Home Page
Comments to: pierre@youth-suicide.com
Educ. Index
MHN Badge
Search
for

Get a Search Engine For Your Web Site

Search This Site Via Google:

This free script provided by JavaScript Kit

To: Gay Page Award. Want one?
 
The Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Factor In The
Youth Suicide Problem
 
ContentsWhat people are saying about the book





Book Cover


Contents of the Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Factor In The Youth Suicide Problem


Excerpts from The Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Factor In The Youth Suicide Problem


Foreword

Homosexuality has been a part of the human condition for centuries, perhaps forever. It is a fact of life in human societies regardless of personal or societal proscriptions against same sex sexuality. The determination of cause, biological, social or multicausal combination, will never eliminate the failure of most societies to protect the fundamental human rights of those who differ from the culturally prescribed or numerical norms of the dominant group. Throughout history many people of difference, however defined, have been singled out as "undesirables" and ostracized in a multitude of ways from the opportunities of "main stream" life. Men and women of gay and lesbian homosexuality are no strangers to the selective application of human rights protection. Disagreement with difference is frequently used to define people outside the human condition and thereby justify noncompliance with basic standards of human decency.

To ignore those in any society who are discriminated against because of their human condition is to ignore the life-threatening stress that many will experience on a daily basis. This is why the literature review and case example work of Pierre Tremblay on the problem of suicide among gay and lesbian youth is an important contribution to the field of suicide prevention. The likelihood of increased suicidal behavior, especially attempted suicide, among youth who are homosexual compared to those who are heterosexual has been documented in several research studies...

Mr. Tremblay, on his own time and limited resources, has conducted a credible search of published and non-published reports on homosexuality and suicide, in general, and gay and lesbian youth suicide, in particular. Included in his review is a valuable Canadian study on youth perceptions of how poorly their homosexuality was addressed by social services personnel. His report provides ample evidence of social and organization policy barriers that make it very difficult to openly talk with young people about their sexual orientations in either a human development or suicide prevention context. His work clearly points to the need for the helping professions to do a much better job of preparing their members to competently address the condition of homosexuality in a largely homophobic society. All of us in the professions of education, medicine, psychology and social work must increase our efforts to include suicide prevention as a necessary component of professional preparation, and those of us with special interest in suicide prevention must increase our efforts to present the growing evidence pointing to gay and lesbian youth as a particularly vulnerable population...

Richard F. Ramsay, R.S.W. (Alberta)
Associate Professor, Faculty of Social Work
University of Calgary. July 29, 1994

Preface to Second Edition

Thinking I had done well, guilt soon set in because I had not comprehensively addressed the high risk for suicide in transgender (transsexual and transvestite) youth; nor had I even mentioned the existence of sexual minority individuals in groups of physically and mentally challenged children and youth. A blind young adult male recently told me: "It's more like hell growing up blind and gay. Sighted gay kids get most of their information visually about what interests them, sexually. Now think of yourself being blind. Sighted kids know that genitals are not all the same, but how are we to get such basic knowledge? And this is only a small part of our problems." (p. 5)
These are only a few of the negative outcomes, in addition to suicidal depression, we can expect gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youth to experience because they are growing up in a homohating society. This book, however, only comprehensively explores the suicide problems existing for gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth. Someday, I may write a book on male juvenile delinquency, one on the sexual abuse of boys, and another which explores the social production of mental disorders. ...Symptoms of Social Denial: Suicide, Juvenile Delinquency, Mental Disorders. (p. 7)

Preface to First Edition

It is hoped that the submission of this document to The Honourable Halvar Jonson, Minister of Education in Alberta, will have positive results ... (p. 9)

Executive Summary

It is imperative that ministers in the Alberta Government understand the gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth catastrophe, and also realize that these problems are preventable - by making changes in education. (p. 11)

Introduction

Accurate statistics of gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth deaths from suicide are unavailable, mostly because these youngsters often tell no one their problems, and the ones who survive suicide attempts often deny their homosexual orientation to mental health professionals. (p. 14)

