By Kenneth Harvey
Originally published on Advocate.com February 26 2010 4:30 PM ET
Mormons and LGBT supporters gathered Thursday morning in Los Altos,
Calif., to honor the memory of Henry Stuart Matis, a gay Mormon who
committed suicide at a regional Mormon center in the city 10 years ago. Matis, who shot himself outside the center on February 25, 2000, left a note explaining that "for the first time in over 20 years, I am free from my pains.
"As I believed that I was a Christian, I believed that I could never be gay," he wrote. "Perhaps my death ... might become the catalyst for much good ... Your actions might help to save many young people's lives."
Aabout 20 mourners marched with candles and roses up the road to the center, ending at the site of his death, the Mercury News reported. They set up a memorial display featuring an image of Matis's tombstone along with stories about his death and the tragic fates of other gay Mormons.
"The best way to honor Stuart, and avoid causing further hurt and grief to his family, is to take the time and effort to understand the difficult struggle the men and women who deal with this issue are going through, one by one, one person at a time," Matis's parents wrote in a statement. "As those who knew Stuart best, we can say with confidence that this is what Stuart would truly have wanted."