Wednesday, February 10, 2010


This is a fascinating article entitled, Gay, lesbian, bisexual higher suicide risk discussing a study that shows that sexual "identity" is the major factor leading to suicide risk, rather than sexual behavior or sexual attraction.

This study deserves repeating among different teen population groups, because if this finding is borne out, the hateful and discriminatory rhetoric leveled against Gay people will be seen to be far more dangerous regarding risk of suicide than is anything that has to do with same-sex attraction and/or sexual behavior. Indeed, the devastation visited upon Gay youth by religious and other homophobes may inculcate such shame and self-loathing that the very term "Gay" is renounced in favor of "heterosexual," despite same-sex attraction and same-sex sexual activity.

So, suicides among Gay youth, or attempted suicides among Gay youth, may well be seen to be due to self-identification with a concept that has been defamed (often by homophobic clergy and their gullible followers), rather than same-sex attraction and/or same-sex activity that objectively would consign a person to the status of "Gay."

Indeed, self-loathing and other factors borne of homophobia that lead to suicide risk among teens may be seen to come from one's very self-identification with the term "Gay," rather than being Gay, in and of itself. Regardless of sexual attraction and sexual behavior, if a teen self-identifies as "heterosexual," suicide risk is no different than is the risk for the general population of teens.

As the article states: "The majority of teens with same-sex sexual attraction or experience considered themselves to be heterosexual, the researchers said." And why not? Given the taunting, the defamation, the bearing of false witness, the lies and distortions made by homophobic clergy, all too many professing "Christians," and assorted politicians, appropriation of a term viewed as credible ("heterosexual") is an unfortunately understandable defense and coping mechanism that trumps one's actual status as being "Gay" when sexual attraction and sexual behavior are used as indicators of one's true sexual orientation.

This phenomenon further highlights the great need for LGBT rights activists to take the position that rather than be on the defensive, and merely try to show homophobic people why LGBT people deserve equal rights, it's high time that LGBT people and allies take the offensive and expose and confront the many psychological, social, political, and financial factors that create the ignorant and/or hateful rhetoric and actions of those, many of whom profess to be "Christians," who would demean, defame, and seek to prevent and/or rescind the civil and sacramental rights of their fellow Gay citizens, often ironically doing so in the name of God; use patently irrational arguments as justifications for their homophobia.

Should this exposure and confrontation be undertaken and be successful, there will no longer be a felt need for many young people to divorce their sexual orientation from their self-identification as the Gay people God created them to be.
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This study underscores why it is so objectionable when the only on-campus organizations available for LGBT young people to join are "Queer/Straight Alliances". Imagine the harm done when well-meaning schools hold diversity celebrations under the title "Queer Day", as one did in your community not long ago. A shame-afflicted teenager won't go anywhere near such dubious expressions of Gay "pride", undoubtedly the source of great derision among his Straight classmates. He'll be driven even further into the closet. Marginalization of Gay identity, so trendy these days, will never be useful to anyone but the enemies of equality.

Jerry Maneker said...

Absolutely, Don Charles! Often, the very word "Gay" has become marginalized (to say the least) due to its association with frequently used hateful epithets such as "queer," "dyke," etc. So, even though there are Gay youth, many don't even use that correct term with which to identify themselves but, rather, fool themselves into thinking that they are really Straight. We can only imagine the tumultuous emotional feelings that this disconnect engenders in so many Gay youth. Take care, Jerry.