A General History of the Gay and Lesbian Suicide Problem

It was only in the early 1970s, however, that gay liberation became a major fact of life in Europe and North America. For the first time, a wealth of information about gay and lesbian life became available, thus giving us insights into their lives, including various social problems. (p. 15)

Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Youth Suicide

The more gender conformable gay, lesbian, and bisexual adolescents, however, don't escape the negative consequences of living in a homohating society, even though their gender conformity gives them the "closet" advantage. (p. 17)
In November, 1991, I met a 21-year-old gay male who told me about his childhood friend who was having serious problems accepting his own homosexual identity. In fact, he was desperately trying to be heterosexual. One night, he left a party drunk and killed himself by driving his car into a concrete structure. (p. 23)

The Additional Problems of Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Youth of Colour

Gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth who are Latino, Latina, Asian, Native American, etc., have similar and different problems, which means they will have "special needs," and individual needs as their white counterparts do. Within one group, whether they be Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, East Indian, Inuit, Iranian, Lebanese, etc., subgroups will also exist, thus creating unique problems for some adolescents which are not being experienced by others in the same general group. (p. 31)
The Native youth was about 19, had walked away from his northern Alberta Cree people who would not accept him, and he had been working the streets as a prostitute in Calgary for a few years. (p. 32)
"There has historically been a nearly complete disownership of homosexuality in the black community, labelling it instead as a 'disease' caught from whites..." This disownership has also existed in East Indian communities, as noted by a Canadian artist, Sunil Gupta (1989) ... (p. 33)
A Chinese friend advised me that such responses vary in Chinese communities, depending on a family's country of origin, the number of generations a family has been in Canada, and on the information known and given to youth about the history of homosexuality in their culture. (p. 34)

 In the final analysis, we are all responsible for these suicides and attempted suicides. This is why the greater society, and gay and lesbian communities, must be looked at more closely to better understand the causes of the gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth tragedy being described. It is also important to investigate why silence about the problems of all gay, lesbian, and bisexual adolescents has been the rule in our society. (p. 35)

A Society Designed to Kill Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Youth

My introduction to Edmonton gay life in the early 1980s included learning about gays beings beaten to death with chains. When I saw related warning notices in gay clubs, I wondered: "Why is the media silent about this? ..." (p. 36)
The 30 to 50 percent of gay, lesbian, and bisexual adolescents who attempt suicide are in a very low self-esteem category, and this is partly the result of feeling hated by almost everyone. The majority of youth have been taught to hate homosexuals and this hatred becomes self-hatred for about 60 to 80 percent of youngsters who are recognizing their homosexual natures. Because of this lethal socially created situation, some of these youth will kill themselves, thus accomplishing what murderers of gays and lesbians do in other ways. (p. 37)
Feeling hated at home, at school, and in society is certainly an extreme form of anomie' Durkheim (1997) presented to be one of the three major causes for suicide ... Homohating school environments are also, in great part, responsible for the high rates of declining academic achievement, truancy, and dropping out of school reported by researchers who have studied gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth. (p. 41)

The "Gay Factor" in the Street Youth Problem

Staff Sgt. Ross MacInnis ... notes that "many of the males do it for affection and love. The girls (prostitutes) do it for the bucks, but the boys may do it for love." Diddams [the director of a street youth service] adds: "I know more males who give it away on the streets than females. The guys seem to need that immediate acceptance and care." (p. 44)
It is a tragedy to recognize that what our society does to these boys is essentially worse than what the men who sexually use them are doing. (p. 44)

Problem and Changes in Gay and Lesbian Communities

Gay and lesbian communities are evolving, and the fear of addressing problems affecting these communities are slowly fading. These include issues of self-hatred caused, primarily, by gay-negative societal education gay and lesbian individuals received, and problems resulting from the incredible abuse inflicted on many of them during the first twenty years of their lives. Addressing problems, however, means talking and writing about them, which can be dangerous. Homohating people commonly scan research data and articles published in gay and lesbian magazines to find anything they can use - misuse - to attack gays and lesbians. (p. 69) To my knowledge, I have the only person directly educating politicians, education authorities, school counselling authorities, and problem prevention professionals about gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth problems in Alberta. (p. 51) [This situation has now begun to change. I could not continue doing this by myself.]

