CLICK HERE to learn more!
Support free software!

This page was visited 55325 times since December 21st, 2002.
Size: 39770 bytes Last update: 26/05/2024 14:26:30

The Homosexuality Factor in the Youth Suicide Problem by Pierre J. Tremblay B.Sc., B.A., B.Ed. (25 Nov 1995)

Suicidology has a history of not recognizing the homosexuality factor in suicide problems, but a suicide problem has existed in gay communities for the last 150 years. Non-random samples of GLB (gay, lesbian, and bisexual) youth have produced 20% to 50% attempted suicide rates. .. Homosexually active males accounted for 37.5% of suicide attempters, and the actual percentage may be higher. .. GLB youth of colour are at the highest risk for suicide attempts. .. The Bagley study reveals that 87.5% of male youth suicide attempters were either sexually abused as children and/or are homosexually oriented.

.. 3 out of 8 suicide attempters in the Bagley(1994) sample are gay or bisexual. A further analysis of the data has revealed that 5 out of 8 suicide attempters are in this category. Therefore, 62.5% of suicide attempters are GB males, not 37.5%. and they are 13.6-times more likely to have attempted suicide than their heterosexual counterparts.

Suicidologists have generally been reluctant to accept or research the informed proposition that GLB (gay, lesbian, and bisexual) people, and especially GLB youth, are at higher risk for suicide behaviours than their heterosexual counterparts. Therefore, research papers and articles about youth suicide problems have traditionally omitted sexual orientation issues. .. "these youth are not only hated, but also at risk of being ignored to death by medical professionals" (Linda Snelling, author of one letter published in JAMA - the Journal of the American Medical Association)

..In American Psychologist, Garland & Zigler(1993) wrote .. : "The humiliation and frustration suffered by some adolescents struggling with conflicts over their sexual orientation may precipitate suicidal behaviour" .. In the same issue of American Psychologist, the authors of Depression in adolescence also alerted [that GLB youth] "are probably at greater risk for depression."

..In a Spring 1995 Special Issue of SLTB (Suicide and Life Threatening Behaviour) titled Suicide Prevention Toward the Year 2000, the existence of GLB youth was not mentioned in the articles discussing youth aged 12-18 and 18-30(10,11). Neither was the issue raised in the SLTB Summer 1995 paper "Research in adolescent suicide" .. nor in the SLTB Fall 1995 paper Psychosocial correlates of suicide attempts among junior and senior high school students(13).

In the Spring Special Issue of SLTB, however, the GLB suicide issue was addressed by Eve K. Moscicki, but not in a positive way. "A second misconception is that gay and lesbian youth account for a large proportion of suicides, and that sexual orientation is a major risk factor. This hypothesis has not been tested in carefully designed studies." Noting some of the problems related to doing this, she went on to dismiss the idea that gay males are more at risk for suicide, as based on the result of the 1986 San Diego Suicide Study (to be discussed later in this paper). A few research papers about the GLB youth suicide problem were cited with the conclusion: "[I]t is not clear, however whether it [sexual orientation] independently contributes to increased risk. Unfortunately, no information is available from unbiased samples."

..Being "outed" by the legal system, and especially being threatened to be "outed" (often accompanied by blackmail), was a great concern of .. John Addington Symonds (1840-1893) who wrote: " least half of the suicides of young men are due to this one circumstance." .. Gender nonconformable gay males were also deemed to be at greater risk for suicide .. . In the first book on homosexuality in the English language, Sexual Inversion, Havelock Ellis reported that "inverted men [effeminate men]...frequently commit suicide." ..Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon(1972) [reported] on a group of "twenty lesbians between the ages of twenty-five and thirty-two" who had been involved in a discussion. There were "only two [who] had not attempted suicide when they were teenagers."

..Allen Young(1972,1977) noted: "Most of us in gay liberation don't hear about a suicide without automatically assuming there's a good chance the person is homosexual." .. Gens Hellquist (Gay and Lesbian Health Services, Saskatoon) reported that "..I believe we've lost more lives to suicide than to AIDS. I certainly know more people in our community who have taken their own lives than I know who have died from AIDS."

