Lance Lundsten, Gay 18-Year-Old High Schooler, Takes His Life (Update: Death May Not Have Been Suicide)

After a brief recess in a string of horrible losses comes word 18-year-old Jefferson High School senior Lance Lundsten, of Miltona, Minnesota, has taken his own life. UPDATE: A preliminary autopsy says Lance’s death may not have been suicide at all, but the result of cardiac edema, a condition caused by an enlarged heart. UPDATE 2: The original “enlarged heart” theory was floated by his father. The medical examiner now says this was not the cause of death.

undsten, who was openly gay, was bullied in school because of it, his friends claim on the young man’s Facebook memorial page, which is closed to the public.

(In a separate incident, Tiffani Maxwell of Pennsylvania reportedly shot herself on Saturday morning after being tormented in school, though it appears it wasn’t related to her sexuality.)

Authorities responded on Saturday evening to an emergency at Lundsten’s house; he was pronounced dead later at a hospital. His suicide follows fellow Minnesotan Justin Aaberg, the 15-year-old who took his life in July.

With friends claiming he was tormented at Jefferson High, I’m waiting for Principal Chad Duwenhoegger to make a statement.

His funeral will be Tuesday at 7:30pm in Alexandria. We’ll have more as more details come in.

UPDATE: It’ll take at least six weeks for a toxicology report to come back, but for now Lance’s family is saying no drugs or alcohol was involved in his death, and “preliminary autopsy results that were shared with the family [conclude] he died from cardiac edema, a condition caused by an enlarged heart,” reports the Echo Press.

UPDATE 2: The medical examiner’s preliminary autopsy report reveals Lance did not die from an enlarged heart; while his heart was slightly enlarged, it was not the cause of death.

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  • Gorbeh

    Nooooooooooooo! :(

    I’m from Minnesota, it’s sad when anyone takes their life, but when it’s so close to home it feels so much more chilling.

  • Cam

    18, he was almost ready to graduate and get out of that school, 4 more months or so. This is so sad.

  • Riker

    To think what this young man had waiting for him after leaving that hell hole and living the life he wanted. Painful. I couldn’t wait to get away from such ignorance and stupidity, and it does get much much better. Teens, hang in there – you have a great life waiting for you, and your dumb classmates aren’t worth taking your life over. No one is.

  • justiceontherocks

    People rarely commit suicide for one reason alone. It’s very important to have family and friends who are a strong supportive network. I hope the “It gets better” campaign will wake up the families of gay teens.

  • NicholasBandur

    @Gorbeh: I agree with you im from minnesota and it hurts hearing how close to home it is it is very chilling and painful to hear i was tormented and given daily death threats so trust me i agree its no fun

    what i dont get is i go through huge depression phases……but i never take my own life……

  • Max Campbell

    justiceonthecrap, yep, stupid cretin=))) all this campaigns totally empty!

  • Hyhybt

    Is this the famous “Minnesota Nice” I’ve heard about? Sounds a lot like the not-at-all-nice you can get anywhere else.

    (and yes, I know it’s unfair to implicate the whole state, and I don’t really mean it, as such. But I’d just been thinking over that phrase and then read this…)

  • Max Campbell

    It is necessary to conduct tolerance lessons from the first classes of school. As in Europe! Teachers should say to children that homosexuality and bisexuality it is totally normal.
    Also it is necessary to toughen punishment for any displays of a homophobia!

  • greenmanTN


    I’m getting so sick and tired and disgusted at these news stories because of the terrible waste of life and potential. I was a bullied teen too so I understand the pressure, the fear, the hopelessness and the depression and obviously the bullies and the school systems bear a lot (most) of the blame, but I can’t help feeling a little angry at the kids who kill themselves too.

    The “It Gets Better” campaign is great, and true, but maybe it’s a little vague and wishy-washy for some teens. Promising that eventually, at some undisclosed point in the future, things will improve is a little too open ended. It’s an appeal to their hope and their patience, which is something far too many of them have in short supply, and there’s a primary question it doesn’t answer. WHEN does it get better?