The "Gay, Lesbian, Colour... Factors" in the Worsening Youth Suicide Problem

It therefore appears like a dramatic increase in the suicide problem has occurred in the gay and lesbian youth population, and that gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth of colour may be the most over-represented in the problem. (p. 59)
Most of these substances are addictive and, although they were initially used to ward off psychic pain, the same pain may eventually intensify with their use, and be compounded if addiction results. (p. 60)
Aids prevention educators have often noted that many youth do not practise safer sex because they feel invincible, and that they will live forever. This may apply for most adolescents, but it certainly does not apply for the 20 to 50 percent of gay males who attempt suicide, nor to the greater percentages who have been, or are suicidal. (p. 61)
Such unscientific, unethical, and unprofessional behavior on the part of scholars should be investigated and reported by nothing less than a Royal Commission. Such a commission should have existed long ago when mental health professionals maintained that all gays and lesbians are mentally disordered, and were behaving accordingly. It is now increasingly recognized that they were motivated by a hatred they had learned as children, which in turn caused them to translate their acquired prejudice and bigotry into a very destructive assault on a human group. (p. 65)
For as long as we continue to negate the existence of gay, lesbian, and bisexual adolescents who contribute significantly to many social problems (through no fault of their own), we will continue to fail in our attempts to address and solve youth problems. This is the high price we pay for maintaining our traditional homophobic and homohating attitudes, and some gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth of all colours are paying the price with their lives. (p. 65)

Homophobia/Homohatred in Research, the Media, and Education

Homopbobia/homohatred has been one of the most significant social characteristics and, although we are becoming less homophobic, its effects - like the negative effects of sexism and racism - continue to permeate the social fabric. It is therefore not surprising to see that the negative results of homophobia/homohatred are still present in research, the media, and in the world of public education. (p. 67)
Unfortunately, the lethal nature of public education may not change in the near future if Sears' 1992 results of a study of 258 prospective teachers in university in South Carolina proves to be the rule in North America. For example, "despite the fact that two-thirds of the respondents indicated that they would discipline a student for making derogatory remarks about homosexuality, only 6 percent actually did so when provided with the opportunity." (p. 71)
Up to the 1960s, the Canadian Government was also actively involved in homo-hunting activities. (p. 73)
[Related to a study done by Nick Greckol for the Calgary Board of Education:] The most important result of the interview was discovering that Mr. Greckol has purposefully avoided investigating "the homosexuality factor" in the school drop-out problem; in spite of his acquired knowledge that gay, lesbian, and bisexual adolescents experience serious problems in society and its schools. (p. 74)
It seems that, given the existence of such shoddy research work, most university students will continue to receive their traditional "gay and lesbian youth don't exist" education, which will make them about as competent as their professors have been in terms of effectively addressing worsening youth problems. Slowly, however, changes are taking place. (p. 75)
Gay and lesbian ATA [Alberta Teachers' Association] members fully understand the meaning of their unprotected status in Alberta, and it doesn't help when the President of the ATA believes that the issue is one of "sexual preference." Even the authors of the 1981 book Sexual Preference apologized for having use this term, because it implies that a "choice" in involved, the reality being that people do not choose their sexual orientation. (p. 79)

A Calgary Gay Youth Attempts Suicide

(Now Online!) [A suicide attempt of a gay male soon after his thirteenth birthday. He was interviewed at the age of 14:] A hook, high up on the wall was focused on. He wondered why it was there, and it became a part of the solution to his problem. He climbed up to check if it would support his weight. It passed the test. A strong rope was found in the basement. One end of the rope was tied to the hook. The other end was tied to his neck, so tight that it was hurting him.
He then paused for a moment as he realized that this was the first time in years he had felt at peace, but only because his death was imminent. In a few seconds, the incredible pain he had felt would end forever; the pain which had caused him to cry every night, having no hope that anyone could help him, or that life could ever be better. (p. 82)
Today, Mark is a survivor. He's a nice kid. And maybe, someday, you will meet him, not knowing he's gay or suspecting what happened to him - unless you are observant. After two years, the marks on his neck have not completely vanished; they are the result of what our rope did to him. If you inquire, he may tell you his story. Listen carefully because he's speaking for many teenagers, including the ones who are silent forever. (p. 84)