..openly gay males do commit suicide, as do closeted homosexually active males. In some cases the latter commit suicide following an arrest related to their homosexual activities, or following the threat of an arrest. .. For example, in 1988, a married male high school teacher in a Calgary Catholic high school committed suicide after a male student complained to police about a sexual advance. Suicides of gay males and lesbians also occur for other reasons [that is, even without having been "caught in the act" - ndJB] but it is often not known that the victim was homosexually active, and that he/she may have been wrestling with wholly or partially recognized and unwanted gay/lesbian desires and/or identity. ..

Due to a number of homophobic social factors, .. it may not be possible to establish the exact representation of gay, lesbian, and bisexual people in the suicide problem.

..People who commit suicide cannot tell us why they did it, unless they left a suicide note, reported their problems in a diary, or confided in a friend or therapist who can tell an investigator the facts of the case. For some GLB individuals, we learn that they often committed suicide for reasons wholly or partly related to their unwanted homosexual identity, and the same factor is also often implicated in GLB youth suicide attempts.

Dead GLB people don't talk, but GLB survivors of a suicide attempt may tell us their story. The first scientific study to suggest/reveal that GLB people have been at higher risk that heterosexual people for having had a suicide attempt problem was carried out by Bell & Weinberg(1978) on the basis of white(W) / black(B), male(M) / female(F), predominantly homosexual(H) / predominantly heterosexual (HT) samples of adult individuals. Most participants ranged in age between 18 and 55, and the average age of white males was about 36.5 years. Therefore, the data .. reflects what the GLB youth attempted suicide rates were in the San Francisco Bay Area between about 1930 to 1970, the averaged results best representing the situation existing around 1950.

..Bell & Weinberg(1978) [states] that gay males are six-times more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual males, and that lesbian are two-times more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual females. .. the risk for suicide attempts is highest during adolescence .. To the age of 25, homosexual males would account for 40% .. of male suicide attempters if these males are assumed to form 10% .. of the male population; 56% .. to the age of 20, and 64% to the age of 17 .. .

..Many GLB youth do attempt suicide, and some succeed. Like heterosexual youth with suicide problems, GLB youth also have elevated rates of substance abuse problems, but with a difference. The recurring single most important factor implicated in GLB youth problems (including drug and alcohol abuse) is the acknowledgement of their homosexual desires/nature/orientation and the multiple problems predictably resulting from this, and from also "coming out" to others, because they have grown up and are living in a traditionally homophobic, homohating, and homo-punitive society.

In spite of having such information, researcher of youth suicide problems have always avoided obtaining sexual desire/behaviour/ orientation data from samples of youth studied, even when all the cumulating research, .. has strongly suggested that GLB youth are at high risk for having suicide problems .. Therefore, it would appear that factors other than scientific principles are implicated in Suicidology's general indifference to GLB youth. ..most suicidologists will continue to ignore sexual orientation issues for as long as it is believed that GLB youth are not at higher risk for suicide attempts and suicide, compared to heterosexual youth.

[In Dr. Christopher Bagley's study], a stratified random sample of 750 18- to 27-year-old Calgary [people from middle to lower class, ndJB] males was studied to determine the percentage of young adult males who were sexually abused as children, the number of these males who had had sex with children since their eighteenth birthday .. it was learned that about 1% of males (8/750) admitted to having had sex with children .. . I was impressed with the results, given that males who have sex with children will rarely, if ever, readily admit to such activities .. . ..4.3% and 4.9% of [urban males who are homosexually active as young adults] have been having sex with other adult males on a "regular" to "occasional" basis, for a total of 9.2% of males .. .

Bagley(1994) also reported that there were 3 suicide attempters in the gay/bisexual category out of the 8 suicide attempters in the Bagley et al. (1994), thus producing the estimate that 37.5% (3/8) of male youth suicide attempters are gay or bisexual .. Although the caveats for the Bagley study are many, most suggest that the gay/bisexual representation in the male youth attempted suicide problem may be greater than 37.5% [since, for example, ] the sampling missed the highest concentration of young adult gay males living in Calgary, the ones who would have an attempted suicide rate greater than 20% [not to mention that] the Bagley et al.(1994) sampling missed a high concentration of 18- to 25-year-old street youth probably having a history of delinquency and being runaways [when] it has been estimated that 30% of runaway youth and 40% of street youth are gay, lesbian, or bisexual.

