We have a heartbreaking news coming from Utah’s LGBT community. One of its youth advocates has committed suicide after nearly a decade of battling depression.
Lincoln Parkin, 22, was found dead on Wednesday, April 6. Medical examiners are still investigating the case, though Lincoln’s father, Brent Parkin, believes that his son’s death was self-inflicted.
‘I think he got out of balance physically, spiritually, emotionally and socially,’ he said. ‘He got pretty extreme with his diet, he got to the point where he felt like God wasn’t there for him, and he isolated himself.’
Brent clarifies that he is speaking openly about the suicide not to glorify it. Rather, he hopes that people would learn from the heartache he and his family are experiencing.
For those who knew Lincoln, they describe him as a genuine, passionate and kindhearted person who was unafraid to stand up for what he believed in. He was also a talented music lover and an outstanding student in school.
Julie Van Orden, who was the adviser of the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) club of Weber High School, remembers Lincoln as the pioneer who’s responsible for the club’s success today:
‘It’s this big vibrant group now, and that’s in large part due to what Lincoln did while he was there.
‘He was just a very big-hearted kid. I’m a better person for having known Lincoln. He wanted to change the world, and I think he did just that.’
During his senior year in high school in 2012, Lincoln had written a letter to the Weber School District, asking officials to support GSAs in school and to tackle the issue of bullying faced by LGBT students.
In October 2012, ACLU of Utah awarded Lincoln a $1,000 scholarship for his work in advocating for the LGBT community.
In the organisation’s press release, Lincoln said:
‘In the future, I envision a world where sexual orientation won’t define a person, but refine them. Where differences will be celebrated, not mutilated.’
While he was in college, Lincoln was also a recipient of a music scholarship. In 2014, he was the male lead in the school’s musical production of ‘The Light in the Piazza’ (as pictured below).
Marian Edmonds-Allen who met Lincoln about four years ago during her tenure as executive director of OUTreach Resource Centers of Ogden, a nonprofit that aims to help at-risk youth, especially those who are gay or transgender, described him as someone who was ‘not shy about helping and publicly advocating for those who were lonely and isolated.’
‘He lived everything he cared about. He lived his convictions,’ she said.
‘This is a devastating loss. There’s a lot of us shedding a lot of tears’
Bob Hunter, president of the United Way of Northern Utah, shared that Lincoln promoted responsibility toward the environment while he was a volunteer at the organization.
‘He was always talking about not wasting food, recycling, being respectful to animals. He was never pushy, but he was insistent enough that we paid attention to it,’ Hunter said.
‘He inspired us to be better to the Earth. He was just so kind and thoughtful. He was a very special young man.’
Brent shared that Lincoln came out to the family as gay when he was around 15.
He said that though the family was very accepting of him, Lincoln, who had spent much of his youth as an active member in church, had felt stressed:
‘He was so conflicted with that because it was contrary to our religion and to things he thought were true for years. He knew he was gay at 12, but struggled in silence for years.’
Brent shared that he and his wife never tried to change their son or told him that his desires were wrong.
‘My wife and I told him we loved him whether he was gay or straight. He’s our son, and if he’s gay, he’s our son even more. Him being gay was his chemistry, and we embraced it. Our family was behind him 100 percent.’
Brent revealed that Lincoln had attempted suicide before, but he appeared fine during the weeks before his death.
‘His therapist was totally shocked. We always knew (suicide) was a possibility. It was our biggest fear, but there was nothing recently that would have indicated this.’
Brent added that on top of Lincoln’s personal struggle with sexual orientation and religion, his brain’s natural chemistry and his unwillingness to take his medication may also be a factor that had caused his life to spiral out of balance:
‘I think he definitely had a chemical imbalance. And he didn’t like taking his medication because it affected him so much.’
Brent urges people who are suffering from depression to treat it like the disease that it is and seek medical help.
He also hopes that Lincoln’s life and work will continue to inspire people to embrace diversity and to treat others with kindness.
Gay Star News would like to extend our deepest condolences and regards to the Parkin family during this difficult time.
And to Lincoln, thank you for fighting for the LGBT community and for giving your very best.
If you are a Utah resident struggling with suicidal thoughts, please visit Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition.
If you are a teen or young adult suffering from suicidal thoughts, you can text ‘start’ to 741741 or visit Crisis Text Line.
For more resources on suicide prevention for LGBT youth, go to The Trevor Project.
H/t: Standard Examiner