    Another thing I remember from when I was a bullied teen, feeling like the only Indian at the OK Corral, was how FURIOUS I was, how goddamn angry I was at how I was treated and how it was ignored and sometimes even added to by teachers. It *does* get better, really, but how about this to tide you ever until it does? DON’T LET THE ASSHOLES WIN!!!

  • paulD

    What a goddam shame. Poor kid. I feel sorry for his family and loved ones, who are left with grief and anger over what seems to be a senseless and preventable act.

  • Devon

    Tragic. Even more so when you consider he was only a few months away from getting the hell out of high school.

    This is the problem with the it gets better campaign…As great as it is, the idea that it gets better at some vague point in the possibly very distant future doesn’t do a whole lot for the kids who have to deal with being tormented on a daily basis right now.

  • kayla

    ….I know some people will probably be pissed at me for suggesting this….but as a 21 year old, and someone who not so long ago was a teenager….I’m getting the weird feeling that all these stories and images of kids who’ve committed suicide might…in a weird way be glamorizing it…….I just think that there’s something quite uneasy about this whole thing….a kid kills himself…his picture ends up on CNN, Cooper and Dr. Phil ruminate…people talk about how awful it is…then it happens again…press repeat…. Teenagers have a very, very warped sense of reality…..just my unimportant 2 cents…..

  • paulD

    @kayla: I have to disagree wholeheartedly. I believe suicide comes from a place of total frustration, desperation, and helplessness. Not from an urge to be a story on CNN. In any event, the result is totally dis-spiriting.

  • greenmanTN

    (Crap. I must have hit because that was posted before I was done.)

    Stay alive just to piss them off. Are you really going to give control of your life, throw away your life, because of a bunch of teenage shit-heads?! Don’t tell your mom to make their life hell in your suicide note, YOU stick around and make their life hell! If your parents are part of the problem here’s a little lesson from nature. You’re their replacement and you don’t have to be, you’re not SUPPOSED to be, their clone! If you stick around you will most likely outlive them because that’s how it’s supposed to be. So take what’s good about them and jettison the rest because you have a stronger claim on the future than they do; from the moment you were born they were on their way out the door to make room for you.

    There’s another little part to being bullied that most people don’t talk about. If you make it through you will be a stronger person than many others. It takes a little grit, some irritation and pain, to make a pearl.

    And if part of you is thinking “Boy, they’re REALLY gonna feel bad about what they did to me when they find out I killed myself,” here’s a newsflash: You won’t be around to enjoy it! Maybe you’ll make the local news and a few blogs, get a page in the yearbook or some such crap, but you’ll still just be a footnote in the “book of life” when you could have written your own goddamn chapter. IT doesn’t magically get better, YOU have to make it better, so stop feeling sorry for yourself and get to work.

  • rodrigo

    As already mentioned, to those teens that are out there feeling lonely and sad, HANG IN THERE! It does get better. There are many resources for YOUR use, so don’t be afraid to use them. Among them are hotlines (Trevor project and others), online chats and maybe you own LGBT alliance in your school. You are not alone. As bad as it may seem with all the taunting, the teasing and perhaps every day agony, one day you will leave high school and you won’t see those people ever again. Your life is so worth it…

  • kayla

    @paulD: As someone who contemplated suicide as a teenager, you wouldn’t believe the crap that makes kids want to kill themselves… I look back at how trivial the shit was and I can’t believe I actually thought being dead might be better….kids are stupid!!

  • tjr101

    There must be more to this story, very sad nonetheless. He was 18 and so close to graduation. I was bullied as a teenager (it wasn’t persistent, but ever so often) and never once did the thought of killing myself come to mind, not once. I don’t know maybe it was an internal optimism I had about life and teenagers today need to take one day at a time. High school can be hell but it’s just a chapter in your life.

  • Franky

    Very sad for Lance, and also Tiffani, 2 more young people who don’t see how things could possibly get better. It’s truly tragic whenever any young kid kills himself or attempts suicide. That shows a level of hopelessness and despair that I personally cannot begin to possibly understand on such a grave level. It get’s better videos have been a major help for so many kids, gay and straight alike, who are at need for support. But, the videos only go so far. Kids don’t need to know it get’s better, they need to be loved at that moment, they need support then in those times when they are alone, and kids like Lance don’t have that. Telling them to wait isn’t a viable option. They are desperate and in living conditions where things are seemingly getting no better—-if not even worse, as they get older.