The sampling of the 750 males was also carried out by using the telephone reverse directory [and] To be listed in the telephone directory, they must have been living at the same address for a period greater than about 6 months, and also needed to have a telephone. Because of this sampling limitation, a predictable under-representation of "at risk" populations occurred, such as street youth, young adult males who are in the prison system,11 and other highly distressed youth .. .

..A major 1988 study of 1,925 17- to 55-year-old lesbians (sample taken in 1984) suggests that lesbians have been at high risk for suicide attempts .. : the attempted suicide rate for lesbians has almost doubled from about 1950 to 1980, given the difference in rates between the 45- to 55-year-old (13%) and 17- to 24-year-old (24%) lesbians .. . Furthermore, the attempted suicide rate for lesbians of colour, 27% and 28%, is almost double the white lesbian rate of 16% .. .

..The Remafedi et al.(1991) sample produced an attempted suicide rate of 40% for GB males of colour, compared to a 28% rate for white GB males (Table 1). The Rotheram-Borus(1992) sample produced a 39% rate for a group of mostly GB males of colour, and the Uribe & Harbeck sample of 37 males (67% of colour) had an attempted suicide rate of about 50%(Table 4). This contrasts with an average attempted suicide rate of about 30% for samples of mostly white GLB youth.

"being [gay members of ethnic minorities] a stigmatized 'minority within a minority' may contribute to suicidality." (Schneider et al., 1989)

..Saunders & Valente (1987) [report Durkheim's] concept of "anomie" [which] refers to people who don't feel they belong to society, have been marginalized, and are stigmatized. GLB youth, however, would have fewer problems if it was only a matter of not belonging to society, but the situation is severe for them. Often enough, they feel hated and rejected by almost everyone, including peers, teachers, parents, religious leaders, and even their god. ..

In addition, most GLB youth have been socially set up to hate themselves,13 thus producing what could be called internal anomie. When combined with Durkheim "anomie," high levels of distress, attempted suicides, and even suicide can be expected. noted by Erwin(1993), .. an important question must be asked: "[But] how does one measure the cumulative effects of multiple oppressions?"

..Does this very high rate of suicide attempters, however, translate into higher suicide rates? .. Remafedi et al.(1991) reported that .. For the 68 suicide attempts performed by 41 suicide attempters in his samples of 137 GLB youth, 54% of them "37/68 received risk scores in the 'moderate to high' lethality range. [Means they TRULY mean to die, and they don't only try to suicide in order to attract attention on them. ndJB] .. Fifty-eight percent (26/45) of these cases received scores in the 'moderate to least' rescuable range. In other words, the predictable likelihood of rescue was moderate to low .. .

[No matter] the process of self-identification occurring at a mean age of 13.75(35) to 14.74(110) [means that by the age of 15, one already knows if he's gay or not - ndJB], .. many GLB suicide attempters, usually in treatment for the more serious suicides attempts, commonly do not reveal their homosexual orientation to therapists.

At the Hetrick and Martin Institute in New York, this reality was noted. "[W]e have had nine clients who were in treatment for suicide attempts but who had not yet told their therapists either that they were homosexual or that that was a factor in the suicide attempt" .. and if this factor was broached by the worker, it was denied. As a result, mental health professionals have often not known one of the most important factors in the great distress of some: their sexual orientation. .. Many GLB survivors of serious suicide attempts often don't talk (until much later), and GLB youth who commit suicide may almost always take their "homosexual" secret to their graves.

[In spite of this,] The Rich et al.(1986) .. study ended with: "It should be reassuring that the data reported here suggest that the painful experience of establishing a gay orientation does not lead disproportionately to suicide." :-p .. In fact, if we err in favour of what these studies suggest, we would tentatively conclude that gay males are at least 2 to 3 times, and maybe 4 times more likely to commit suicide than heterosexual males.

..My estimate would be that at least 20% of male youth suicides involve gay males, with an additional percentage [from the] "bisexual, but predominantly heterosexual" category.. . The Bagley et al.(1991) sample .. produced 6 suicide attempters out of 8 who were sexually abused as children, and were therefore subjected to homo-sex experiences against their will.