Rural Gay Youth Problems

As it is often experienced by gay youth, especially in rural areas, he felt as if he was the only gay male in town ... Most people, including educators, would not consider the idea that some boys engage in criminal activity because they are homosexual or bisexual, and because they are responding with hatred to a society's endless messages of hatred for them. (pp. 85, 86)

Conclusion

By 1991, most professionals in education had not recognized the existence of serious gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth problems; and, if they did, they were behaving as if these problems did not exist. Hopefully, as the result of having written this document (and others) the situation will change. The gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth suicide tragedy and other youth problems are preventable with low-cost changes in education. (p. 88)

Recommendations

[Recommendation # 7:1 It is of monumental importance, given the results of American research on gay youth, and given the information supplied to the Minister about Alberta's gay youth, that the extent of the homosexuality factor be studied in all the following youth problems: 1) Suicide, 2) drug and alcohol abuse, 3) truancy; 4) school drop-outs, 5) street youth, 6) juvenile prostitution, 7) juvenile delinquency, 8) family violence, 9) declining academic achievement, 10) youth violence in schools, 11) sexually transmitted diseases, 12) sexual abuse of children and adolescents. (p. 98)

Addendum

The results of the 52-page No Safe Bed study can be best summarized with the conclusion that, as a rule, for gay and bisexual male youth entering the [Toronto] youth residence system, they became "immersed in a profoundly dangerous world." (p. 100)
This information therefore suggests that it is only gay male adolescents committing suicide in the male youth population and, if this is correct, or close to being correct, it would mean that suicide prevention programs (which don't address gay issues) have essentially been nothing more than programs to make heterosexual youth feel better about themselves, which includes those who have been suicidal, as suicide levels are being maintained (or maybe increased) in the gay and lesbian youth population. (P. 101)
A 19-year-old male youth who had been engaging in prostitution for a few years reported on the greatest problem he had to resolve: "Was I gay because I was sexually abused as a child, or was I used in this way because older males suspected my gay identity and abused me accordingly?" The latter applies and, having resolved this problem himself, he is now putting his life together, no thanks to the psychologists he visited in his early teenage years. It was noted in the "No Safe Bed" study that many social workers believe that a homosexual identity is the result of child sexual abuse, which essentially pathologizes "being homosexual." These boys are then referred for 'therapy' to mental health professionals who also have the same belief. At best this feeds into the boy's socially learned homophobia, and into the hope that he can be 'cured' and therefore gain both self and social acceptance. He will believe that, with 'therapy' for the supposedly causal child sexual abuse, his homosexuality will then go away. This will not happen and, after the boy's hopes have been raised but his homosexuality does not disappear, he may then experience incredible despair and hopelessness often linked to suicides and attempted suicides. (p. 103)
Unfortunately, the level of professional understanding related to the sexual abuse of boys is low. In fact, most mental health professionals don't even have a basic knowledge of homosexuality which would permit them to behave professionally with (average) homosexual boys (with major problems) who have not been sexually abused as children. How then will these professionals be able to understand and help gay boys who have a complicating factor, such as child sexual abuse as a part of their history? ...Until gay youth receive the help they need, WE (as a society) will pay a high price for our ignorance, and for the ignorance of far too many mental health professionals when it comes to gay and lesbian realities. The highest price, however, will be paid by sexually abused youth who may be heading for relationships in which they may abuse others, and/or be abused. They may also be heading for a life of prostitution and drug and/or alcohol abuse. For some, our male prisons (notorious for being abuse and sex abuse institutions) will become their homes, and death will be the fate of others. As a rule, these problems will occur after they drop out of schools where no one was available to help them. Instead, schools became instrumental in placing these kids on a path where almost everyone they met, possibly including social workers in youth residences, and even members of gay communities, will have failed and even abused them. (p. 104)
The 16-page booklet, Ask me: Physician guide to Teen Sexuality Counselling, produced by the Alberta medical Association in the early 1990s, does not mention the existence of gay, lesbian, and bisexual teenagers... (p. 105)

The Suicide of Kurt Cobain and Bobby Steele (Now Online!)

