GLAAD staffers respond to teen's suicide

Two of us GLAAD staffers in the San Francisco Media Resource Center hail from Utah, and the horrible news of Jacob Orozco's suicide hit both of us pretty hard. While queer youth have it hard everywhere, Utah has its own special brand of repression, and it exhibits itself in so many ugly ways.

I had the opportunity to meet Jacob several years ago when I did an interview with East High GSA founder Kelli Peterson for the queer youth magazine InsideOUT. Jacob was clearly highly regarded by his friends and peers in the East High School Gay/Straight Alliance. He was gentle, funny and warm-hearted.

Especially in this time of grief, I think it is critical to let those involved with the East High Gay/Straight Alliance and other lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth in Utah know that they are supported and admired for their courage, tenacity and strength. They serve as an inspiration not simply to those who will come after, but those who came before.

A memorial service for Jacob held by close friends will be held this Friday. Cards and other condolence messages can be sent to:

East High School Gay/Straight Alliance
c/o Camille Lee, Advisor
840 S. 1300 E., Salt Lake City UT 84102

In addition, anyone who wants to send a special message to Kelli Peterson can do so at:

Kelli Peterson
c/o the Utah Stonewall Center
770 S. 300 W., Salt Lake City, UT 84101

Thanks for passing this on.

Yours in struggle,

Don Romesburg

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