..It has often been reported (and verified by myself as I do my educational work) that most mental health professionals have not been educated about human sexuality in general, and homosexuality in particular. .. heterosexism and homophobia continues to be a significant factor in the education of mental health professionals, including family therapists .. . Predictably, the operating belief in this neglect has been that GLB people do not exist.. . Not long ago, most mental health professionals also believed that GLB people should not exist and acted accordingly, as manifested by their (professional?) mandate to 'cure' gay and lesbian people. highly homophobic and homohating environments, tacitly approved by those entrusted to help youth with problems, .. many GLB youth are therefore being harmed in places where help should be available to them .. . Generally, professionals in suicide prevention/intervention appear to have been content ignoring the existence of GLB people in general, and GLB youth in particular: a deadly situation.

..With respect to GLB youth being at high risk for drug and/or alcohol abuse, their homosexual desires and identity, combined with being negatively affected by socially induced self-hatred (internalized homophobia), may all factor into their substance abuse problem .. .

"Before proceeding to a discussion of treatment we would like to briefly describe the issues that underlie the gay youth's use of chemicals. As many authors have stated, the development of a homosexual or gay identity occurs in the context of stigma (Martin 1982; Troiden, 1989). Prior to adolescence, the gay and lesbian adolescent has a 'sense of being different' from his or her peers (Minton and McDonald, 1984). As homosexual impulses emerge, the youth begins to associate these previous feeling of being different with sexuality (Troiden, 1989). As children, homosexual youth have been exposed to the homophobia of the larger culture. During adolescence they realize that these feelings place them in a devalued group (Hetrick and Martin, 1987). This stigmatization role produces hiding and isolation, maladaptive sexual patterns and attempts to change one's orientation (Hetrick and Martin, 1987; Martin, 1982; Troiden, 1989). Thus alcohol and drug usage for the lesbian and gay youth is multifunctional; it medicates the anxiety caused by the need to conceal one's identity; helps to discharge sexual impulses more comfortably; decreases the depression and dissonance that is generated by the adolescent's discovery of his or her sexual identity; acts as an antidote to the pain of exclusion, ridicule and rejection of the family and peer group; provides a feeling of power and self-worth to counteract the youth's sense of being devalued; and offers a sense of identity, wholeness and a soothing that is missing in his or her daily experience.

(Shiflin & Solis, 1992)

For GLB youth with substance abuse problems, intervention efforts which fail to recognize their homosexual orientation, and therefore fail to help them effectively cope with factors underlying their many problems (the symptoms), will generally fail to help these youth overcome their substance abuse problem(s)(55). Such problems may also be aggravated because the failure will sometimes convince these youth that no one in the world is available to help them.

Similarly, suicidal GLB youth will not be helped by intervention efforts which do not address their many predictable problems linked to their sexual orientation. To help them will therefore require identifying them as GLB youth. The problem here, however, is the identification when they are suicidal because they don't want to be gay, and especially when they have attempted suicide because they would rather be dead than be gay or lesbian. When they are not ready to accept this fact about themselves, and they have opted for death instead, they will certainly not be prepared to acknowledge this aspect of themselves to others, including mental health professionals. Often enough, youth who have acknowledged they are gay or lesbian, but are struggling with this inner reality, and have attempted suicide, will also often not reveal their homosexual orientation to therapists(28,37). Commonly, these youth do not want to experience the anticipated disapproval of therapists as such responses will aggravate their serious problems.

It is therefore important that all mental health professionals working with youth should be gay/lesbian-affirmative, educated about GLB youth problems and their causes, trained to help these youth understand and cope with their problems, and they should especially be trained in how to access "homosexuality" information from youth since some of their clients will be gay, lesbian, or bisexual. For GLB youth who have attempted suicide, saw a mental health professional, and either omitted or denied their homosexual orientation to them, I have always asked: "Is there a way they could have obtained this information?" The answer has always been "YES".

Suicide prevention efforts which include GLB youth issues can become highly problematic for reasons related to our society's traditional homophobic and homohating nature. In suicide prevention programs directed at youth, targeting "at risk" GLB youth will necessitate speaking positively about their existence, and especially about the many problems they may be experiencing. Such youth will therefore know that someone exists who can understand and maybe help them, and that confidentiality will also prevail. ..

