERY real and VERY traumatic for those who are afflicted. It is the responsibility of those of us in the community who are strong to reach out and lift up those are are suffering. Be supportive, be patient, be understanding, be persistent and don’t let another member of our community die needlessly.

  2. Devastating news Eric.

  3. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by utahpolitics, Kenna Macc, jlms_qkw Jenn, Eric Ethington, Eric Ethington and others. Eric Ethington said: @tlrd Another LGBT Suicide in Utah http://bit.ly/bfA8IR [...]

  4. terry Smith says:

    I’m so sorry. His parents and family owe it to him in death to stand up and say it like it was. No one choses the life to be Gay. It is a tough life dealing with Homophobes but it is the life given to him by God his Father for whatever reason. Gay people are born not made. I know a number of gay men and women in my work field and personal life. The ones I have developed friendships with are no different than my Hetrosexual friends. Some are funny and some are serious. Some are chubby and some are thin. Some work hard and some work harder. Most are animal lovers because most of my friends are. The ones who are parents are good parents. Most have good marriages and love and respect each other. Some are normal and happy and a few are depressed because their family does not accept who they are. Rest in Peace Colt. “Forgive them for they know not what the do.”

  5. [...] Eric Ethington, who runs the excellent LGBT site, Pride In Utah, writes, “According to friends, Colt had a fight with his father the night before he died over the Mormon faith and his refusal to be a part of it. However, his obituary reads that he was a member of the Mormon church and despite never going on a Mormon mission, the family is asking that donations be made to the Mormon Mission fund. The obituary also never makes any mention that he was gay.” [...]

  6. Travis says:

    I am hurt and saddened by this because I know his death was not because of his struggle with the church. Many of us have struggled with different things in out lives. But to come right out and say it was the church is not right. Colt is my cousin. I have talked to him about all the things that have gone on but the church was not one of the things we have talked about. It hurts me to make the jump – yes I know the family only is having a family funeral, but that is one of the things that they have chosen to do and we should respect it and not bash them when they are grieving.

  7. Laura says:

    This is so terribly sad. So many seem to be unaware of who this young man was. His family is narrow minded and I hope that they can be content in the fact that they helped end their sons, uncles, and brothers life so tragically.

  8. Jerry Warner says:

    Simply tragic. I didn’t know Colt very well but he always made me smile when I went to TryAngles…and I would never have guessed that was struggling with anything. How do we reach out to people like Colt to let them know that there are people who do care about them? Especially if we don’t know that anything is wrong?

  9. Jodene Rudolf says:

    What a sad testament to denial of the reality that is suicide. “he passed away peacefully…….after a severe bout with depression.”
    There is nothing peaceful about choosing to end ones life. It is a painful tragedy and ultimate form of rejection. So sad, so utterly, so profoundly sad and so preventable.

  10. Kai says:

    And YET the family won’t let his friends attend, won’t admit he was gay, and the ultimate insult… instead of flowers, they want donations to the stupid Mormon missionary fund! As an EX-mormon, the whole scenario is all too familiar and it just disgusts me! This poor young man is gone….

  11. [...] Pride in Utah: We have lost another beautiful life. Colt David Hansen, 28, passed away Wednesday evening after a lifelong struggle against the Mormon Church which he felt never accepted him because he was gay. [...]

  12. [...] friends at PrideinUtah.com are reporting yet another LGBT Mormon suicide today. PrideinUtah has been vigilant in getting [...]

  13. Greg Fisher says:

    I think we should attend anyway… Like a protest…

  14. [...] Eric Ethington, who runs the excellent LGBT site, Pride In Utah, writes, “According to friends, Colt had a fight with his father the night before he died over the Mormon faith and his refusal to be a part of it. However, his obituary reads that he was a member of the Mormon church and despite never going on a Mormon mission, the family is asking that donations be made to the Mormon Mission fund. The obituary also never makes any mention that he was gay.” [...]

  15. Bill Waugh says:

    I think his family had better back off saying that his friends were gay so what.
    My first impression is that the pressure came from the parents don’t be blaming the gay community they need to put the blame it really falls on his family.

