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GB Male Suicidality at a Glance! Results of 30 studies in four tables.
Norway's GLB
Suicide Problems

To "Attempted Suicide" Results For Homosexually Oriented and Transgender  Males & Females: More Than 100 Studies!

  To "Attempted Suicide" Results For European Homosexually Oriented Males & Females!

To: A Possible Cause for GLBT Suicidality in Norway & Many Other Western Countries.

Contents:

Background Information  on Possible GLB Suicide Problems in Norway: 1995-1999.

A 1997 Conference Paper Addresses the Possibility of GLB Suicide Problems in Norway.

Arne Gronningseter Report on the Situation With Respect to Having GLB suicide problem Addressed in Norway.

Arne Gronningseter Supplies an English Translation of the Data from the Hegna et al. (1999) Study of Norwegian Gay and Lesbian Individuals.

A summary of the Hegna et al. (1999) study made available by Kristinn Hegna (on another web page).

The Wichstrom & Hegna (2003) Longitudinal Study of Norway Youth

Male Youth Prostitution in Oslo: For every "1" adolescent girl selling sex, there are 3.5 adolescent boys selling sex

The Avoidance of Studying Boys who Have Sex With Men in North America

NOVA Report 01/07: Homo? Betydningen av seksuell erfaring, tiltrekning og identitet for selvmordsforsøk og rusmiddelbruk blant ungdom. En sosiologisk studie [Gay? The importance of sexual experience, attraction, and identity for suicide attempts and substance use among teenagers in Norway. A sociological study.] By Kristinn Hegna. Kristinn Hegna´s doctoral thesis from the Institute of Sociology and Social Geography at University of Oslo. Download Page: http://www.nova.no/index.gan?id=12803&subid=0 - PDF Download: http://www.nova.no/asset/2542/1/2542_1.pdf .

The report is in Norwegian, but four English papers are reproduced at the end of the report. One of the papers is:

Hegna K, Wichstrøm L (2007)
. Suicide Attempts among Norwegian Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Youths General and Specific Risk Factors. Acta Sociologica, 50(1): 21-37. Abstract. Excerpts.

Other papers available are:

Hegna K, Larsen CJ (2007). Straightening out the queer? Same-sex experience and attraction among young people in Norway. Culture, Health and Sexuality, 9(1): 15-30. PubMed Abstract.

Hegna K, Rossow I (2006). What’s love got to do with it? Substance use and social integration for young people categorised by homosexual experience and attractions. Journal of Drug Issues, 37(2).

Hegna K (----). Coming out, coming into what? Identification and risks in the ‘coming out’ story of a Norwegian late adolescent gay man.

Kristinn Hegna: Projects / Paper.


Unge homofile og selvmord (2006, Translation): Å ikke få være en selvsagt del av verden - unge homofile og selvmord: []

Background Information on Possible GLB suicide Problems in Norway: 1995-1999.

Norway's possible gay and lesbian youth suicide problems was first described to me in 1995 and first reported in Update 1996 to the book, The Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Factor in the Youth Suicide Problem (1993, 1994, 1996). In the "Europe" web page related to GLB suicide problems, the following had been written:
In 1995, at Calgary's Gay Lines, I met a young gay Norwegian man working for a Swedish telephone manufacturer. Given that he had been involved with a GLB youth group in Oslo, I asked him about the GLB youth suicide problem in his country - after reporting on the situation in North America. He reported homophobia to be a problem as serious in Norway as it was in North America, that coming out problems were similar, and that a significant GLB youth suicide problems existed in his country.
This situation was collaborated by Marte Nathalie in a 1999 Web Page titled "Homosexuality". She reported:
A statistic bureau in Norway recently released a study on the life-quality amongst young people that love someone from the same sex. The results are shocking. One out of four had tried to commit suicide! Half of the people asked didn't dare to tell even their closest friends that they were gay. Many had gone through tough times with their families, some had even been thrown out on the streets when they told they were gay.
On the Internet, notice of a paper exploring the potential GLB suicide problem in Norway had become available, but only the abstract was made available. The following was written in this respect:
The possible GLB suicide problem in Norway was addressed (possibly for the first time in 1997) via the paper The need for developing strategies for suicide prevention among young lesbian women and gay men: empirical and theoretical rationales written on the subject. The paper's abstract is available online (Alternate Link)- via the Internet Journal of Health Promotion.
Authors: Asle Offerdal (Studenenes psykiske helsetjeneste, Universitetet i..Bergen, Hans Tanksgate 11 N-5028 BERGEN, and Norman Anderssen (Research Center for Health Promotion, University of ' Bergen, Oisteinsgt.3, N-5007 BERGEN. The Paper was presented at the Conference on the Status of Nordic Health Promotion Research: Progress during the Decade after the Ottawa Charter. - The National Plan for Suicide Prevention 1994-1998: Chapter 3: Homosexuality mentioned without explanations.

