Agency Details SF Activist's Death

ARC Newsletter Volume: 
11
ARC Newsletter Issue: 
3
ARC Newsletter Section: 
Remembering Jonathon Conte
Jonathon Conte Gay Pride Bay Area Intactivists
Jonathon Conte at Gay Pride

August 11, 2016

The suicide of a gay San Francisco man who'd campaigned for years against circumcision is detailed in a report released by the medical examiner's office.

Jonathon Conte, 34, was found by his partner May 9 in their Alamo Square apartment with a plastic bag over his head and a helium tank by his side. The report lists the cause of death as asphyxia.

No drugs were detected in Conte's system, according to the report, which confirmed the manner of death was suicide.

Conte, who went to LGBT Pride and other events and rode his bicycle carrying signs with slogans like "Got genital rights?" had made intactivism "his life's work," Christopher Holden, 42, Conte's partner of five years, said shortly after his death.

Since Conte's death, Holden has been faced with a rent increase on the apartment they shared in the 1200 block of Grove Street. The two weren't registered domestic partners, and Holden hadn't been able to get his name on the lease.

In an interview Saturday, just after the medical examiner's report was released, Holden didn't want to share details of his housing situation, but he said, "It's been a difficult transition going from [Conte's] death into having to make quick changes in my life. ... His absence is ever present."

Holden, who's described Conte as "caring and vulnerable," has said that Conte had never indicated he was thinking of killing himself. He didn't leave a note.

The medical examiner's office said in its report that when the helium tank arrived with Conte's body, it was empty, but the report indicates Conte died solely from having the bag over his head.