You never recover from losing a family member to suicide. I know from personal experience, my brother committed suicide at 23.
Teen suicides act as a mirror to our society. Teens take their cues about life, identity, purpose and social value from parents, society at large and too often from other teens. In most cases, teens receive support and love from all of these groups as they develop into adults. The unfortunate few are the recipients of hate, fear and bigotry. Their crime is being different from their peers. In too many cases, they attempt to hide their sexual orientation. Not surprisingly, research shows LGBT youth rejected by their families are eight times more likely to commit suicide, three times more likely to be bullied than their peers and twice as likely to experience major depression according to Friendfactor (see note below about sources).
Many of us were able to hide our sexual identities in order to escape certain ridicule on the school playground. We did not want to face those perpetuating bigotry, hate and biases. Where does all this hate come from? I suspect it is passed down from generation to generation. Why can't we stop the madness? After all these decades, why is there not a law against bullying at school? How many more deaths, suicide attempts and painful childhoods will we allow?
…It is not possible, like flipping a switch, to change one's sexual orientation. I know. I struggled with coming to terms with my sexual orientation as a gay man. I did not want to disappoint my parents. I knew my life would be more difficult coming out in the late 1970's as well. Not to mention working in the business world and perhaps someday in banking. I prayed a lot in both Catholic and Baptist Churches. My prayers were ultimately answered as I became fully aware and comfortable with my sexuality. I believe God made me gay and it is not a choice, no more than I chose to be of Polish and German descent…
Gay Bashed with the Bricks and Bats of Social Media
by Michael C. LaSala, Ph.D.,
September 29, 2010 – Psychology Today
Tyler Clementi: Gay Bashing and Social Media
I am a professor at Rutgers University where Tyler Clementi was a student. I did not know Tyler, nor do I know the two young people accused of filming his sexual activity and posting it-but what I do know is this act was a gay bashing and the weapons were as powerful and wounding as a baseball bat-perhaps more so.
Imagine being a very young boy, recognizing you have romantic feelings toward other boys. However, you come to realize to your horror that there is something wrong with these feelings--horribly wrong. Perhaps you have been bullied and harassed by the other kids in school who knew something was up because you looked or behaved differently than the way boys were expected to. Or perhaps you became proficient at hiding your feelings deep down in a place where no one could find them, not even you. Photo
As you mature, and with much concentrated effort you become somewhat more comfortable with your feelings-comfortable enough to explore and act on your sexuality while away at college. You then find that this most intimate of acts, stigmatized by large segments of society, was secretly videotaped and broadcast to hundreds, perhaps thousands of people…
Society’s ‘bullies’ should shoulder blame in suicides of gay teens
by D.L. Stewart, October 12, 2010
Dayton Daily News
…Experts say suicides by gay teenagers is nothing new. But the recent headlines have many persons, both heterosexual and gay, searching for causes.
Is it negligent teachers and lax school administrators? Parents who pass along their homophobic fears to the next generation? Politicians who pander for votes by railing against a so-called “gay agenda” that “threatens America’s families”?
Dan Savage, a sex columnist based in Seattle, cites one more “accomplice.” Religious leaders who use “anti-gay rhetoric.” Photo
“The problem is that kids are being exposed to this rhetoric and then they go to the school and there’s this gay kid,” he said. “And how are they going to treat this gay kid who they’ve been told is trying to destroy their family? They’re going to abuse him.”
“Most religious denominations continue to condemn homosexuality as sinful and provide a rationale for marginalizing LGB people.”
Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC)
Suicide Risk and Prevention for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth
Although the social environment itself has not been defined as a risk factor for suicide, widespread discrimination against LGBT people, heterosexist attitudes, and gender bias can lead to risk factors such as isolation, family rejection, and lack of access to care providers. Risk factors may interact in unhealthy ways—for example, internalized homophobia or victimization may lead to stress, which is associated with depression and substance abuse, which can contribute to suicide risk. This risk may be compounded by a lack of protective factors that normally provide resilience, such as strong family connections, peer support, and access to effective health and mental health providers.
In the United States prejudice and discrimination against LGB people are widespread among individuals, and in fact, supported by many religious, social, and government institutions. Homophobia and heterosexism are terms that refer to prejudice against LGB people and reflect prevalent social attitudes that most people have internalized (McDaniel et al., 2001).
Morrow (2004) points out that “GLBT adolescents must cope with developing a sexual minority identity in the midst of negative comments, jokes, and often the threat of violence because of their sexual orientation and/or transgender identity” (p. 91-92) and that, given the pervasive homophobia in our culture and in the families of LGBT youth, “the internalization of homophobic and heterosexist messages begins very early—often before GLBT youth fully realize their sexual orientation and gender identity” (p. 92). Morrow also says that positive role models for LGBT youth are hard to find.
Herek and colleagues (2007) describe a framework to understand the social environment for sexual minorities. The framework integrates the sociological idea of stigma with the psychological idea of prejudice. Through stigma, society discredits and invalidates homosexuality relative to heterosexuality. Institutions embodying stigma results in heterosexism, and heterosexual individuals internalizing stigma results in prejudice. The United States legal system has faced challenges by sexual minorities and sympathetic heterosexuals that have led to significant changes. However, the legal system continues to reinforce stigma through discriminatory laws and the absence of laws protecting sexual minorities from discrimination in employment, housing, and services. A minority of states had antidiscrimination laws as of 2005, and most of these only referred to employment and not to housing or services. Most religious denominations continue to condemn homosexuality as sinful and provide a rationale for marginalizing LGB people.
Researchers suggest that this social environment puts stresses on LGBT people that elevate the risk of substance abuse, depression, anxiety, and other emotional problems. One study (with participants in their mid-twenties) found that internalized homophobia was correlated with depression, although not directly correlated with suicide (Igartua et al., 2003). Mays and Cochran (2001) found growing evidence that experiences of discrimination can result in mental health and general health disorders. Analyzing data from the National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States (MIDUS), they compared LGB and heterosexual people’s mental health and experiences with discrimination. The MIDUS asked about the frequency of lifetime and day-to-day experiences of perceived discrimination including being denied a scholarship, being denied a bank loan, receiving poorer services at stores, and being called names. Mays and Cochran found that homosexual and bisexual individuals reported more frequently than heterosexual individuals both day-to-day and lifetime discrimination, and 42 percent attributed the discrimination at least in part to their sexual orientation. LGB individuals were twice as likely as heterosexuals to have experienced discrimination in a lifetime event and were five times more likely to indicate that discrimination had interfered with having a full and productive life. Perceived discrimination had a relatively robust association with mental disorders.
Read complete paper:
Suicide Risk and Prevention for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth - Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC)
Bullying in Schools: Harassment Puts Gay Youth at Risk
Mental Health America
Prepared by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center
for the Center for Mental Health Services
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Supported by Grant No. 1 U79 SM57392-02
The Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) provides prevention support, training, and resources to assist organizations and individuals to develop suicide prevention programs, interventions and policies, and to advance the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention.
Suicide Prevention Resource Center
Education Development Center, Inc.
55 Chapel Street
Newton MA 02458
maybe, there will exist
yet fervent public conviction
most deadly of all possible
is the mutilation of
…whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
No disrespect meant to Pope Benedict XVI or the hierarchy, the one and only concern is the safety and well-being of children.
Kids Are Being Hurt !!!
The Trevor Project