Colt David Hansen: Clash with Mormon faith leads to another LGBT suicide in Utah

Colt David Hansen

Colt David Hansen

Colt David Hansen

SALT LAKE CITY — We have lost another beautiful life. Colt David Hansen, 28, passed away Wednesday evening after a lifelong struggle against the Mormon Church which he felt never accepted him because he was gay.

According to friends, Colt had a fight with his father the night before he died over the Mormon faith and his refusal to be a part of it. However, his obituary reads that he was a member of the Mormon church and despite never going on a Mormon mission, the family is asking that donations be made to the Mormon Mission fund.

The obituary also never makes any mention that he was gay.

Colt’s family is refusing to let his friends attend the funeral, presumably presided over by a Mormon Bishop, calling it a private family affair.

The Utah LGBT community will remember Colt for who he was. A beautiful, intelligent young man who worked for several years at Try-Angles, beloved by many.

When will our families learn that they must love us for who we are, and they dishonor our memories when they try to pretend we are something other than who we are.

There will be a memorial for the community held at Club Try-Angles this Sunday, I believe, at 4 p.m. but I haven’t confirmed that yet.

Here’s the text of the official obituary:

Colt David Hansen
BORN: May 22, 1982
DIED: Nov 3, 2010
LOCATION: Salt Lake City, UT

Our beloved son, brother, grandson, and uncle passed away peacefully in Salt Lake City, Utah on November 3, 2010 after a severe battle with depression. He was born May 22, 1982 in Payson, Utah to Ricky Duane and Connie Beckstrom Hansen. Colt graduated from Spanish Fork High School in 2000.

Colt loved being around his friends and family. He loved his niece and nephews dearly. He had a big heart and was kind and thoughtful. He loved to laugh out loud and liked to work on computers. Colt loved his dogs, Kasha and Travis. He was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Colt is survived by his loving parents, Rick and Connie Hansen; siblings, Cody Hansen, Adrienne Prestwich, Shad (Sammi) Hansen, and Seth Hansen; nephews, Tanner and Brayden Prestwich, Laton and Ryan Hansen, Tyrell Russell, and a niece, Mylie Prestwich; grandparents, Billy and Joanne Williams; and many aunts, uncles, and cousins. He was preceded in death by grandparents, Merrill and LaRue Beckstrom, and Duane Hansen.

Our son, brother, and uncle holds a special place in our hearts and will be missed daily. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the LDS Church Missionary Fund.

Graveside services will be held on Tuesday, November 9, 2010 at 1:00 p.m. at the Spanish Fork City Cemetery, 420 South 400 East, Spanish Fork, Utah. There will be a family viewing at Walker Mortuary, 187 South Main Street, Spanish Fork, Utah from 11:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. prior to the graveside service.

Earlier this year, Todd Ransom, a 28 year-old gay man from Orem, Utah, also committed suicide. Friends reported at the time that Ransom also struggled to reconcile his sexual orientation with his Mormon upbringing.

Update: Saturday, 11/6/10:

I want to add another personal note to this. Colt’s story was posted Friday after I spoke with 3 different friends who all told me the same story as you see above. Since then however, I’ve heard from 2 others who say that his death may have been an accidental overdose, rather than intentional. PRIDEinUtah is trying to get a copy of the coroner’s report, although even in the case of suicides those reports almost always rule accidental.

We may never know what truly was going through Colt’s mind in those final moments, but what we do know for sure is that we loved him, he will be dearly missed and we must do more for these people who feel that suicide is the only way out.

Update: Monday, 11/8/10:

Over the weekend, new details emerged about Colt’s death -– and an incredibly moving and touching memorial was held at Try-Angles in Salt Lake City.

After PRIDEinUtah’s post on Friday about Colt, more and more of Colt’s dearest friends have come forward with different stories than what was originally told to me. I want to thank each and every person who contacted me wanting to share their story, it’s a tribute to how wonderful of a man Colt was. I wanted to take a moment this morning to share everything that I have received so you can make judgements for yourselves.

#1 – The fight between Colt and his Father the night before. It was originally told to PRIDEinUtah that the fight was over the Mormon (LDS) religion. It looks like this has been disproven, and the fight was over some private family matters which I don’t think I should post here.

#2 – Was his death a suicide? This is mostly likely going to be a grey area permanently. Half of Colt’s friends (including the ones who initially spoke with PRIDEinUtah last week) are saying it was a suicide, but the other half are saying his overdose on depression and surgery medications was an accident. The simple fact is we may not ever find out which it was. We are still trying to see the coroner’s report, but we are told the cause of death is still undetermined. However, after speaking with several health professionals we have been advised that even if it was suicide, the cause of death will almost always still be listed as accidental.

#3 – The parents do not want friends to attend the funeral. This was both true and false it seems. The family initially announced that it would be a family-only affair, prompting our story on Friday. Since then however his family has come out saying that they only did that because they didn’t think anyone would come. Any friends of Colt who would like to attend will be more than welcomed by the family. However this still doesn’t change the facts of how they handled the obituary, or that they are asking for donations to the Mormon Mission Fund in Colt’s name.

When it comes down to it though folks, none of this really matters. What matters is that we have lost an incredibly wonderful person in our community. The outpouring at his memorial at Try-Angles last night was incredibly beautiful, so many of Colt’s friends and co-workers shared personal stories about how he brightened their lives. I was in tears by the end, and was reminded of what’s really important. It’s not the details of someone’s death that count. It’s remembering who they were, and renewing your personal pledge to be the best friend you can be so that hopefully one day we can end these senseless deaths.

Rest in peace Colt, you will be dearly missed and you were dearly loved.

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