"Many symptoms of emotional disturbance appear related to isolation. Repeatedly, young people come to IPLGY (Institute for the Protection of Lesbian and Gay Youth, or the Hetrick and Martin Institute in New York) showing signs of clinical depression - pervasive loss of pleasure, feelings of sadness, change of appetite, sleep disturbance, slowing of thought, low self-esteem with increased self-criticism and self-blame, and strongly expressed feeling of guilt and failure [with 20% of these youth reporting having attempted suicide]. Again, they repeatedly report they feel they are alone in the world [even in New York which has a very large and visible GLB community], that no one else is like them, and that they have no one with whom they can confide or talk freely. Yet once they are introduced to their peers, once they are given the opportunity to interact with others who are homosexually oriented in a non-threatening, non-erotic atmosphere, many of these feelings disappear. Emotional isolation, of course, is intricately entwined with both cognitive and social isolation. When the young person has an example of adult as well as peer role models, when the adolescent has someone to talk to openly and has access to accurate information, emotional isolation tends to resolve."

..On July 4, 1994, a 19-year-old youth committed suicide in Edmonton, Alberta. .. For him, a major problem involved knowing he had to come out to his parents as it had been strongly recommended by a gay male friend. Most GLB adolescent greatly fear this event because they are often terrified of being rejected, hated, and even thrown out of their homes by those most significant to them.

Unfortunately, Steele opted for death, for reasons which became more apparent after he shot himself. After learning about his ventures into the gay world and related contacts, parental denial applied with respect to their son being gay, the emphasis being that the "gay" label for their son was "slander." He therefore knew how his parents would probably feel if he had come out to them, and opted for death instead of the hate and rejection he was anticipating.

In his suicide note which did not contain any reference to his homosexual nature, he synthesized the telltale feelings of many GLB youth who have known they were 'different' since early childhood and hid this aspect of themselves. They live a lie, never being themselves; .. For Steele, living had been the alienating and deadly experience so many GLB youth have felt before attempting and even committing suicide:

"I am not happy... Never was. Never will be... I just can't live anymore... I'm dead."

These youth must be helped, long before they reach the state of hopelessness Robert Steele experienced. One solution to this problem would be to end of society's traditional homophobia/homohatred. Suicide prevention efforts must include tackling homophobic issues in a society where homosexuality is still taboo, and where GLB youth realities are even more sensitive. .. The existence of GLB youth and of their predictable (and verified) high risk for having many socially inflicted problems, must be recognized.

..In the second cover story The Advocate has published about the GLB youth suicide problem, it was emphasized that suicidologists' belief that suicide is almost always linked to psychopathology is causing a serious problem. If GLB youth are at higher risk for suicide, the implications are that they have a higher degree of psychopathology than heterosexual youth. Such a conclusion has unfortunately been used by those in the American Military who have wanted to continue discriminating against GLB people, as Hendin(1995) noted by quoting a New Yorker magazine article in which this issue was raised. [How can such idiots be even listened to?! NdJB]

Savin-Williams(1994) noted that the "..rate of suicide among gay male, bisexual, and lesbian youths is considerably higher than it is for heterosexual youth..." [This paragraph was anticipated here by me - ndJB]

..These adolescents have a higher risk for becoming depressed, and even attempting suicide, but this is only what can be expected given what is inflicted on them. What they need is help from everyone, including adult GLB people and suicidologist, not a mental disorder label to further stigmatize them. .. Such arguments have been made only by those who have sought to maintain the status quo in suicide prevention efforts. That is, to make sure GLB youth issues are not addressed, as it had applied for the majority of suicidologists, and with respect to most working in suicide prevention and intervention programs. [They ignore the problem, because they believe that "it's right if those jokes-of-nature die". :-p ndJB]

..Bagley et al.(1994) revealed that 6 out of the 8 young adult male suicide attempters had been sexually abused, and that 3 out of the 8 were sexually active gay or bisexual males, 2 of whom had been sexually abuse as children. Therefore, taboo forms of human sexuality - of the male-male kind - is implicated at about the 90% level in male youth suicide problems

..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. [I believe that 10% is an under-estimate: gays + bisexual males are at least the 50% of the male population - ndJB] These males, along with heterosexual males who were sexually abused also form about 90% of the young adult male suicide attempters.



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."

APPENDIX A - The Bagley(1994) Demographic Data Based on Sexual Orientation

Kinsey(1948) estimated that about 10% of males had been predominantly homosexually active for a period of three years between the ages of 16 and 55. Other studies have also been done, producing a range of estimates for homosexual, gay, bisexual males ranging from 1% to 17%. .. "gay" males (a socially constructed identification..) form a subset of the homosexual male population ..

