LGBTQ Teen Suicides A Crisis
It is hard to say that after the horrible suicide of Rutgers student Tyler Clementi there either followed a rash of more LGBTQ suicides or that those high numbers have always been there and we are only now paying attention to the fact.
Michael Sabatino, a gay rights activist, reports that there may have been around two dozen LGBTQ teen suicides since Tyler Clementi’s death. He goes on to say that, “it is very sad and it is a crisis.”
Law makers have taken action with things like the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) which is being implemented in New York schools now based on the premise that bullying creates a hostile environment that is detrimental to the mental, emotional and physical well being of young people. The Trevor project reports that 9 out of 10 LGBTQ youths have experienced bullying at school.
Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization for Marriage implicitly believes that “homophobia” is not “pulling the trigger” on these suicides. This assumption is challenged by the It Gets Better Project which reports that a third of LGBTQ kids have attempted suicide, they are four times more likely than straight kids to do so, and that those with families who reject them they are eight times more likely to do so than families that accept their gay children. The fact is hardened by the statistic that 10% of the population is gay and as AOL Health reports being gay is genetic, not a choice.
AOL Health goes onto to say that 43% of Americans still believe that gay life is morally wrong and this explains why there is so much LGBTQ bullying, it is because young people follow parental and societal attitudes.
The New York Times reports that liberal Christian and Jewish clergy are taking action to try and stop this epidemic of LGBTQ suicides. DASA is also helping as is the Trevor Project which works on suicide prevention. The Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) is pushing forward with its safe space campaign which will put a safe space kit in every school in the country so that LGBTQ kids will have some place to turn to in their time of need. They want to build support for “vulnerable students.” So there is a general mobilization going on out there moving past those who challenge the realities of LGBTQ suicides giving hope to young people across the country at a dangerous time in their lives.
Those looking to help out with this crisis can attend the 12th Annual Prideworks Conference in Westchester County. For details visit: http://prideworksforyouth.org/
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