Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Part of the Rest of the Todd Ransom Story

Some members of the Ransom family have created a website to honor Todd's memory.

Todd's sister unequivocally states that Todd suffered from Manic Depression (Bipolar disorder) and that there were other reasons that he committed suicide other than the Church. The website is silent as to what the other reasons are, but a careful read reveals a committed intimate partner that doesn't seem to be part of the current picture. It would be interesting to know what the facts are in regards to that.

And, before you start down this path, no, I do not believe the argument flies that the family interfered with the partner's mention in the obituary or involvement in the funeral was because the family prohibited it. Why? Because the partner's family is prominently mentioned in the obituary. My guess is this person is now a former partner. More will come out on this later I supppose. People with Bipolar disorder are hell on wheels on loved ones and family members.

Go here for more a factsheet containing the following information on bipolar and suicide:

The suicide rate among individuals with bipolar disorder is the highest of any psychiatric illness. Last I heard this was not a "gay disease."

-Bipolar disorder is associated with an increased risk of suicide.
-Nearly half of all U.S. suicidal deaths each year are in patients with bipolar disorders.
-Their risk for suicide is more than 20 times that of the general population.
-Of particular concern is that attempts made by bipolar patients have about a 1-in-5 chance of being lethal, compared to a 1-in-20 chance within the general population.

And to go over plowed ground again-Handgun? Substance Abuse?


  1. My guess is this person is now a former partner.

    One of the people who spoke at the vigil was (if I read between the lines correctly) the partner you refer to, and the impression I got was that they were no longer together when Todd took his life. So I believe your guess is correct.

    It's been interesting to me to watch the aftermath of Todd's suicide... Many immediately leaped to the conclusion that it had something to do with his family, or his religion, but it was apparent to me at the vigil, as friends and family spoke, that neither of those was a major source of conflict in his life.

    As the dust settled, and especially in the days following the vigil, a lot more was said about community and love than about who or what was to blame for his suicide. Many of these responses were beautiful and touching.

    I do think that there is a reason so many were so quick to conclude (erroneously, it seems) that the church was to blame for his death. The fact is that many young people do turn to suicide as (in their perception) the only way to resolve the conflict between belief and orientation.

    Do I believe that the church is "to blame" for these deaths? Not really--I think that in virtually every case, suicide victims are ill in some way or another (bipolar, manic depressive, etc.).

    That said, I do believe that the church can do more than it's currently doing to promote love and acceptance and understanding. Currently the preferred approach is to ignore homosexuality as much as possible, and take political stances against its normalization, which many members unfortunately interpret as license to be a bit less than Christlike toward their gay brothers and sisters.

    The church doesn't kill these young people, but it could do more to save them, in my opinion.

  2. Thanks for your comment Scott. I'm going to stay with this story and see how it plays out over the months ahead. I think you are right when you say "the Church doesn't kill these young people, but it could do more to save them . . ." and I think this could be applied in a much larger sense to the whole suicide rate issue in Utah and other places which brings me back to means reduction, particularly the handgun issue and the gun culture within the Church,in the West, and the attitude of fatalism so many espouse on both sides of the gay suicide issue. But, I have no idea how Todd took his life, so that discussion is not for the here and now. I think there is an activism component here as well that could be dissected, but again, for another time.

  3. I knew Todd socially, but not close. He was very popular here in SLC and very well liked by prettymuch everyone that I knew of. I know he wasn't a drug user, I don't think he even drank alcohol. I do know that he FELT that his family didn't accept him. He also seemed to be one of the many humans who have a hard time accepting themselves. Those factors along with his superior intellect, acute sensitivity, alone are a dangerous combination here in Utah."Great thinkers have always encountered opposition from mediochre minds." Albert Einstein. Utah is a great example of that.

    While I agree that neither the LDS church nor the Ransom family can be blamed for his death, I can say that the LDS church sure didn't help. It's hard to ignore the suicide rates here. I've The general attitude I get is "Fit in or get out." At my work the I have actually heard people gossip about my morning cup of coffee. They didn't even bother to get out of earshot to gossip about me, but they make sure to whisper when they are discussing their antidepressant medications. Fabric cubicle walls are not efficient at muffling sound. While Utah has a huge lgbt community, there is still a very "us versus them" feelingThe LDS church does what I've come to know as common LDS practice: Smile to your face and stab you in the back.

    The fact that I know exactly what his suicide note was referencing and wasn't "cryptic" at all makes me realize that we had a lot more in common than I thought.