    I am gay and a member of the church have been for a long time I am not judged by them.

    Instead of judging him they should have given all their love
    and supported him Thanks

  16. Patrick says:

    He wouldn’t have been depressed if the LDS would learn unconditional love. When the LDS beats in your head that it a choice and you can change, (Which is BULLSHIT) and the LDS has no clue about the gay community. They just love to throw out ignorant words that has no truth,that is the reason why gay LDS members are depressed. It’s really sad how this family is handling his death. It’s sad that the family has no love for their own child.

  17. Patrick says:

    I Just spoke with Colt dad. Rick told me and wanted me to get the word out that everyone is invited to the Funeral.
    So everyone who knows Colt go and show your love for him.

  18. Zia Taylor says:

    His story and departure, and denile of family is a story that has been told before, “Prayers for Bobby.” What is so sadly disgusting is the people of this pathetic religion do not learn a thing. I feel so badly for him…and it’s sad all of us don’t reach out to one another. Everyone in this community needs to take heed….I was at the last march in SLC, and I can see why people don’t reach out to others.

  19. Andy Anderson says:

    “When will our families learn that they must love us for who we are, and they dishonor our memories when they try to pretend we are something other than who we are.”

    As they grossly dishonor themselves and insult the God they claim to follow!
    Well, they may not care to remember Colt as he was and honor that memory, but people all over the world will do so!
    Andy [in Ireland]

  20. Little Kiwi says:

    It’s bad enough that Colt struggled in life, it’s even worse that his family now wants to BURY him in The Closet.
    Colt and I had conversed online for a while. He did indeed struggle with his family and their refusal to accept him as he is, due to the teachings of the LDS. How many many young people in Utah in the LDS “faith” have to die before you people wake up and realize the harm you inflict, and the blood you have on your hands?

    To Colt’s family, for once in your lives, do the right thing. Don’t bury him in The Closet that he never wanted to be in anyway. In death, give him the liberation and respect you never gave him in life.

  21. Stan Anick says:

    Another very sad loss due to ignorance. Those who judged him will be judged by a power much greater than we can ever imagine. Rest in peace, Colt.

  22. Froggie says:

    I’d like to donate money in his name to Pride Utah, but the donation option doesn’t allow for fill-in information. Please assist.

  23. linda lou says:

    that’s typical. blame the LDS church. Everything bad that happens, is of course, the LDS churches fault. The Catholic church, among many, many other churches share the same beliefs on homosexuality. bUT whose to blame?? Of course, it’s the Mormon church. Your so close minded and predictable. Our lives are made up of our choices. As tragic and sad as it is, Colt CHOSE to end his life. And if you want to blame someone, blame yourselves for not being better friends. You had regular contact with him. Why didn’t you do anything to help him! Shame on you. IT”S YOUR FAULT!!!!!! By the way, I’m not LDS so I’m unbias. I call it like I see it

  24. Jarom Matheson says:

    I was extremely saddened to read about his passing. He shall be missed by myself and many other members of LGBT community. I pray to God that his family will find a peace with their decision someday…

  25. Kenny says:

    When one is in pain suicide becomes an option. When one feels there is no hope or when one knows there is no hope suicide becomes an option. Suicide is an option for me as well

  26. AMA says:

    I knew Colt in middle school. He was every bit bullied and ridiculed for being gay as the current dialogue accuses. I hope that those who knew him then will reflect on their actions.

  27. Jenn Bosch says:

    I am very saddened to hear of another LDS young man ending his life in this way. While the church isn’t directly responsible in these deaths, it certainly is culpable. The teachings of the church alienate LGBT members and those with member families. Homosexuality is a choice; same-sex attraction can be overcome through faith; homosexual members must remain celibate, never being able to have fulfilling personal relationships;  Leading the prop 8 cause; these all send a clear message to LGBT people, and that message is that there is something wrong, shameful, disgusting about who they are. How can LGBT members reconcile this with their faith? How can they be accepted by their families? How can they go on to live meaningful, happy lives with the stigma the Mormons have put on them if they truly believes in the church? So much harm has been done by the church; so many families torn apart, so many lives lost. When will it end? 