In 1998, "Suicide and suicide prevention among gays and lesbians" by by Eva Friis was published the Norwegian journal Suicidologi 1998, no. 3. It became available on the Internet by 2001.

In 1998 / 1999, I had asked Richard Ramsay (Professor, Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary) if he would communicate a request for relevant information to some Norwegian contacts he knew in the field of suicidology. The silence in this respect resulted in this comment:
Remarkably (or maybe not so remarkably), no response was received to the request.

By August 2000, however, a contact had been made with Arne Gronningseter via Professor Ramsay and the following information on gay and lesbian suicide problem in Norway was made available.

Initially, in an email, Arne Gronningseter summarized the situation related to GLB suicide problems in Norway:
The issue of suicide among gay and lesbian youths is quite high on the public agenda for the moment. The reason is that a survey has shown that among young homosexuals there is an overrepresentation of people who have tried to commit suicide. Just a few months ago, one of the main TV channels showed a documentary about a 20-year-old and very religious boy who committed suicide. This film was seen by very many viewers and increased the public attention for these issues. Discussions are now occurring with bishops and church leaders about these issues.
This was followed by noting that information related to the NOVA study of gay and lesbian Norwegian individuals was available at their Web Site: http://www.isaf.no/NOVA/english/english.htm . He offered to translate some relevant information which is given in the next section.
 

The Arne Gronningseter's Report on the Norwegian GLB Suicidality Study by Hegna et al. (1999).

 
Percent Gays and Lesbians
(N = 2,988): 
Tried To Commit Suicide

Suicide Attempt: 
One or More
16-24
Years
25-34
Years
35-49
Years
+ 50
Years
All
One Attempt
(Males)
20
12
9
11
11
Two or More Attempts (Males)
7
5
5
2
5
One Attempt
(Females)
14
13
14
15
13
Two of More  Attempts (Females)
11
6
7
3
7

Source: Hegna, K., H.W. Kristiansen and B. Mosen (1999)
Levekår og livskvalitet blant lesbiske kvinner og homofile menn.
NOVA Report 1/1999.

Sixteen percent (16 %) of the male respondents have tried to commit suicide at least once and 20 % of the women has tried to commit suicide a least once.

Percent of Lesbian and Gays who have experienced
thoughts related to committing suicide in the last 14 days
(NOVA 1998), and corresponding percentages in the
mainstream population (National Health Survey 1995)

Study
16-24
Years
25-34
Years
35-49
Years
50 – 59
Years
+ 60
Years
All
NOVA 1998
(Males)
7,4
2,9
3,0
1,2
(0)
3,3
NHS 1995
(Males)
0,7
0,5
0,6
0,5
0
0,5
NOVA 1998
(Females)
6,1
3,0
3,2
3,5
0
3,4
NHS 1995
(Females)
1,7
0,4
-
0,8
0
0,4

Figure in parentheses: N<20
The percentages of gays/lesbians are as much as
6 to 7 times as high as in the general population.