    Also, it get’s better videos may not reach places in small town Minnesota or small town Pennsylvania. It’s going to take more than that to prevent anti-gay bullying, and bullying of all kinds, since as we’ve seen most of these suicides have happened on the outskirts of cities or in rural areas, and these schools generally do not report bullying for fear of lawsuits or backlash from parents. It’s going to take a social change so kids won’t ever feel in the position where ending their life is an option.

  • Franky

    This is one of the first gay suicides we’ve heard from publicly (if there have been others, sadly I’m sure there have been a few) since the tragic spat of suicides we saw during the fall. Lance was just a few months from being out of H.S. It’s so damn sad that his life ended like this. My heart goes out to his loved ones. Hopefully this doesn’t start another spat of suicides. And, although I hate to think like this, hopefully the suicide of Lance, and also the attempted suicide of Tiffani, lead people to make changes in these small communities, and recognize that all human lives need to be valued, and especially the kids. Most of these areas are extremely clickish and extremely hostile to the outsider, and it’s a very destructive mentality that needs to be highlighted and forcibly changed.

  • Fitz

    I am angry. At the kids who bullied him, and at the rest of us who weren’t there to catch him, and at him– for giving up right before the miracle was about to happen. :(

  • Susan

    How incredibly sad.:( Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem! To all teens, gay and straight, if you are having problems, pleeeeeeease talk to someone and please KNOW that it WILL get better!!!!

  • TommyOC

    There must have been an update to the article after publishing, cuz I don’t know how the following could not have been mentioned in the original post…

    From the SAME news article quoted above:

    “Lance’s father called KSAX and said he received a call from the coroner saying Lance had an enlarged heart and died of a coronary edema. He said it was not a suicide.

    He also said there were no signs of drugs or alcohol in his system, but the toxicology report has not been finished according the medical examiner’s office. The medical examiner’s office also said they had no comment about the phone call to Lance’s father.”

  • GregorVonK

    @kayla: I’d say the wording of your 2nd posting is a bit “unfortunate” but the sentiment is valid. Many teens (gay and straight) consider suicide at some point, often for reasons they can’t begin to fathom years later. It’s the classic “What was I THINKING.” The important thing is to convince all vulnerable teens to keep on THINKING and LIVING.

    The phenomenon of copy-cat suicides is a well documented one. I recall, back in the 80s, there were teen suicides after the airing of a TV film (with Molly Ringwald and Marsha Mason)about teen suicide. In other words, something that was supposed to help (and may well have done just that for some kids) also inspired other kids to take the (final) plunge.

    And that’s nothing new, Johann W. von Goethe’s novel THE SORROWS OF YOUNG WERTHER seems to have inspired a rash of suicides among young sensitive Europeans who succumbed to “Werther Fever” in the mid-1770s.

    I have a concern that the “It Gets Better” campaign may not be reaching out to everyone who needs to hear the message. It’s entirely possible that kids w/ “multiple issues” may become all the more despairing after hearing that message. What if they can’t go to college (not an unlikely scenario these days) or find some other way to “get of town”? Yes, some spunky ones will head out to a major metropolis with $25 in their pockets, but others may feel stuck in their unwelcoming hometown.

  • Vic Kohring

    I am 52 years old and I still get bullied. And I am not gay, but people think I am because of my demeanor, i.e., (PTSD) from childhood. Shame on anyone that says, “get over it and quit feeling sorry for yourself.” Suicide is a rational alternative to not seeing a way out or feeling like one has anything to give to the tribe. Hopelessness. i know this feeling. You have no way of knowing another’s pain.

  • Pip

    Wow, if THAT guy was bullied to death there isn’t much hope for the rest of us. Minnesota needs some serious intervention.

  • Vic Kohring

    I am 52 years old and I still get bullied. And I am not gay, but people think I am because of my demeanor, i.e., (PTSD) from childhood. Shame on anyone that says, “get over it and quit feeling sorry for yourself.” Suicide is a rational alternative to not seeing a way out or feeling like one has nothing to give to the tribe. Hopelessness. i know this feeling. You have no way of knowing another’s pain.

