On the Suicide of Chris Beers: A Call to Action
by Joshua Howard Behn
President, Affirmation: Gay & Lesbian Mormons
My brothers and sisters,
It has been a rough week. On March 18, Chris Wayne Beers, of Woods Cross Utah, took his life, yet another in a long line of LGBT Mormons who felt that they had no other option left to them. We don’t know the particular circumstances of his situation. It is possible that Chris was a perfectly well adjusted gay man who was struggling with complex mental health conditions unrelated to his orientation. However it might have been, as a gay Mormon Chris faced the same issues that we all have, trying to make sense of the world we experience with the teachings and societal reinforcement we are taught. LGBT Mormons are in a particularly vulnerable high risk category.
It is days like these where it is well within our right to feel anger and helplessness, wondering if we are truly making a difference: a mere ripple in a wide and vast ocean. I can tell you without a doubt, that what we are doing is definitely making a difference. It is through small and simple things that great things come to pass. Within chaos theory there is the idea that “a butterfly flaps its wings in California and creates a monsoon in China,” and so it is with Affirmation.
There is much more work to be done however, and I am personally asking for your help in this endeavor. Not on the national level, but rather, within the communities you live.
I want to challenge you to commit to two hours this coming month of April, devoting it to any local cause which seeks to better the lives of LGBT individuals. Not to give money, but to give of your own time. Each of us has the power to make a big difference, together creating engines of change.
Will you accept this challenge? There are other Chris Beers in this world who desperately need us. If Affirmation at all has had an impact in your life, put down the iPhone; turn off the Radio; skip the football game. And for two hours, reignite the flame of hope in the very heart of your home community.
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