Gay / Lesbian Youth Suicide Problems in Australia / New Zealand?
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Suicidality Results from More than 30 Studies in Four Categories!
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Site Index: Gay / Bisexual Male Suicide Problems
History of the Suicide Problem in Gay Communities
Pierre J. Tremblay

Presented at the Sixth Annual Conference of the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, Banff, Alberta, October 11-14, 1995, (c) Oct 1995. First made available on the Internet on January 19, 1996.

Conclusion & Acknowledgments

Homosexually active gay and bisexual young adult males are over-represented in the male youth attempted suicide problem, and the same would apply for gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth of colour. An over-representation of these youth is also predicted in the suicide problem. It has been demonstrated that gay and bisexual male youth, who form about 10% of the male population, are about 6-times more at risk for suicide attempts than heterosexual youth, and would account for about 40%, maybe 50%, of male youth suicide attempters.

These males, along with heterosexual males who were sexually abused also form about 90% of the young adult male suicide attempters. Therefore, suicidologists must begin asking and answering an important question: Why have most studies of youth suicide problems not been concerned with identifying sexual orientation, and child sexual abuse in their research work? Is this how truly scientific work should be done? Is it acceptable for suicidologists to have generally avoided doing anything to understand and help gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth despite the taboo nature of their sexuality? Was it ethical for mental health professionals until recently to have deemed all gay and lesbian people to be mentally disordered, and to have behaved accordingly? Has it been ethical, given the facts of the case, for suicidologists to have generally ignored GLB issues? Why did this happen?


This paper is dedicated to all the gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth who died believing that no one in the world could help them, or committed suicide after they sought help but were harmed. I am eternally grateful to all the gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth I have met over the years who told me their story with the hope that the world may someday be a better place for other GLB youth now growing up. For some, the child abuse inflicted will have lethal consequences, but most will survive, often bearing hidden scars from the war society waged against them.

Dedicated also to Virginia Uribe (the founder of PROJECT 10 in Los Angeles) who, after having learned about our world, often by hearing teachers speak about homosexuality in staff rooms, stated: "No wonder the kids commit suicide. I'm surprised they don't all kill themselves. If they really were aware of how much hatred there is, they probably would" (82:86).

I thank my mother and father, Dorothy and Hervey Tremblay, for their ongoing encouragement, and all who have helped to get the GLB reality on many agendas in Calgary. This includes Bill Rutherford (President, Parents/Friends of Lesbians and Gays, Calgary chapter), Gerry Harrington (Director, SIEC), Gloria Wilson (AADAC), Pam Greer (Canadian Red Cross), Bruce Potter (Calgary Birth Control Association), Pat Boyle and Don Andrews (Calgary Board of Education), Bishop Paul O'Byrne and Jim Pender (Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary), Peter Hodgson (I-DENTITY: GLB youth group), Les Meares and Jim Picken (Integrity: GLB Anglican group), and the individuals listed below.

For this paper, I thank Dr. Christopher Bagley (Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary) for his support and for the research data which made this paper into a much needed contribution to the field of Suicidology, Dick Ramsay (Faculty of Social Work, U of C), and Dr. Gary Sanders (Faculty of Medicine, U. of C.) for their assistance and editorial comments.

I especially thank Stephen Lock (Gay Lines Calgary) for his greatly appreciated editing work, and for 3 interviews related to GLB youth problems on Calgary's only weekly GLB radio program, Speak Sebastian, on CJSW-FM. Also: SRC-TV (French CBC) in Winnipeg and Calgary for interviews, CBC Radio in Calgary for being on The Home Stretch program, and Alanna Mitchell (Globe & Mail, Calgary) for writing an article (June 23, 1995) about my work in the GLB suicide problem and my proactive work in Calgary's school system. Chris Hooymans, the former publisher of a GLB magazine, designed the cover page for this paper.


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