  • Adonis-of-Fire

    Poor sweet boy, lost beyond he achieved his potential
    May the one who is all compassion and unconditional love have him in its bliss.

  • justiceontherocks

    From the updated KSAX online article:

    The Sheriff’s Office confirmed to KSAX that they believed Lundsten’s death was a suicide. The Sheriff’s Office would not confirm the nature of the medical emergency.

    The father said the coroner told him his son had an enlarged heart which led to his death.

    It’s all very odd.

  • Blackmattachine

    RIP Lance, Tiffani et al.

  • DR

    @Vic Kohring:

    Suicide is *never* rational.

    @John S:

    This is odd. One of three things is going on here…. He died from natural causes and friends panicked thinking it was a suicide; parents are covering up the whole gay thing to save face; or both health issues and suicide. I’m having an issue three because of the lack of evidence of drugs, alcohol, or any physical trauma, and I’m not sure his parents would be so cold-hearted to make up a medical condition to save face.


  • Hans

    of course he was bullied, he looks like a huge fag

  • justiceontherocks

    @Hans: Too bad he didn’t have a class act like you for a role model.

  • kae

    Poor, poor boy. God knows what he must have been going through to reach that point. Terribly sad. Society is failing these kids.

  • Scott

    It’s terrible how a lot of the conservative a-holes from around that area are probably thinking right now that Mr. Lundsten killed himself because he WAS gay. The fact of the matter is that he had ZERO support! That’s what happens when you get rejected! SAD! 2011 and gay kids are still being bullied/ostracized in schools.

  • jckfmsincty

    America, hate your gay children until it’s your gay child.

  • Eminent Victorian

    God dammnit.

  • Never2Late

    Our country really-really needs systems in place just for gay teens! There is such a lack of awareness and concern in the school systems. There is no watch dog for gay teens. Gay teens rely on peers and at times trusted faculty for support. Until organized religion takes a back seat, our public schools will never have the much needed systems in place to help protect, educate and support our gay teens! Very sad for the most powerful country on the planet………not so powerful if we can’t help the ones who need it most! I’m flat disgusted as an American!

  • John

    how boring. another adult who choses to quit.

    honestly, who cares.

    i don’t care about those out there hurting themselves doing drugs, bug chasing, or getting obese so why should i care about these weakling that i’ll never run into?

  • Jeffree

    You asked “Who cares?”
    My answer is: I care, because sui.cide is a permanent answer to a residual problem.

    That person who kil.led himself could have been me, my son, you, or your son.

    Have some measure of compassion for someone else who sees no other options.

    Until you can express some empathy, you’re just a sad piece of self-hatred who cannot imagine how much it hurts just to be a gay man in a majority str8 world.

  • Mark

    @John: John you are a complete idiot. who cares? you don’t care if a promising young man kills himself? and if it was your son? would you care then? you share part of the blame, because of your apathy. you helped kill him.

  • djmonty89

    This is a sad thing and there should be more support in the high schools for students who are being bullied no matter what. Students should never fear going to school or feel their only way out is death.

  • John


    OK, with my apathy I gladly take credit for the death of this loser and gay losers who chose to quit and not fight.

    If any loser who wishes to leave this earth and not be part of the living and makes no effort to fight it out, then by all means die.

    How am I sad or full of self hatred? If only I had HALF of the resources available to gay youth at this point in time. Coming out in this decade is easy compared to in the early 90s.


    If my son were gay and bullied, I’d teach him to how defend himself and FIGHT back.

    You two idiots need to wake up. After all those losers who killed themselves had their 15 mins in the fame, celebrities and gay activists made the IT GETS BETTER PROGRAM and how much exposure, attention, and awareness did that achieve?

    Bullying is never going to end. I was bullied for being the smallest futbol player in my Futbol [Soccer] team by my own team mates but I stuck it out and sure enough, my performance spoke for itself.

    How many NORMAL teens deal with being bullied for being fat, their race, or suffer pressure for being perfect?

    Gay youths need to stop being coddled and need a swift kick in the ass.

    I doubt these gay weak faggots could have ever grown a back bone and kicked some ass like those at Stonewall.

  • ron

    Naming your child Lance should constitute child abuse.