Summary comment with respect to the Hegna et al (1999) study of Norwegian gay and lesbian individuals:

Those who have tried to commit suicide gives mainly four reasons:


Many Thanks to Arne Gronningseter for the information supplied above. Follow this link for a summary of the Hegna et al. (1999) Study supplied by Kristinn Hegna in June, 2001.

GLB and Suicide Prevention (September, 2002)
English Summary of Strategies & Actions (PDF Download)

From the above study a subsample was taken and analyzed by Hegna and Wichstrøm (2007) Paper available online as part of Hegna (2007). Excerpts:

Data were collected through the national survey ‘Living conditions and quality of life among lesbians and gay men in Norway’, a study aimed at describing the lives of gay men and lesbians of all age groups (Hegna et al., 1999)... (age 15–25, mean age 21.7 years, SD = 2.43) ... Eighty per cent of the respondents considered themselves to be gay or lesbian, 7.5 per cent bisexual. Respondents who indicated a homosexual orientation with elements of heterosexuality (9.1 per cent), a heterosexual orientation with elements of homosexuality (2.0 per cent) or who were unsure (1.4 per cent) were also included in the subsample, since many young  people do not consider themselves to have a sexual identity as gay/lesbian during the transitional period of ‘coming out’ (Herdt and Boxer, 1993)...

Twenty-six per cent of the adolescents and young adults in the sample had tried to take their own life at least once during their lifetime; 17.1 per cent had one attempt and 8.9 per cent hadseveral attempts behind them. There was no difference between male (25.8 per cent) and female (26.3 per cent) respondents... The majority (54.1 per cent) of attempts had been made after or during the year of homosexual debut, and an additional 12.2 per cent had been made during the year before sexual debut...

Attempted suicide was predicted by a set of risk factors not specific to GLB youth in the multivariate model: Infrequent contact with parents, internalizing problems (anxiety/depression), regular smoking and experiences of threats and physical violence. In the multivariate analysis, high self-esteem was negatively associated with attempted suicide. However, in addition to the general risk factors is a set of risk factors specific to GLB youth’s life situation added to the model fitness, that is low age of heterosexual debut, being in a heterosexual relationship, coming out before 19 years of age and in particular coming out before 15 years of age, infrequent contact with heterosexual friends and having told all or no heterosexual friends about one’s sexual orientation. From a general point of view, the findings confirm that psychological factors like depression and low self-esteem, as well as social life style and social integration issues, are important. In addition, these findings seem to reflect a pattern of early and troublesome identity formation even among GLB youths at the end of the 1990s.


Friis, Eva: Suicide and suicide prevention among gays and lesbians (First published in the Norwegian journal Suicidologi 1998, no. 3.) PDF Download.


The Wichstrom & Hegna (2003) Longitudinal Study of Norway Youth.


Youth "Attempted Suicide" Risks: Norway
Homosexually Oriented Youth
Study
Sample
Size (N)
GLB
Compa-
rison
Group
Attempted
Suicide
Incidence
Sampling Information
Age
Odds Ratio (95% CI)
Wichstrom
& Hegna (2003)



6.5% (MF*)
7.0%(F)
5.7% (M)
Same-Sex
Sexual Contact, Ever
93.5%
No Same-Sex
Sexual Contact,
Ever
15.4%
vs.
3.6%
Lifetime
RR: 4.3
108 Attempters = 4.4%,
N = 2,460 (In Regression Model)
OR = 4.7 (3.1, 7.3), No Controls.
OR = 4.3 (2.1, 5.6),
With 6 Controls Variables
20.9% (F)
8.6% (M)
Some Same
-Sex Sexual
Attraction
--
9.1%
vs.
3.6%
Lifetime
RR: 2.5
ORs not Generated
13.5% (F)
8.9% (M)
Some GLB
Identity
--
9.1%
vs.3.6%
Lifetime
RR: 2.5
ORs not Generated
7.0% (F)
Same-Sex
Sexual Contact, Ever