  28. GamerUK says:

    One sad fact is that some parents continue to see their child’s gender identity as an ‘illness’ and, as such, a failing on their part. Denial. True Love is loving someone for who they are, whether or not it matches our own personal values.

    Another death in the GLBT community is another sad day for those left behind who know and Love unconditionally.

  29. Tara - Equality says:

    Bill- I am very happy for you that you are gay and a member of the church.. But let me tell ya, I think you just got lucky finding a good branch/ward that doesn’t judge you. We MUST be mindful in realizing it’s not like that in every branch/ward. I have been to several branches/wards and am a member with gay family. The church is very much against it.. They even have a “Help not being gay anymore rehab”!! They may not be judging you to your face, but the church on the whole (not necessarily a branch/ward) DOES believe you WILL NOT be going to the celestial kingdom and that you ARE wrong for CHOOSING to be gay. It’s not fair, but the church has a very firm stance on gays. Personally, I feel differently, I focus on the fact that God loves everyone equally, and don’t think homosexuality is a choice for everyone. So I disagree with the church. Be please be realistic, here.

    Linda Lou- I am appalled. Hey, at least you were creative enough to come up with a new group of people to blame. So, his friends should have been better friends, ey? I wonder if Colt felt the same way. Doubtful. There is a major difference between the people you CHOOSE to call yours and associate with. Most likely, the people he CHOSE to associate with were open and welcoming to the fact that he was gay. JUST assuming, I don’t know any gay person that will stick around gay bashing “friends”. Family is quite the different story. You don’t get to pick them. Now, I’m not even blaming the family here, I have no right to blame. But surely you are smart enough to realize the difference. Your post made the least sense out of all of these. I pray your understanding will increase with the knowledge and faith you seek.

    Kenny- Dear, I have been there. Suicide seems to be a way to escape all the pain. It really is not the answer. You are too precious, every human life is too precious to fall victim to suicide. It’s hard to say anything to make you feel better, I realize this, but please understand.. People DO care!! Probably more than you know. People could be picking the pieces of their lives up forever over such a difficult decision..and you would miss so many positive things to come! Please reach out for help! If you need someone to talk to, please call 1-866-4 U TREVOR or 1-800-SUICIDE. Be strong, reach out! I promise there is light at the end of the tunnel! *Hugs*

  30. Little Kiwi says:

    As one who conversed with Cole regularly about his struggles, i can say with absolute certainty that the LDS is the reason he wasn’t accepted. He worked in a gay bar, he had friends who loved him, but his family continually treated him badly and with shame, and always brought up their faith to justify it.

    In the end, I suppose, it hurt him too much. Colt’s family let him down, and the LDS let down Colt’s family.

    This is a tragedy. yet another in a long line of gay Mormon suicides….

  31. TheFightingBull says:

    I think this is the saddest thing. I am bisexual and currently with a women and I am so lucky to be accepted by my family. I wish others could be so lucky. These are not just suicides, they are a hybrid of assisted suicide/manslaughter.

    Whether born that way, made that why by abuse or chosing to be homosexual, what does it matter as long as they are truly happy and content in life? Why would anyone push their own into a lifestyle they don’t wish to be part of?

    My heart goes out to the friends and family of all those who have seen this type of tragedy.

    The intolerance must end!

  32. sonja says:

    Yes, this is a tragedy! So sad. . .

    but do you really think they should have listed in his obituary that he was gay?

    My heart also goes out to his family and friends!

  33. Sam says:

    I’ve known Colt since he was a young teenager living with his friend’s family because he was not accepted at home. I watched him grow up to be an amazing and kind gay man. Our family loved him. He was uncomfortable with his family’s church and often felt bad about himself. I do not know if his death was an accident, but I know he can’t be hurt now. I know God doesn’t make mistakes. Colt is experiencing unconditional love now. Suicide happens when pain exceeds the ability to cope. Asking him to stop being gay would be like asking him to change his eye color! Somehow this has to stop!