  • second_thought

    I WISH I was 18 and gay in 2011. Instead, I got to turn 18 in 1984. Let me tell you about 1984…no Internet, no cell phones, no gay rights, the concept of even gay “civil unions” was laughable, and HIV WAS a death sentence. I hate to be the old fart who says “kids these days…”, but seriously they don’t have a fraction of the terror and stress I went through. I don’t want to piss on this kid’s grave too much, but some people need to grow a spine. The world owes you nothing.

  • jason

    We need to get activist. We need to stop squandering our energies on gay bars and gay saunas and gay dance clubs. These things don’t represent progress. They’re parties, not progress.

    We need to adopt the mentality of the 60’s generation. Sit-ins, shouting, placards, boycotts…you name it. We need to name and shame. We need to be in-your-face. Who amongst us will do this?

  • DR


    Oh, knock it off with the religion meme already. Half the Churches in my city are open and affirming and would gladly take this kids like this in and offer them support. Even the MENNONITE church is welcoming. Put your broad paintbrush away, your stereotypes are annoying me to no end.

    Once again a BOQ with the lame assumptions.


    We know how hard it can be, and hey, we’re still alive and kicking. Although I’m not going to be as blunt as John or Second_Thought, they both have points. I came out in 1990, took several months for my frat brothers to get used to the idea, and the only other two gay men on campus were both theater majors with whom I had no connection. Same with the gay professors. I went it alone, in terms of community, but had a lot of support from my friends.

    When do we stop crying and start reminding these kids that this is a permanent decision? When do we stop applauding like seals because someone made a video and start teaching kids how to be strong? When do we stop demanding that the US turn into a mommy-state and start standing up for ourselves?

  • justiceontherocks

    @ John – you are an incredibly mean-spirited and shallow loser yourself. You dump on a kid you don’t know without the benefit of a single fact to support your assumptions.

    But thanks for sharing your one size fits all stupidity with us. Feel free to leave now – at least this blog.

  • John


    I’m now shallow. I’m vain because I work out and pride myself on looking amazing in a towel at Bathhouse or square cut trunks in Gay Days in Orlando.

    I’m not a loser because I love myself and what I do for a living [Marine].

    I’m not mean-spirited. I just won’t feel sorry for people who make decisions that harm themselves. Whats next? Me feel sorry for girls who are stupid and get themselves pregnant to be on MTV’S TEEN MOM? Better yet, I should feel bad for gay youth that takes Crystal Meth and gets AIDS right?

    As for my assumptions needing facts… this article is about an 18 year old ADULT who killed himself because he was bullied for being gay.

    I was bullied for being gay and still get crap for it in the military but I don’t let it get me down.

    I’m not nearly as lucky as this kid to be gay in 2010 when being gay is such a mainstream thing.

    You can choose to feel sorry for this kid and feel anger towards me but the fact of the matter is I’m ALIVE, GAY, and FIGHTING while this loser is DEAD.

    I’m so sick of the LGBT making excuses because how many gays to do we know that went through far worst and managed to make it out OK?

    I’m the a$$$hole though? OK. Well, between GLEE showing how cool it is to be gay, popular pop artist making gay anthems, the internet, The Trevor Project, It Get’s Better PSAs, and the VARIOUS amounts of outlet gay youths have, what the hell else can one do other then physically be there to stop these gay weakling from killing themselves?

    But OK, go ahead, call me names and by all means, go out there and do something even though short of making every other person gay I don’t see what anyone could possible do now a days to make gay youth feel accepted.

  • robert

    @Jeffree…. we came out at the same time..1990 and yet for some reason I have more empathy for these kids committing suicide than you. It was not easy for me back then as well..there were no openly gay students at the law school I went to in the midwest and all of my friends were white,while I am african american and and all were 10-12 years younger than me. My mom had caught me in a suicide attempt years earlier. The sound of her tears and my faith kept me alive nothing more or less. you and the other posters who have said basically that committing suicide is a lack of backbone belie your ignorance about what that act entails and what it means when someone even thinks about it. No one competent in the mental health field shares your views or that of john or second thought and that is a good thing..

  • Soupy

    John, vain and shallow? Why aren’t you on that gay A list show on Logo? Oh, they already have a Reichan.