Fortunately, about a year before his death, Cobain revealed important information about his teenage years in the first interview he gave to a gay magazine, The Advocate... (p. 110) Yet, Cobain admits to having lived a "bisexual lifestyle," which really means having lived a homosexual lifestyle given the fact that he was not sexually attracted to females. He was also giving himself the bisexual label by going as far as stating that he "could be bisexual," (with a history of being 100% homosexual), and he did this with the full knowledge of Love's feeling about "bisexuals." "I don't believe in bisexuality, actually. It's a farce. "Schemel, the female drummer in Love's rock group, Hole, agrees. "Neither do I. It's a load of shit." (p. 112)
Sadly, in not one of the mainstream (heterosexual and traditionally homophobic) media articles was it mentioned that Cobain was a gay kid who even flaunted his gay identity, that he was beaten up because of this, that he was certainly often labelled "Fuckin faggot!", and that he was a loner because almost everyone hated, rejected, and hurt him. The word "feminine" used to describe himself as a boy (in the Advocate Interview) was never mentioned in mainstream articles, although the euphemism commonly used in society to say the same thing is: "The boy like art, music, and reading, but hates sports." (p. 115)
He had survived credibly "pretending" to be gay, but he did not survive his less credible impersonation of a heterosexual, and Love was a part of the nightmare he had ventured into. He was becoming everything he was not, and his life was becoming increasingly unbearable. As he noted in his suicide not: "It's not fun anymore. I can't live this life." (p. 117)
Cobain said: "I can't live this life [anymore]" because what he was living was not LIFE. What he was 'living' was more like death to him, and he simply made himself into what he had become. (p. 119)

The next day I finished reading [19-year-old] Bobby Steele's story which, in many ways, is similar to Cobain. Bobby was "excellent at drama and music," wrote poetry, performed poorly in other subjects, was "tormented by self-doubt and desire and loneliness," never felt he could talk to anyone about his problems," and "both felt like outcasts from a chaotic, ugly world." (p. 120) Bobby had obviously withheld important information about himself from his family, even though his 25-year-old gay Native friend "had urged Bobby to try to talk with his parents, to be honest with them about himself." (p. 121)
I could be unkind and suggest that Bobby's mother should have told him that she loved him even though he may be gay. As I told my sister-in-law with respect to not helping her pregnant 19-year-old [lesbian] friend who had shot herself, even after she had seen the gun in her friend's bag at the beach the same day the suicide occurred: "You had not received the education needed to recognize her problems and help her." The same also applies to Bobby's family and his friends, including his gay friends. WE all share responsibility for Bobby's death, and more deaths are to come. The education is not there, not even in the field of suicidology. Another gay kids has committed suicide and homophobic DENIAL rules the day. Another gay kid has died, and WE still refuse to learn anything from it. (p. 124)

