From Tragedy to Hope: Pocatello Mom Plans To Create LGBTQIA Teen Safe Place

Last January, after  being bullied and harassed and living in a community where he didn’t fit in, 18-year-old Ryan Zicha took his own life. Now Ryan’s mom is reaching out to other teens and is hoping to make the community a safer place for all.

In September, Julie Zicha told KIDK-TV,”Ryan’s reaction to living in a community where he felt shunned manifested in desperation. Julie watched her gay son, still under 18 at the time, marry his female best friend just so he could emancipate himself from his parents and move back to Washington. She saw him be diagnosed and struggle with Type 1 diabetes, rheumatic fever and bi-polar disorder. She watched Ryan dig himself into debt living in Washington and eventually, begrudgingly, come back to Pocatello. One night, Julie got a text from Ryan she never expected.

“‘Please forgive me. Remember that it wasn’t your fault. Always remember that I love you and that I’ll always love you. And I’m up at Pebble Creek.’ And there was just no mistaking what it was,” Julie said.”

Julie recently formed a nonprofit group called Ryan’s Rainbow Connection.  She tells KIDK-TV that, “Ryan’s Rainbow Connection will take the shape of a resource center in Old Town where Zicha hopes teenagers will come to meet each other and feel welcome instead of feeling alone.

“Maybe having the group be all about making sure the kids have everything that they need or that they should have, maybe that will make a difference,” she said.”

In September, The Center for Preventing Hate released a disturbing report regarding bullying and harassment among Pocatello’s high school students. The report found, among other things, common slurs like “whore” and “fag” along with more extreme ones like “nigger” and “cunt” are reportedly used daily. (Read more on that HERE.)

If you would like to learn more about Ryan’s Rainbow Connection there will be a meeting on December 6th from at 7:00 pm  at the Pocatello United Methodist Church to discuss that and other LGBTQIA youth related topics.  The church is located at 200 North 15th Avenue. The event is open to those wishing to be advocates for LGBTQIA youth.


7 Responses to From Tragedy to Hope: Pocatello Mom Plans To Create LGBTQIA Teen Safe Place

  1. Bobby says:

    It’s heart breaking that Ryan took his own life like so many LGBTQIA people do, I never felt comfortable when I all of the 19 years while I was growing up in Idaho, and because of that now that I have moved to California, I still don’t feel as comfortable as I should, making it very very hard to meet anyone. Hopefully things will turn around for the better so that the future generations won’t feel ashamed and be hurt for just being who they really are.

  2. All I can say is omg, this is effing sad..

  3. Thanks for posting this. Julie and 2G4H are committed to changing the climate in Pocatello for LGBT kids.

  4. mic warren says:

    it is just a shame that people can’t just live and let live… some people just love to hurt and belittle others to the point that something like this happens…

  5. Pingback: Group Moves Forward on Creating Pocatello Youth Center « The Idaho Agenda

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