Jack Reese, a gay Utah teen, took his
own life last week allegedly over anti-gay bullying.
Alex Smith discussed the torment his boyfriend faced at school during
an Ogden community panel on Monday. Smith described the dangers of
bullying, unaware that Reese had already succumbed to them.
Reese, 17, died on Sunday, April 22 and
was laid to rest on Friday.
“Jack was very good with computers
and loved to play his X-Box games,” an
obituary states. “He enjoyed skiing, four wheeling in the
mountains and working with plants. Jack loved animals and will miss
his cat, Cat. He was also very good with kids and loved taking care
of them. Jack was learning to speak Japanese and loved anything to
do with Japan. He was also very good at drawing and photography.”
The local chapter of Parents, Families
and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) mourned Reese's passing.
“The local chapter of PFLAG along
with a broader caring group of adults have been working together
tirelessly to address issues of the importance of family acceptance
to the youth of this community and similar communities all over the
state,” Liz Own, director of communications for PFLAG National,
said in a statement. “Sadly, the death of Jack Reese is a reminder
that there is still much work to be done.”
Gay rights advocate OUTreach
will host A Community Stands Up – Northern Utah Addresses LGBT
Bullying and Suicide to address the issue of anti-gay bullying.
A candlelight vigil in memory of Reese will close the May 1 event.
“It is time for local schools to
incorporate proven techniques for eliminating bullying and
homophobia, for churches to preach love and acceptance, and for
parents and families to love and accept their children,” Marian
Edmonds, executive director of OUTreach, said in a statement. “Each
loss of life is a loss for all of us, and it must stop now.”