Diamond (1993) .. arrived at the "usable 'round' figure" of 5.5% "for those adult [males] who regularly engage in or have since adolescence at least once engaged in same-sex activities..." However, most of the studies yielding the estimate were either obtained from random dialling telephone surveys, or from face-to-face interviews using random samples.

..Stuart Michaels, in Time magazine's cover story about the study [notes that] "..There is probably a lot more homosexual activity going on than we could get people to talk about."

Homosexuality is still a taboo subject, to the point that many GLB individuals fear losing their jobs, friends, and even their families if their homosexual orientation is known; or worse, given that only a little less than 50% of American states have decriminalized homosexual activity. In Canada, homosexual activity is not a crime, provided the ones engaged in homosexual activity do so in private, are of the legal age, and are not in authority over one of the individuals, if such a person is 14- to 17-years-old. ..

The Bagley et al.(1994) sample data was obtained by having the subjects answer all questions on a portable computer taken to their homes by a male approximately the same age as the respondent. After the computer was set up, and instructions given, it was emphasized that, after the subject began answering questions, help could not be offered. The reason given for this was that everyone involved with the study had to remain blind to all answers given. As a result of this, the subjects knew they would only be giving the requested information to a machine, with a highly convincing assurance that their anonymity was guaranteed.

The Bagley et al.(1994) study therefore eliminated some of the concealment problems, especially predictable when researchers are asking men if they have sexually interacted with children since the age of 18. Requesting such highly taboo sexual information from adult males by telephone, or in face-to-face interviews, would probably yield the non-existence of such men. Yet, given that about 15% of adult males and females report having been sexually abused as children, mostly by men, a significant number of men are sexually involved with children. An analysis of the information has yielded the estimate that about 2% of adult males have been (are) active pedophiles, and another 3% who would act accordingly if certain conditions were met. In the Bagley et al.(1994) study, 1.1% of young adult males (8/750) admitted to having had sex with children (4 with girls, 3 with boys, and 1 with both) since the age of 18(39), and this result leads to the following conclusion.

..Some males, even in their 20s, are not ready to even admit their homosexual desires/identity to themselves, much less to anyone else, including people doing surveys.

..some gay-identified males who have never had sex with a male, are only coming out to others around the age of 25, and are only becoming homosexually active at this age ..

The Bagley et al.(1994) study has therefore set a desperately needed methodological standard in the field of demographic research based on sexual orientation. Special methods for collecting "homosexuality" information, such as the one described above, will continue to be mandatory for as long as our society retains its traditionally homophobic, homohating, and homo-punitive attributes.

[The following paragraphs were actually taken from APPENDIX C]

Bagley(1994) reported that .. the age of 15 .. is average [for same-sex experiences] for the male population [and] that 3% of males had been consensually and repeatedly sexually involved with at least one man before the age of 15.

This reality about boys having sex with men is highly taboo. The boys know this and will usually not tell anyone, including parents, teachers, or peers what they are doing. About one-third of gay males report that they had sex with a man before the age of 15, because they wanted to. These boys are also at great risk for contacting HIV, but most AIDS prevention work have ignored their existence. (Footnote 27)

..I was homosexually active from the age of 5 to 19 with neither parents or teachers knowing anything about this. If I had committed suicide, my friends would never have never revealed what was happening between us sexually. To do this would have required them to admit their own involvement .. .

Uribe & Harbeck(1992) reported that most of the males in their sample .. devised elaborate concealment strategies, and the result of these strategies was to cripple them emotionally and socially... Thirty-five out of 37 were homosexually active when interviewed, and had been since the average age of 14. ..

APPENDIX B - Summary of the Risk for Suicide on the Basis of Sexual Orientation Noted in Books on Youth Suicide

.."Harry(1989)[38] notes for example that homosexuals are 2 to 6 times more likely to attempt suicide than are heterosexuals and that risk for an attempt is greatest during the period of coming to terms with 'coming out' typically about the age of 18-19." [This is outdated information related to the Bell & Weinberg(1978) study. According to Remafedi(1991) (and others), the high risk age would now be 14-16.]