  • John


    While I disliked Reichan, at least he is prior service and alive.

  • justiceontherocks

    @John: I didn’t say you are vain but thanks for making that abundantly clear.

    Not that idiots like you ever bother themselves with facts, but there is a real doubt that this young man committed suicide. Is he a loser if he died of an enlarged heart as the coroner indicates?

    And yes, you are a loser: a self-righteous know it all who is bitter because life passed you by. And I’m willing to be you look ridiculous, not “amazing” when you prance around Orlando.

    Lance Lundsten was more man than you’ll ever be. Go troll somewhere else.

  • John


    Well, now that the article has been fixed by Queerty, then I take back my comments regard LANCE LUNDSTEN being a loser BUT I feel that applies to any gay youth who takes their own life.

    I never said I was a know it all nor do I claim to be.

    I am not bitter and life has not passed me by. I’m only 35 and feel that life is only getting better for me and mine but I since you are making assumptions on me, I bet 35 is old in your book huh?

    As for looking “ridiculous” because I diet, work out, and try to achieve a body look that is more Samuel O’Toole and less Matthew Rush, then OK, I accept this ridiculous label. My career in the military requires me to be in shape and I enjoy looking muscular. You can make fun of me for “prancing” around in Orlando during Gay Days but you go ahead and inspire gay youth to not kill themselves while I drink cocktails and engage in great times outdoors at the pool parties and then dance my ass off at the Arabian Nights dance party all before heading back to my hotel rooms for hot, steamy, anamalistic sex romps.

    I never said I was a model or perfect but yes, I’m vain in that I want to always have my V cut, abs, and biceps bulging and to make sure my calves and ass are always plump and firm.

    I enjoy my life and have no hang ups regarding it, myself, or anyone who actually bothers to LIVE in this world.

  • Soupy

    Well, it may be fortunate that you will never need anyone else in your lifetime. Who could love you more than you?

  • justiceontherocks

    @John: You criticize “gay’ but not other youths who commit suicide while your own image model is some porn performer. You think gay youth should emulate you – getting drunk and having “anamalistic” (sic) sex with other drunk strangers? That’s rich.

    If you are really 35, you aren’t old to me. Quite young by comparison. Let’s just say that people who harp on how hot they are and how much great sex they have usually are pretty awful looking and have a lot of sex with their hand.

    This is my last communication with you. You’re a pathetic nelly queen and I hope you grow up some day, but right now you’re not worth our time.

  • John


    If you can’t love yourself why expect anyone else to do it?

    I’d rather be a borderline Narcissist [which I’m not as I’m thankful and great full to have a wonderful group of friends in my life whom I love and love me in return] then be obese, suicidal, depressed, or weak.

    Have I ever felt sorry for myself? Sure but thankfully, I had people around me to smack me up, prop me up, and throw me back out into the world for some more and you know what, I couldn’t be more great full.

  • John


    How funny that your insult to me is calling me a “nelly queen.”

    I also never stated for gay youths to emulate me or my lifestyle. I enjoying partying and have safe sex. Sue me.

    I never harped about how hot I am. I harped about me priding myself on my physique and working out and that is something I’m quiet in love with and make no apologize for. My current passion right now is Crossfit but I doubt you’d ever know what that is let alone survive a month’s worth of training.

    As for growing up well, here is the rich part… I CAN GROW UP AND GROW OLD BECAUSE I AM ALIVE!

  • Soupy

    I would be “grateful” of any man who spends some time developing his mind in his lifetime. I can pick up a pretty shell on the beach and put it on my bookshelf. But why would anyone want to talk to it?

  • Never2Late

    @DR: Wow – all you got out of that was CHURCH! You are exactly what is wrong with our country! Shame on you!!! Just because “your town churches” are welcoming doesn’t mean the rest of them are. Then you tell me why there aren’t support systems in place for gay teens in school, since you seem to be the one with all the answers. If you are able to rule out religion so fast, you have a hard lesson coming. Gay teens will never get the support they need and deserve until America can put the bible down and think for themselves for a change! So, you go to your church and you pray and you feel accepted…….and when you have the balls to turn around and listen to what is being said about you behind your back……maybe then you’ll understand! Until then keep conforming and putting your gay money in that gold bowl you prick! Some people…………….never learn!