93.0%
No Same-Sex
Sexual Contact,
Ever

19.4%
vs. 4.2%
From T-2
to T-3 **
RR: 4.6
N = 1,327 Females
*** Predicting Suicide Attempt
from 1994 to 1999:
OR = 5.9 (3.2, 10.8)
, No Controls.
OR = 5,0 (2.3, 10.6), 3 Controls
Wichstrom
(2009)

(M) (F)
Non-Heterosexual
Sexual Interests
At Time 1
(M) (F)
No Same-Sex
Sexual Interests
Reported At Time 1
(M) (F)
Attempted Suicide From T1 to T2
OR = 6.8 (3.7, 12.5)
With Control Variables.
See Below.
Same Longitudinal Student Survey: In Multivariate Nominal Regression, students who had reported having had same-sex-sexual contacts before T1 or had been aware of their same-sex sexual interest before T1 were classified as having non-heterosexual sexual interest... and this category produced the strongest predictors (not including NSSI & Attempting Suicide at Time 1) for Non-suicidal Self-Injury (NSSI) [OR: 4.06, 1.95 - 8.47] and Attempting Suicide [OR: 6.81, 3.70 - 12.55] from Time 1 to Time 2.
* M = Males - F = Females
** Longitudinal Study, 3 Questionnaires from T-1 to T3: 1992 (T-1): 12,287 students, Grades 7 - 12. - 1994 (T-2): 9,679 students, Grade 9 - 12+. - 1999 (T-3): 2,924 Youth.. - Mean Ages: 14.9 years (SD: 1.7, T-1) to 16.5 years (SD: 1.9, T-2) to 22.1 years (SD: 1.9, T-3).
***
No Homo-Sex male suicide attempters from 1994 to 1999. Comparing the N's in both regression models reveals that there are only about 1,133 males (2460 - 1,327) available for analysis.
Responders to "Attempted Suicide" and "Same-Sex Sex" questions:  Males = 1,239; Females = 1,567: Total = 2,806, but the numbers are lower in regression analyses due to non-reponses to other variables: 1,133 and 1,327 (Total = 2,460), respectively.
Is An Estimate of the Percentage of Suicide Attempters Who are Homo-Sex Males Possible?  Maybe not possible to calculate given the data supplied by the authors. Males & Females Reporting Homo-Sex, Ever: 2,806 X 6.5% = 182. For Females: 1,567 X 7.0% = 109.7 = 100. For Males: 1,239 X 5.7% = 70.6 = 71. Homo-Sex Males & Females Who Attempted Suicide: 182 X 15.4% = 28 Suicide Attempters. Homo-Sex Females Who Attempted Suicide from T-2 to T-3: 110 X 19.4% = 21 Suicide Attempters. This would mean that only a maximum of 7 Homo-Sex male suicide attempters could exist up to T-2, the number likely being less. Furthermore, it would seem that the great majority of Homo-Sex females who attempted suicide between T-2 and T-3 (All? Almost All?) are repeat suicide attempters. Assuming "All", this would mean that there are 7 Homo-Sex male suicide attempters, for an "Attempted Suicide" Incidence of 9.9% (7 / 71), all having occurred up to T-2. Unfortunately, the authors did not report any "Attempted Suicide" results specific to Homo-Sex males, other males, or all males up to T-2. The lifetime "Attempted Suicide" incidence for males is 2.2%; 1.6% for Non-Homo-Sex males from T-2 to T-3.


Wichstrom L, Hegna K (2003). Sexual orientation and suicide attempt: a longitudinal study of the general Norwegian adolescent population. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 112(1): 144-51. PubMed Abstract.

Wichstrom L (2009). Predictors of non-suicidal self-injury versus attempted suicide: similar or different? Archives of Suicide Research, 13(2): 105-22. Abstract. PDF Download.

Comparative Survey of the legal and social situation of homosexuals in Europe (latest edition, 1998). - European GLB Legal/Rights Information. - Social exclusion of young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Europe. (106 page 2006 report vy Judit Takács: PDF Download. PDF Download.).



