Alex Blaze

Lance Lundsten Might Not Have Committed Suicide

Filed By Alex Blaze | January 19, 2011 9:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: lance lundsten, Minnesota, suicide, teen

Yesterday, LGBT blogs reported (including Bilerico) Lance.jpgon the death of Lance Lundsten over the weekend and ascribed his death to bullying, saying it fell into a familiar pattern of anti-gay bullying leading to suicide.

Lundsten's father disagrees:

Mr Lundsten senior told KSAX that he had been told by the coroner that his son had an enlarged heart and died of a coronary edema. He added that there were no signs of drugs or alcohol in his son's system although the full results of the toxicology report have yet to be finalised.

A spokesman for the coroner's office declined to comment to KSAX TV.

Karen Ocamb said that the original KSAX article said, "the Sheriff's office confirmed that they believe his death was a suicide." The updated KSAX article says, "The Sheriff's Office said Tuesday that the cause of Lundsten's death was yet to be determined." The coroner has not finished the autopsy or blood work and has not determined a cause of death.

The death is still tragic, but probably not for easily describable reasons with clear victims and oppressors. Does that make the death any less tragic? And if it didn't cause a suicide, is the anti-gay bullying his classmates insist he experienced any more acceptable?


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Part of me wonders why so many queer blogs reported this story as a suicide ASAP. I think that's troubling and relevant of a trend that we're eager to find a bunch of young victims in this "It Gets Better" age. I know blogs prefer to be fast and first rather than accurate all the time and that misinformation can spread fast like wildfire or a game of telephone, but all 5 of the major LGBT blogs I read got it wrong and that's scary.

Don't get me wrong, it seems the kid was openly gay and bullied despite his school having anti-bullying policies and those are both important facts that should be the real focus. But ruling his death a suicide and then pointing to it as proof that we need to sue schools and that bullying kills seems kinda perverse now that we know how he actually died. I think it speaks ill of our community and is also an immense disrespect to his family and memory. We made a martyr of this kid for our own cause without even considering the basic facts and as it result it also discredits us for being to eager to find a new victim without even bothering to examine the very nature of his death. Fail.

Regan DuCasse | January 19, 2011 6:24 PM

His experience with suffering bullying and such assault warrants our condemnation.
Either way the results of his autopsy plays out, he had a broken heart. And our hearts break as well over the loss of these beautiful children.

When this story first broke, I was privately talking with another LGBT blogger on Twitter. I cautioned against calling it a suicide until everything was definite. As I said to him then:

Gay + Suicide doesn't always = Bullying

But I guess I should be more careful and amend further to say

Gay + Dead doesn't always = Suicide too.

Either way, it doesn't solve the pain his family is going through or the loss.

I'm not an M.D., so perhaps I shouldn't be speculating, but the young man, as pictured exhibits some classical signs of Marfan Syndrome.
(Google it.) A frequent cause of death for those born with this syndrome is aortic aneurysm or complications from an enlarged heart. As I recall, it's an inherited condtion, so the young man's siblings should be tested. And yes, there is treatment if the condition is discovered early enough. Regardless, it's a sad end indeed. :(