  • GregorVonK

    The frequent posts by John in this thread are a reminder that there ARE people who truly do lack compassion. I had almost forgotten that basic fact from PSY 101, but of course, it is very true…and not at all uncommon. He is at least upfront about it, I suppose.

    And I’m not going to say that there will come a day when he needs to be on the receiving end of some compassion himself, because I honestly don’t know whether he would want or expect same. I think I’ll just wish him good luck.

    As far as the point he makes (as did others) that today’s gay youth have more resources available to them than any previous generation ever did, that too is correct, TECHNICALLY. But the point I tried to make in an earlier posting is that each individual circumstance IS different. Some young people (in rural areas, for instance)may be all the more frustrated by the “it gets better” messages when they really don’t have a clue how they’re going to get from point A to point Q.

    And they assume everyone else is a “‘mo in the know.”

    I haven’t seen the stats, but it’s possible that bullying occurs as frequently or even more frequently in schools with Gay-straight alliances.

  • DR


    You know nothing about this family, and are making insensitive and inappropriate comments about what support this young man may or may not have had. You insulted his family his friends, and possible faith community. Yet you haven’t even acknowledged that, unless you think his family is lying, that HE DIED OF NATURAL CAUSES.

    This family lost a child, and a bunch of online activists were so quick to send this around the web, they missed the article about this young man having an enlarged heart.

    As for the rest of your commentary, it’s pathetic. I can list any number of denominations which would support me, and I’d rather them at my side than ignorant bigots like yourself.

  • Katlin Kortie

    Excuse me, but i am a senior at Jefferson High School. I knew Lance Lundsten. He did not commit suicide. Nor was he bullied for his sexuality. The media screwed up and I hope everyone stops talking about this. HE WAS NOT OPENLY GAY! He diclosed that information in his private facebook account. This has got to stop. Please send an apology to his family, or to our local newspaper for wrongly stating your opinions.

  • John


    While I agree that it feels “impossible” for people watching the IT GETS BETTER videos in Oklahoma wondering how they themselves are going to get to NYC or LA where most people who’ve made those videos are currently living in, they need not forget that everyone was once from a small town in some OTHER part of the world.

    I understand that each individual who takes their lives for being gay [which apparently is not the case with Lance] is different but that in it self is a problem that most of the LGBT community won’t accept – SOME GAY YOUTH ARE WEAK AND WILL TURN TO AN EASY OUT.

    No group will ever be totally free of discrimination [Women, African Americans] and even the LGBT community isn’t a very welcoming place if you are a gay male or white but you’ve got to start with yourself and being strong, thick skinned, and confident [hell, maybe even naive and delusional] but it all starts with the individual’s self desire to see for themselves that “better” aspect of IT GETS BETTER.

  • David

    Wow, it has made me sad reading many of these responses. Where did obesity, looks or any outward appearance have anything to do with gay teens committing suicide? It is obvious that this wasn’t a a suicide. But from what I’ve seen, the teens who have committed suicide because they were gay, weren’t affected by external issues like their appearance. They struggled with acceptance and feeling different. I feel sorry for boys/men whose only sense of belonging is based on their outward ‘beauty.’ I think I look pretty good, but that makes me no better than anyone else. By the way, I would bet a months salary that @john has a small dick–and there’s nothing he can do about that…and if he’s a Marine, I hope you give your life in the service of your nation…and no one will miss you.

  • John


    Wow, making a small dick comment. How Mature. I’m not rocking 8 inches but I’m bigger then 6. If this is small in your world, then so be it. I’ve never had complaints with my penis and even if I did, I’m lucky enough to be verse [plus, I wouldn’t bother with Size Queens like you and your like].

    As for wishing that I give my life [the ultimate sacrifice] in service of my country and how no one will miss me… how low of a human being must you be to wish that upon another?

    I never once commented or wished death upon any person and for you, a civilian[!] to say such a comment is just disgusting.

  • jack

    Let’s get this right. All gay teens are bullied, whether they are “out” or not out. Think for five seconds why a teen would choose to keep this private and a secret, in the environment that is high school. There’s no need to investigate if the teen was “bullied” or not. Of course they were.