Epilogue

[In July, 1994, the director of the only Suicide Information and Education Centre (SIEC) in North America wrote to me and reported on the general mind-set in mainstream suicidology:] "Gay and lesbian suicide has not been identified as an area requiring special attention by anyone other than yourself." (p. 132)
In view of this knowledge, it could be an unethical and contemptuous for suicide prevention experts to avoid (as they have generally done) effectively addressing the gay and lesbian youth suicide reality. Will doing this now become the rule, as opposed to being the exception? Will mental health professionals dominating the field of suicidology ever act professionally and ethically when addressing gay and lesbian issues? (p. 133)
In Alberta, most of the top 'experts' in suicide have been resistant to this information, even after having received a copy of my document [the first edition of this book] and related literature. Unfortunately, they are the ones mainstream journalists will quote when writing about the suicide problem. Historically, mainstream journalists also uncritically quoted only the 'experts' who claimed that all gays and lesbians were mentally disordered, and many newspapers were only giving daily voice to deadly homophobes such as Ann Landers. (p. 133)
[An internationally recognized Calgary expert on suicide quoted in the Calgary Herald:] "Tanney [also] thinks the male vulnerability to suicide may be partly biological. All that testosterone racing through a guy produces aggression which may turn inward." It would certainly be interesting to see Dr. Tanney present this idea to the experts on gay youth suicide (given that the most feminine males [The ones with the highest testosterone level?] are three times more likely to attempt suicide than are more masculine gay males.), along with his advice related to the male suicide problem. "He thinks the best suicide preventer for men is having a wife or girlfriend to share their feelings with." This conclusion must have been reached because so many white males who commit suicide do not have girlfriends or wives, but Tanney forgot to ask: "Who are the males most likely to not have intimate relationships with females?" (p. 134)
The responsibility for "these kids" belongs to everyone and, although gay and lesbian communities must become supportive, responsible, and protective (especially when these youth venture into the core of these communities), "these kids" are not growing up in gay and lesbian communities. As I often note to gay and lesbian people, there is no way that we can be there for all of them, most of them, half of them,, or even one-tenth of them. Their welfare, which includes preventing the development of problems, is entrusted to others who are failing these kids, as they failed us. Some of us did not make it, and many more will not make it. The abuses many of us were subjected to in our families, schools, etc., and even in gay and lesbian communities, must come to an end. our mandate should be: We must no longer participate, often by being silent, in doing to these kids what was done to us. This wholesale child abuse must end, and it will end, if we no longer tolerate it. We can no longer remain silent because, as we have been so fond of saying with respect to AIDS: SILENCE KILLS! (P. 140)

Appendix A: Basic Knowledge

The current period in the history of education and mental health may be termed to be "the age of passive aggression." It follows "the age of active aggression" ending in 1973 when the American Psychiatric Association stopped formally declaring "homosexuality" to be a mental illness to be cured - because it was believed that homosexuals should not exist. Maintaining maximum suicide casualties for homosexual adolescents by being silent about this fact, and by not specifically targeting these youth in suicide prevention efforts, is a manifestation of the "Gays deserve to die!" or the "Gays should not exist!" ideology. The same applies for all HIV prevention education which does not specifically (and effectively) target gay and bisexual male youth, given that they are the most at risk of contracting HIV. Such activities are in the "passive aggression" category. (p. 144)

Appendix B: Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Youth Percentages

The great problem with respect to present-day youth has been to establish the percentage which is homosexual, or predominantly homosexual. (p. 156)
Researchers seeking to establish "homosexual" youth realities must always do their preliminary homework. This should involve a study of self-identified gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth from all cultural groups expected to be in the youth population targeted for research. Commonly, gay and lesbian youth will report a history of having denied their homosexual orientation, and they will often frankly describe the process of early denial and deception. (p. 157)
Researchers must also do their cross-cultural homework, which will yield interesting problems to solve with respect to devising a questionnaire containing items deemed effective with respect to accessing "homosexuality" information from adolescents belonging to different minority groups. Related information can be obtained from gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth of colour; and also from the related literature. With respect to Natives, a warning to researchers is contained in Tafoya's 1991 description of the Native situation: "Many contemporary Native people have difficulty in being comfortable with identifying themselves as Gay, lesbian, or Bisexual, feeling as though they are 'being herded' into such categories by the power of English..." (p. 159)
In our society, the males having the most homo-sex are part of the gay community, followed by males who form prison communities. The former are more gender nonconformable, while the latter are the opposite. (p. 163)

Appendix C: Demographic and Suicide Attempt Data Based on Sexual Orientation in a Stratified Random Sample of 750 18- to 27-Year-Old Male

