Article Title:The facts about LGBT youth suicide
Category:People
Author or Credit:GayNZ.com
Published on:27th September 2007 - 06:34 pm
Published by:GayNZ.com
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Story ID:5008
Text:Homophobic bullying and confusion about sexuality head the list of reasons that young gay, lesbian or bisexual people attempt suicide at six times the rate of the rest of the population, according to a study released this week by University of Washington researchers. This is just the latest of many studies to reveal the vulnerability of glbt youth, underscoring the issues behind this week's revelations by GayNZ.com that high-level New Zealand politician Bill English apparently stood by while knowing his son was posting extreme homophobic abuse on his public internet profile pages. Despite English being informed by GayNZ.com of the string of homophobic comments over three weeks ago, the pages only disappeared when they came under intense general media scrutiny on Tuesday of this week. To background the issues at stake from homophobic bullying and abuse, GayNZ.com has lifted a small sampling researched findings from summaries and reports by three reputable and independent organisations and publications, including the US Department of Health and Human Services, the periodicals 'British Medical Journal' and 'Paediatrics,' with two closing quotes from the University of Washington researchers. They make disturbing reading: "Gay youth face extreme physical and verbal abuse, rejection and isolation from family and peers. They often feel totally alone and socially withdrawn out of fear of adverse consequences." "Gay and lesbian youth belong to two groups at high risk of suicide: youth and homosexuals." "A majority of suicide attempts by homosexuals occur during their youth, and gay youth are 2 to 3 times more likely to attempt suicide than other young people." "[Gay and lesbian youth] may comprise up to 30 percent of completed youth suicides annually." "The earlier youth are aware of their orientation and identify themselves as gay the greater the conflicts they have." "Gay youth face problems in accepting themselves due to internalisation of a negative self image and the lack of accurate information about homosexuality during adolescence." "The root of the problem of gay youth suicide is a society that discriminates against and stigmatises homosexuals while failing to recognise that a substantial number of its youth has a gay or lesbian orientation." "We each need to take personal responsibility for revising homophobic attitudes and conduct." - The above comments are from the Report of the Secretary's Task Force on Youth Suicide, published by the US Department of Health and Human Services. "Youths with emerging identities that are gay, lesbian or bisexual, living in generally hostile climates, face particular dilemmas. They are well aware that in many secondary schools the words "fag" and "dyke" are terms of denigration and that anyone who is openly gay, lesbian or bisexual is open to social exclusion and psychological and physical persecution." "Youths who feel that they are gay must either hide their feelings from others for many years or face the risk of "coming out" to family and peers. Either course is perilous, and for some, the consequences of confusion over their identity in a climate of intense intolerance and victimisation may be suicidal behaviour. Epidemiological studies from North America and New Zealand show that gay and bisexual males are at least four times as likely to report a serious suicide attempt. " - Editorial in the British Medical Journal, 17 June 2000: "Suicidal behaviour in gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth" by Christopher Bagley and Anthony R D'Augelli. "...suicide is a leading cause of death amongst gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered youth. A study of 137 gay and bisexual males [aged] 14 to 21 years of age showed that 29% reported a suicide attempt, with half of these reporting multiple attempts. It has been estimated that that gay and lesbian youth are two to three times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers and may account for 30% of suicides among youth annually." - Paedriatrics, Vol 101 No5, May 1998 "While gay, lesbian and bisexual participants are twice as likely as heterosexuals to have attempted suicide, those who still have issues with defining their sexuality are six times as likely." "The number of attempted suicides and suicidal thoughts reported can be largely attributed to homophobic bullying. There is a lot of hype that gay kids are more suicidal... My study shows that this is not so. In my study, being victimized for being gay was the risk factor that increased suicidal-behaviour risk." - Report on University of Washington study (Murphy et al), released September 2007     GayNZ.com - 27th September 2007
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