  • Hyhybt

    @jack: That’s not true, though. I was never bullied as a teenager. Which doesn’t mean all that much; but it does mean that a claim that all are bullied is false.

  • jack

    @Hyhybt: I think you missed my point.

  • GregorVonK

    @John: Thanks for your civil response. In principle, you are correct: the motivation for self-preservation ultimately has to come from within. I just wish you could acknowledge that some people, through no fault of their own, have more of a struggle than others. It may be (and often is, I’m sure) simply a matter of brain chemistry. People who have been beaten down for a while display lower levels of serotonin, for one thing. People (and animals too) that are on the top of heap tend to have increased serotonin levels (and there’s evidence that one’s life experiences have a direct correlation to the amount of serotonin an individual actually produces). That’s just one of many factors involved in depression and the attendant sense of hopelessness bullied children experience (and,yeah, I agree that children–and adults–are bullied for all kinds of reasons).

    Given that, it should be easier to understand how some of the people you refer to as “weaklings” wind up on that downward spiral. But I hope you will concede that, in many cases, just admonishing such a person to “buck up” won’t suffice.

    I’m glad that such encouragement has worked for you in the past. From your descriptions of your own experiences, I’d say that you likely never were all that far down on that “spiral” (and good for you, if that’s so).

    Support for vulnerable teens is, in my view, anything but mollycoddling. It can be lifesaving IF it’s done right.

  • Adam

    @John: What a shallow little twit you are. There are hundreds of thousands of gay “men” out there just like you. You aren’t special or particularly interesting, and you convince no one of your worth as an individual if all you can do is boast about how you fitness train and attend Gay Days in Orlando and whore out your bodily holes to any willing object.

    Those things don’t give you any right to criticize those who don’t value those things, or simply can’t value them exclusively because they aren’t as vapid as you have shown yourself to be. If you get your self-worth from your image, fine, survive on that. Everyone dies, in the end, and your days are numbered, and no amount of gym sessions will save you from death. This boy, however, does not deserve your condemnation based on your own experiences. Since you are so keen on how great you think you are, just be quiet and go back to the gym where meatheads like you belong. You aren’t qualified to dispense life advice (or, in this case, life judgments) to anyone.

    Dumb bitch.

  • Sapphocrat

    @Katlin Kortie: How many times are you going to spam this word-for-word “reply” on every site that so much as mentions this poor kid? So far, you’ve hit HuffPo, The Gaytheist Agenda, Pride In Utah, Autostraddle, NowPublic, and, of course, Queerty. You’ve missed only The Lavender Newswire and Truth Wins Out (so far).

    For the record, no one owes anyone an apology for simply caring about a dead young man, gay, straight, suicide or not.

    There’s also no such thing as “wrongly stating your opinions” (which, incidentally, is a split infinitive; perhaps you need to spend more time in English class than on hit-and-run spamming while the grown-ups are trying to discuss serious issues).

  • justiceontherocks

    @Adam: Very well said. It’s pretty pathetic when 40 somethings try to look macho by bullying 18 year old kids about whom they know nothing.

    No, on second thought it isn’t pathetic. It’s sickening.

  • Hyhybt

    @jack: Not in the least. I disagreed with your point, which is not even remotely the same as missing it. Since your premise (ALL gay teens are bullied) is false, your conclusion (there is no need to look into whether he was bullied or not) is false as well… *except* that it turned out to be a natural death.

  • samthor

    either way his death is a damn shame. He was beautiful. And so close to graduating. who knows what he could have accomplished.

  • Brittany Young


  • Vic Kohing

    John, Adam, DR, GregorVonK, et al: You ALL make good points. But Jesus, guys, this was one of our kids here. People have different thresholds for torment. I think the best amount of bullying is none. I understand the marine’s position, too, as slanted toward self responsibility. That is fair given his training and subsequent paradigm. I lived life as a male model for years, so I can relate. It is just how the world teaches you to be, so do not crucify him. He may have grieved when he read about this…no one really knows but him. As he gets older his position will soften, as ours has with age. Let us not fight amongst ourselves, gentlemen, but agree that any young people dying due to a highly preventable cause is too many.

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