West Hollywood’s City Council tentatively authorized creation of a memorial for lives lost due to suicide in the LGBTQ community during its Monday night meeting.
Mayor Lindsey Horvath and Councilmember John Erickson sponsored the item, explaining in a memo, “A 2015 review found that lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals were four times more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual people. In transgender communities, those rates are even higher: 43% of transgender people have attempted suicide in their lifetime”
The memo also states that lesbian, gay and bisexual youth are at even greater risk of attempting suicide – five times more likely than heterosexual youth.
What form the memorial will take has yet to be determined. A plaque or a bench or some kind of marker are suggested in the memo, but whatever form it takes, it will not be too elaborate as only $7,500 was approved for the memorial.
Similarly, a location for the memorial has yet to be determined. However, the memo suggested “the location should be a quiet, meditative location that allows for contemplation and reflection” in one of the city’s parks.
Councilmember John D’Amico was supportive of the item, but feared it might have the opposite effect of what is intended. He worried it might actually attract people to attempt suicide at that location. He said he would support it only if two different suicide prevention agencies give their OK for such a memorial.
Councilmember Sepi Shyne had similar concerns and requested that the telephone number of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the Trevor Project be included as part of the memorial. The Trevor Project, based in West Hollywood, is an LGBTQ youth suicide hotline.
Various city advisory boards and commissions will offer input about the memorial before the Council makes a final decision about the memorial.
Erickson and Horvath said they hope to have the memorial installed by September, which is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. They want to dedicate it on Sept. 10, which is World Suicide Prevention Day.