  34. Li Vincent says:

    Honestly out of all the people that loved Colt, that supported and represented him I thought for sure his own community would have his story right, they would have his back.
    This story honestly makes me sick.
    This isn’t news, this is hearsay from what you assume might be happening and might be the best story to relay.
    Colt’s death was NOT because of the LDS church.
    Colt’s death was NOT a suicide because of an argument with his father or because of the LDS church. What horrible things to say! I am not even LDS and this angers me.
    I am very close to Colt, he has been considered a member of my family for the past 16 years. It is true that he never felt accepted by the Mormon church because he is/was gay, but that wasn’t the cause of his death.
    Also, just to set another thing right and to get the word out there.
    IF ANYONE WANTS TO ATTEND COLT’S GRAVESIDE SERVICE, YOU ARE WELCOME TO COME!!!!
    Colt’s family -want- people to go there, they -want- people to be able to show their love for him and say goodbye to him.
    One of his parents first contacts after they found their son was to let the people at Try-Angles know what happened to him. Hell, they knew about his passing before I did!
    prideinutah.com I am disappointed in you.

  35. Diane says:

    My daughter was a classmate of Colt’s and she defended him endlessly in school. She is saddened and angry to hear that Colt is gone. She mentioned several names of the kids that bullied and harassed Colt in school. I’m sure they know who they are. She said Colt was relentlessly bullied in school and is surprised he didn’t take his own life then. I’m sure where ever Colt is now he is accepted for who he is as a person and for what he feels in his heart. I hope his family can find peace and know that Colt was a good person and loved by many.

  36. Niko says:

    I’m an active LDS and i have to say, I’m saddened that this man, Colt, died. I may not have known him, but if I had i would’ve have seen as a brother. Don’t judge the religion. Just the people. I heard someone say that the faith may be true, but the people aren’t. If you really hate all the hate in the world, then don’t HATE BACK. God loves us all, and I know that Colt’s gonna be okay, but don’t use it as an excuse to hate ANYONE. I believe strongly in our faith, and we are never encouraged to hate. So, Colt, God have mercy on their souls (those who hate in your name), for you did your part and are loved. Love, Niko

  37. Seth says:

    I am his brother and excepted him for who he is and for what he is, i never turned him down when he wanted to talk. He’s mother talked to him on a daily basis for those of you who didnt know that and tried to help him out all she could. My dad did talk to him the night before his death and was trying to build his confidence cause SOME of the people in this world was as rude to him as the people were in high school. Im not here trying to bash anyone but think it is rude you guys try to blame it on the church and my dad. Im not an active lds myself but i see the big picture and love people for what ever they choice to be gay or no it doesnt bug me at all so thanks for all your kind comments that is helping his family out with this. (this is how he wanted his funeral so those of you who think its wrong for what were doing screw you were full fillingwhat he wants)

  38. A Friend says:

    I have known Colt for many years. I have grown up with him. I have to agree with Seth. Anyone the knew Colt accepted him for the person that he is/was. He was a very great person and I will always keep him in my heart. Colt’s parents are very good people as well. I can not believe that people in this world are going to sit and blame the LDS church and the Hansen’s for his death.
    I think that people in this state think that because someone is gay, they are automatically bullied and when something bad like this happens, the ‘friends’ automatically blame the LDS church. Why is it not anyone else’s fault? Oh wait, you blame the family too. No one is to blame.
    Remember Colt for who HE IS and WAS. A great person that was a friend to all.

  39. Karen says:

    It breaks my heart about Colt, Ive known him since he was in the 6th grade he called me “Mom” Colt was funny, imaginative,serious, goofy, so many words could describe him we played hours of canasta together in 2005 every weekend for a long time, Colt was just always looking to be loved. everybody will miss him “Fly High Colt”

  40. Sam says:

    I attended Colt’s beautiful grave side service today. I want to say that I saw a family grieving for their son and brother. I saw a mother and father’s tears. Relationships are complicated. We don’t always understand each other, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t love there. My sincere condolences to Colt’s family. He sure will be missed.