APPENDIX C - The Shaffer et al.(1995) study: Sexual Orientation in Adolescents who Commit Suicide

Far more troubling, however, is the conclusion [of Shaffer et al. (1995)]: "...that when suicide does occur among gay teenagers, that it is not a direct consequence of stigmatization or lack of support." [ridiculous! ndJB]

..Remafedi et al.(1991) reported that effeminate gay males were three times more likely to attempt suicide than other gay males(31), thus confirming what gay males have always known. Effeminate males, since early childhood, receive the brunt of society's hatred for gay males, and are therefore the most stigmatized of all male youth. They are also strongly suspected to be homosexually oriented, even though Shaffer et. al opposed this conclusion. [who cares? they're idiots! ndJB]


#13) The Canada Youth & AIDS Study(1988) reported that, for the Grade-7 youths in their study sample of 38,002 Canadian youths, 45% believed that "homosexuality is wrong," only 33 believed that "homosexuals should be allowed to be teachers, an still fewer (18%) reported that they "would be comfortable talking with a homosexual person." .. If they were taught to have a murderous hatred for homosexuals, this hatred may be turned on themselves, yielding suicide problems or other behaviours, such as projection. Their hatred for homosexuals may be vocal, thus intensely hating in others what essentially exists in themselves. A number of GLB have reported going through such a stage. Some males in this category even have sex with gay males, but then assault them, and may even kill them. Money(1988) has labelled the phenomenon, well documented in gay history, "the exorcist syndrome." With such responses they are 'saying': "I am not like him. I am not homosexual, I hate homosexuals." Other pathologies may also result from socially induced self- hatred.

#14) One of the reasons why these youth may be really trying to kill themselves may be related to the knowledge that failure will result in intervention, thus forcing them to tell others what, in many cases, they did not want to even accept about themselves. That is, they will have to "out" themselves. One Calgary gay youth I met at the age of 14 had attempted suicide by hanging soon after his thirteenth birthday. When he regained consciousness after the failed attempt, which he had evaluated to surely result in his desired death after he failed to locate a gun, he panicked. Members of his family would now discover the truth about him, because he will have to explain why he did this. He invented an explanation for the bleeding burns on his neck to avoid revealing the real reason for his injury.

#15) A gay male in Calgary attempted suicide at the age of 10 by throwing himself in front of a car. He was taken to the Alberta Children's Hospital where they sought to discover the reason why he did this. At that age, he already knew he could not tell the truth to anyone. At the age of 20, when he came out to his mother, the reason why he had attempted suicide was revealed. His mother wrote his story for a presentation to officials in the Calgary Board of Education, and it is now part of The Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Factor in the Youth Suicide Problem(107). Another gay male (interviewed at the age of 19) attempted suicide at the age of 14 and was in hospital for 1.5 months before he revealed the reason why he had wanted to die: because he was gay. He only admitted this fact about himself after his older lesbian sister came out to him while he was still in hospital. To this date he has needed help but has only been harmed by mental health professionals. After assimilating the historical facts he was giving me, I asked: How the hell do you cope? The answer: "I drink until I black out." ..

#17) Male victims of child sexual abuse most often code their abuse to have been homosexual acts, and they are correct, even though it is mostly heterosexual-identified males who sexually abuse boys. Homosexuality, by definition, is male-male sexual behaviour occurring between same-sex same-species individuals. For this reason, the Journal of Homosexuality has published papers on male-male paedophilia, and bisexuality. For the same reason, the book, Ritualized Homosexuality in Melanesia(1984) edited by Gilbert Herdt, is correctly titled. It describes the ritual of older males repeatedly having sex with boys (sometimes beginning at the age of 8), most often lasting for a number of years.

#20) One of the major reasons why the GLB youth attempted suicide problem has about doubled in the last 40 years may be related to the age of self-identification which has dropped from about the age of 18-19(21) to 14 and 15. Remafedi et al.'s 1991 analysis of gay and bisexual males reveals that, for each year of delay in this process, the risk of an attempted suicide decreases by 80%(31).

#25) ..the 1994 Sex in America study. Even though this study used a random sample of 3,432 men and women, there would have been only 400 males in the 18- to 27-year-old category.


Only available in the full version of this study by Pierre Tremblay. (This is only the summarization I did of it.)

Read Stephen's story. See also: Youth suicide problems