A Possible Cause for GLBT Suicidality Proposed by Tone Hellesund.

Related Paper: Hellesund, Tone (2007). Deadly identities? : Homosexuality, adolescence and parasuicide. Ethnologia scandinavica, 37: 35-46. Reference. - Related News Article: Warns against 'queer looks’ and suicide statistics (2007): The shocking suicide figures among homosexuals are often used in the fight for equal treatment, but warnings are now being sounded about giving too much support to such a depressing depiction of the situation. At the same time, a new study shows that is it often the cumulative effect of the small everyday episodes that make the feeling of being different too hard to bear... In Ms Hellesund’s opinion, emphasising homosexuality as an orientation one is born with and cannot do anything about contributes to producing and reproducing homosexuality as a negative deviation. It becomes a special identity to be either ashamed or proud of. “I believe that slogans such as “Gay and proud of it” also show that shame is lurking just beneath the surface. Identity politics can be an effective way of achieving rights, but they derive their power from a collective pain. If one chose the opposite path and played down the categories, this could reduce many gay people’s feeling of not belonging,” says Ms Hellesund, who also believes that sexuality should not be regarded primarily as fixed categories, but rather as culturally changeable and unstable.

Also See: "Møtet med ”den andre” – unge homofile og selvmord" & "En kommentar til forskning om selvmord og homofili", Suicidologi, 11(2): 20-22 & 23. PDF Download. No Google Translation. Full Text. Translation.
Related Book: Hellesund, Tone (2009). Identitet på liv og død: marginalitet, homoseksualitet og selvmord av. Reference. Translation.
Concept Summary From an Interview With Tone Hellesund (Full Text):
In the project I have been doing on homosexuality and suicide narratives, I have interviewed young people who have tried to commit suicide because of their homosexuality, and they tell stories about being marginalized. From a very young age they recognized that homosexuality was seen as something, not only different from the lives their parents, families, friends and communities lived, but as something fundamentally different; something that really belonged to a different reality or universe; something that went on in a different place, between different people, and definitely not here in our family, at our school or in our village.

The stories I have heard are told by young people between the ages of 14 and 18 that live in very heterosexual environments, where they hear very few positive stories about homosexuality, yet they constantly hear that “the good life” is supposed to be heterosexual. These stories also speak of how if they were to become homosexuals, they would have to leave aside the life they had lived until then and become different persons in the eyes of their families, friends and maybe even in their own eyes.

Homosexuality is still seen as the truth about a human being. In Norwegian, we use the word legning; we speak of homofil legning, a homosexual inclination, which I see as a very essentialist framing of sexuality. That is a term that is very much used in the public debate and in every day conversations amongst general people. It is assumed that if you are a homosexual, you have this inborn inclination; your core is that you were born a homosexual, and there is nothing you can do about it. This is a very strong story in the Norwegian context...

The suicide narrative is strong in Norway and when that is the narrative about homosexuality that young people hear, they can also put their own suffering, and their own struggle into it, and connect to it in a way that could be potentially dangerous. All the people I have interviewed want to be normal, and want to have normal lives, and for them homosexuality was not something that could be integrated or combined with a normal life. The feeling of having to be someone different, of living a different life and being someone extraordinary, when all they want to be is ordinary people, is really strong in the stories I heard. I am sure that there are a lot of other stories about homosexuality and suicide too, but the ones I heard were the classic homosexual script, which is very easy to combine with the suicide script.
Concept Explored: Røthinga Å, Svendsenb SHB (2010). Homotolerance and Heterosexuality as Norwegian Values. Journal of LGBT Youth, 7(2): 147-166. Abstract. Full Text.
Abstract: In recent years, equality between homosexual and heterosexual relationships has increasingly been presented as a marker for Norwegian values. Norwegian schooling encourages tolerance toward homosexuals, and the state shows active interest in counteracting bullying against LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) youth by supporting research and prevention programs. Recent studies concerning LGBT youth in Norway do indicate, however, that young Norwegians in general find it difficult to imagine themselves living a nonheterosexual life. Suicide is still considered a “reasonable” reaction to having to face a future as a homosexual. How can this be understood? Our analyses of teaching and textbooks in Norwegian schools points to three approaches to understanding young peoples’ reluctance to imagining themselves as nonheterosexual: the double message of homotolerance, the self-evidence of heterosexuality, and the absence of nonheterosexual futurescapes.