The results of this study therefore reveal that, in a medium sized Canadian city, about 9.2% of 18- to 27-year-old males are homosexually active from a "regular" to "occasional' basis. (p. 165)
The few dollars which has been 'saved' as the result of our implemented hatred for a human group has yielded many social problems (such as increasing youth suicides and other serious youth problems) few of our (often homophobic) professionals have understood. Much money has therefore been wasted doing research in youth suicide (and other youth problems), and in doing suicide prevention work (and other youth problem prevention work) simply because a major over-represented group in these problems was not recognized by most professionals. Such behavior probably occurs because most professionals grew up in a homophobic society which has been very reluctant to even recognize the existence of gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth of all colours.
With respect to the youth suicide problem, the situation has been much like (but not as ridiculous as) seeing researchers attempt to understand and effectively address breast cancer but only looking at men who develop breast cancer, and only targeting men for prevention. True, men are at risk, but at little risk compared to women. Heterosexual white males are also at risk for suicide and suicide attempts, but their risk is low compared to the risk manifested by white gay youth, gay youth of colour, lesbian youth of all colours, and bisexual males and females of all colours. (p. 171)
The response to this data is that child sexual abuse places an individual at high risk for suicide attempts, but it's not the "sexual abuse" which may be the causal factor ... The suicide attempt(s) of males who were sexually abused as children may not be as much related to the sexual abuse as it would be related to the information processing occurring in the mind of males opting for suicide. (p. 172)
..., which makes these right wing 'Christians' [are] the best friends of child sexual abusers. p, 172 People who hate others are never the highly moral and righteous ones they have always presented themselves to be. (p. 173)

Appendix D: Problems Related to Studies of Lesbians

These rates therefore yield the conclusion that the attempted suicide problem of lesbian youth was a serious as the one experienced by homosexual youth. (pp. 177-78)

Appendix E: The 1991 Gay and Lesbian Youth Status in Alberta Schools

[From a 1991 two-part article published in a Calgary gay magazine:] Hutton has nonetheless abided by the unwritten 'law'. In schools, she will never say anything positive about homosexuality, and certainly not say anything to celebrate gay sexuality. She feels that, if this was ever done, AIDS Calgary would be banned from ever entering a school again.
At the teaching of "Safer sex" level, much less is therefore being done than what is possible, with expected negative consequences. Higher rates of HIV infection for gay and bisexual male youth, and for the females they have sex with, can be expected. other problems are also created because nothing is being done to elevate the self-esteem of these boys.
It is known that low self-esteem, or wanting to die, may not result in gay and bisexual boys practising "safer sex" to save their lives ...
Given the evidence, it's tempting to conclude that our schools are set up to destroy the maximum number of gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth. (pp. 182-83)

[From an anonymous letter printed in a Calgary high school newspaper:] I am not "out" at school nor in the Calgary community as a whole. Instead, because of fear for my privacy and fear of physical assault, I feel the need to lie. (p. 184)

Appendix F: Two 16-Year-Old Calgary Gay Youths and the Mother of a Gay Youth Report on Public and Catholic Schools

[A Catholic boy, now 19, reveals some of his problems in a short essay written for his religion teacher:] I told [my family] I was gay ... I went through junior high school feeling terrified of everyone. I had few friends, or at least few good friends. All I heard at schools was that "homosexuals are an outcast from society and they should all be killed." Tell me how a thirteen year old gay kid is going to take that. I was scared. I wanted to kill myself. How can someone condemn and punish me for that? I hear so much crap in the school halls it makes me sick. I honestly do not know how much more of high school I can take. (p. 185)
[Calgary's Roman Catholic Bishop wrote the following to me:] "It is very serious that our school system have the proper attitude about dignity and the rights of all students in their school. If, as you describe it, it is not being recognized then there must be changes." (p. 187)

[From a presentation made by a mother of a gay youth to officials in the Calgary Board of Education in February, 1995:] At ten years old, my son started acting differently, became quiet, and lost his sense of humour. His school work suffered, and he talked about not wanting to be around anymore. After jumping out in front of a car that barely missed him, we took him to the Sick Children's Hospital for counselling. He still could not tell anyone what was really wrong. He now says he was really waiting for someone, a counsellor, a teacher, or me, to ask "THE QUESTION." (p. 189)



Email:   Pierre Tremblay: ----- pierre@youth-suicide.com ----- (403) 245-8827
Home Page
GLBT Education Index
Top Of Page
Visitor Numbers


excellence
I got this Award:
 If you want one click on the image