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Thursday, February 25, 2010

In Memoriam

Instead of continuing the current series as planned, I’ve elected for a day of silence in memory of Stuart Matis, a gay Mormon who shot himself on the steps of his meetinghouse in Palo Alto, CA ten years ago today (Feb. 25, 2000).

In honor of his parents wishes not to politicize his death on this day, I leave you with links to other posts remembering him and his own words (taken from these sites):

"I implore the students at BYU [Brigham Young University] to re-assess their homophobic feelings. Seek to understand first before you make comments. We have the same needs as you. We desire to love and be loved. We desire to live our lives with happiness. We are not a threat to you or your families. We are your sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, neighbors, co-workers and friends, and most importantly, we are all children of God."

"Perhaps my death … might become the catalyst for much good. I’m sure that you will now be strengthened in your resolve to teach the members and the leaders [of the Church] regarding the true nature of homosexuality." (letter to family, Los Altos Town Crier)

"The church has no idea that as I type this letter, there are surely boys and girls on their calloused knees imploring God to free them from this pain. They hate themselves. They retire to bed with their finger pointed to their head in the form of a gun. The church's involvement in the Knight initiative [prop 22] will only add to the great pain suffered by these young gay Mormons." (letter to cousin weeks before his death)

"Straight members have absolutely no idea what it is like to grow up gay in this church. It is a life of constant torment, self-hatred and internalized homophobia." (same letter to cousin).

Accounts:
Requiem for a Gay Mormon: In memory of Henry Stuart Matis
Henry Stuart Matis (1967-2000)
To Be Gay — And Mormon (Newsweek)

Others’ Reactions:
I Will Remember You
Dear Stuart
Remembering Stuart
When Heavy Wings Grow Lighter
The Matis Statement
No Such Thing as a Coincidence?

6 comments:

C.J. said...

How horribly sad. It's hard to imagine what could make someone choose suicide, to feel that hopeless. My heart goes out to his family.

Anonymous said...

I think that its sad that anyone would co-op his memory for their own selfish agenda. I think his parents have suffered enough and have done more then most of us to show true love to those who struggle.

green and purple said...

Anonymous, are you saying that GMB shouldn't have posted this? I had not heard of this young man, so I am glad that GMB shared this with us. Is acceptance of all people a "selfish agenda"?

Bravone said...

I too have been thinking about Stuart and his family all day, all week. I believe his death, as tragic as it was, has brought about much good as people examine his story and as his parents continue to reach out in love to us.

A Gay Mormon Boy said...

Thank you all for your concern. I was really down yesterday thinking about this (which is unusual for me).

I agree wholeheartedly that much good has come out of this tragedy. His parents welcome people to their home every month to provide spiritual and social support to others affected by the kind of torment Stuart and they themselves felt/feel. More info here: http://northstarlds.org/matisfiresides.php

Anonymous said...

Take it from someone who can expect nothing from their faith, except out right rejection, dead on the church steps is better than clinging to the horns of the altar praying for redemption.
A

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