Excerpt: Both teaching and textbooks in Norwegian schools reflect the assumption that all students are heterosexually oriented and will lead a heterosexual life, with the exception of homosexual students, who are addressed in special sections. Generally, heterosexuality appears to be self-evident and normative also in teaching that explicitly aims to create positive attitudes. This is reflected in statements like “We have to accept homosexuals and be kind to them. They are ordinary people with feelings, just like us,” and in this conclusion to a group discussion: “Our group agrees that we do not have anything against homosexuals.” Such an approach implies a privileged heterosexual “we” who have the opportunity to tolerate “the homosexuals” as “the others” and who can decide what is tolerated and what is not tolerated. This creates an image of “the others” as inherently “different.” In the action of tolerance the difference is also produced, as “the others” are placed elsewhere, outside the classroom (Røthing, 2008; see also Brown, 2006; Gressg°ard & Jacobsen, 2008). Speaking of tolerance in this way produces otherness and marginalization of all nonheterosexuals. At the same time, heterosexuality and the privileges that come with a heterosexual lifestyle are not brought up or problematized. Heterosexuality is not presented as a topic for discussion. That way, it is portrayed as self-evident in its invisibility and verbal nonexistence (Foucault, 1980/1995). Heterosexuality is thus (re)produced as normative and privileged...

Conclusion: As mentioned in the introduction, Tone Hellesund argues that identities, when they appear to be absolute, stable, and predetermined, can be dangerous, even lethal, and she shows how this particular concept of “identity” tends to produce an experience of fundamental difference. The combination of an absolute and immersive identity and images of the future where this particular identity does not fit in or is absent may create a feeling of total hopelessness that makes suicide seem like a reasonable solution. Our analyses of teaching and textbooks pointed at three approaches to understanding young peoples’ reluctance to and fear of imagining themselves as nonheterosexual: (a) the double message of homotolerance, (b) the self-evidence of heterosexuality, and (c) the absence of nonheterosexual futurescapes. This teaching rests on an understanding of sexuality as binary and fixed, similar to the one reflected in the narratives of Hellesund’s informants. This understanding of sexuality is continuously presented in Norwegian schooling on sexuality, in classrooms, and in textbooks. Heterosexuality and homosexuality are presented as two sexual orientations that are mutually exclusive. Sexuality is depicted as something that is stable and set, something a person has and is, and he or she is expected to be either heterosexual or homosexual. This binary approach to sexuality both reproduces heterosexuality as the most desirable sexual practice and future and homosexuality by implication acceptable but not really wanted or desirable (Røthing & Svendsen, 2008a). Our studies have not found any evidence of textbooks or education that tries to fundamentally challenge the privileged position of heterosexuality in Norwegian society. The changes that teachers and textbooks seem to promote are primarily in relation to the majority’s (presumed) negative ideas of and attitudes to nonheterosexuals as “the others” (Røthing, 2008; Røthing & Svendsen, 2009b).

A Similar Proposition was Advanced by Tremblay and Ramsay (2000, 2004). See: "The Changing Social Construction of Western Male Homosexuality: Associations With Worsening Youth Suicide Problems." Contents Page. Contents Page. The concept will become apparent after reading the first two short sections, i.e., reading to "Male Homosexuality: From Common to a Rarity."


Email:   Pierre Tremblay: ----- pierre@youth-suicide.com ----- (403) 245-8827
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