  41. krissy says:

    I also attended Colts funeral and saw parents who were extremely saddened by the death of a son they dearly loved. I’ve known Colts parents and family all my life. How long have you members of utah gay pride known Colts family, up close and personal? or are your arrogant and critical judgements based on 3rd party hear say? I wonder if ALL of you had a completely harmonious relationship with your parents, 24-7, and never said a negative thing to one of your friends about your parents or other family members. Gay or not gay, I’m sure you had disagreements. Does that make your parents and family, jerks? So all the stink your constantly making(and personally, I know it’s just to get attention and make news headlines) is completely ridiculous! It doesn’t matter what church you target… it’s a plain and simple truth that God put Adam and Eve on the earth…… not Adam and Steve. Do I sound narrow minded and unknowledgable? The problem is.. I, along with a BILLION other people, gay and non-gay, are sick of your organizations always placing blame on families and religions. Yes, God loves you infinity!! He loves all of his children that much but will his word change to suit you? NO. Plain and simple. He’s not famous for keeping up with the fads.

  42. Admin (Eric) Admin (Eric) says:

    Congratulations Krissy, your bigotry are precisely the reason why LGBT youth take their own lives. Is it so hard to understand? You foolishly imagine that somehow children choose to be gay or transgender? I can’t imagine more naivete

  43. krissy says:

    All I’m saying Eric, is stop blaming families and religions. I’ll live the way I want to and you do the same. Some things I’ve done in my life haven’t been in harmony with the teachings of some of the Christian churches and I’ve suffered a few consequences as a result but I took responsibility for my own actions. I didn’t blame ANY CHURCH. They teach what they teach and no one has to be a part of it if they don’t want to. Why would you or anyone else demand that ANY church stop teaching what they believe. You want the Mormon Church to change their doctrine to please the few? Like I said…… You don’t have to belong to,or associate with any religion that doesn’t believe in the same things you do. If you were in Baptist country ( the South) you’d be having the very same issues. So lets do our own thing and stop trying to place blame.

    • Admin (Eric) Admin (Eric) says:

      You’re right Krissy. Let’s stop trying to plase blame and fix the problem behind these suicides, let’s just let them happen. These young children have no choice in being a part of these religions. They have no choice other than to listen to people constantly telling them that they must somehow change what they were born with. They have no one to turn to or talk to because their parents refuse to listen or refuse to show love.

      But you don’t really care about the desperate circumstances they find themselves, do you? All you care about is convincing yourself that somehow a 7 year old child has made a choice to be gay after growing up with heterosexual parents, heterosexual teachers and in a fiercely heterosexual world.

      Figure it out. The blame belongs on those who loaded the gun, placed it in the child’s hands and helped them hold it to their heads. Not with the minor who feels they have no choice but to pull the trigger.

  44. krissy says:

    I don’t believe the same things you do. We could talk till we’re both blue in the face and still never agree. So thanks for sharing your opinions with me. It’s been interesting. Good luck on your quest.

    • Admin (Eric) Admin (Eric) says:

      You don’t have to believe the same things I do Krissy. You can believe that homosexuality is a sin all you wish. But what we should be able to agree on is stopping the bullying and suicides and allowing to people to live even if we disagree with them. Thanks for your comments!

  45. krissy says:

    I’m strongly against bullying for ANY reason! We’ll all be held accountable one day for how we’ve treated each other. But remember… bullies are found on both sides of the fence and it’s not right no matter if your in the minority or the majority.

  46. krissy says:

    Eric, your so funny. It would’nt matter what I said. You feed off finding fault with everything said; even on things we agree on.If you told me the sky was blue and I agreed, you’d say IT IS NOT!! IT”S GRAY!!! You must get some kind of “high”, constantly finding fault. You enjoy keeping crap stirred up. Your incredibly narrow minded; your a trouble maker and it’s people like you, and specifically YOU who causes your gay friends to feel segregated because of all the crap your constantly feeding them. You LOVE that control, don’t you!!! Well, I hope and pray that one day they’ll wake up and realize your the true bad guy in all this and not their families or their religion.

  47. [...] can read more about Colt here and here, at Pride in [...]

  48. Mike says:

    Only one thing comes to mind. It’s not fair. My heart goes out to those, like myself, struggling with this.

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