Last Monday, Alex Smith, an 18-year-old openly gay Ogden, Utah resident spoke to a community panel about the dangers of bullying. Alex talked about the bullying his own boyfriend, Jack Reese, had endured as a result of living his life as an openly gay youth.
But, what no one listening that day knew, in fact, what Alex Smith himself did not know, was that Jack Reese had decided the bullying must end, and he took his own life the previous weekend.
The death of Jack Reese is the latest known suicide of a gay teen in Northern Utah, and one official told Ogden OUTreach director Marian Edmonds, off the record: “It happens here about once a week, but officially, you know, it doesn’t happen here.”
They keep it a secret so no one knows that gay kids are being bullied to death in Utah.
OUTreach will be hosting a community panel and discussion, A Community Stands up – Northern Utah Addresses LGBT Bullying and Suicide on May 1st. The purpose of the event is for the community to stand in solidarity with queer youth, to speak out and express grief and outrage at yet another loss of life in Northern Utah, and to witness for the need for immediate change in schools, churches and society.