Saturday, March 05, 2005


"This paper reviews evidence for a link between suicide or suicidal behavior and sexual orientation by (1) reviewing studies of the rates of completed and attempted suicides for gay, lesbian, and bisexual (GLB) people compared to the general population; (2) examining risk factors that might explain any differences; (3) outlining opportunities for prevention; and (4) providing directions for future research. Studies suggest an elevated risk of suicide attempts among some cohorts of GLB people, particularly GLB youth. Evidence is also strong that GLB youth are at high risk for associated maladaptive risk behaviors. Mental health problems and substance abuse disorders are critical predisposing factors for GLB suicide, as for the general populations. ....."
(The relationship between sexual orientation
and risk for suicide: Research findings and future
directions for research and prevention
By Mcdaniel, J. Stephen; Purcell, David; D' Augelli, Anthony R.
Emory U School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, US
Suicide & Life-Threatening Behavior. Vol 31
(Suppl), Spr 2001, pp. 84-105)

"Suicide is also associated with homosexuality. One of the more enlightening studies to come out recently was published in the Archives of General Psychiatry in October 1999. This issue focused on the mental health results of sexual orientation, and contained two articles on the subject, with several comments following the studies.The first article, by R. Herrell et al., found that "same-gender sexual orientation is significantly associated with each of the suicidal measures."

.....The second article, by Fergusson et al., reports that "gay, lesbian, and bisexual young people were at increased risks of major depression, generalized anxiety disorder, conduct disorder, nicotine dependence, other substance abuse and/or dependence, multiple disorders, suicide ideation, and suicide attempts." They then conclude, "Findings support recent evidence suggesting that gay, lesbian, and bisexual young people are at increased risk of mental health problems, with these associations being particularly evident for measures of suicidal behavior and multiple disorder."

There were three commentaries to these studies, one of which was by Michael Bailey, one of the two researchers who did the study on homosexual twins. He commented on the homosexuality and suicide studies and possible explanations:

Homosexuality represents a deviation from normal development and is associated with other such deviations that may lead to mental illness . . . .

Another developmental hypothesis concerns gender. On average, homosexual people are sex-atypical with respect to some traits, both during childhood and adulthood . . . . .

Another possible explanation is that increased psychopathology among homosexual people is a consequence of lifestyle differences associated with sexual orientation. For example, gay men are probably not innately more vulnerable to the human immunodeficiency virus, but some have been more likely to become infected because of 2 behavioral risk factors associated with male homosexuality: receptive anal sex and promiscuity. . . .

. . .Perhaps social ostracism causes gay men and lesbians to become depressed, but why would it cause gay men to have eating disorders?

Bailey's favored explanation was that homosexual youth commit suicide more due to societal oppression. However, a study of youth conducted in The Netherlands makes this hypothesis unlikely. The study also shows a higher rate of youth suicide among homosexuals than in the normal population in The Netherlands. The Netherlands is notably tolerant of homosexuality, even a gay-affirming society with little if any societal oppression aimed at homosexuals."
(Regent University Law Review 2001 / 2002
14 Regent U.L. Rev. 383
Homosexuality: Innate and Immutable?
By A. Dean Byrd and Stony Olsen)

The Gay© identity itself, and choosing to self define as gay:
". . . .gender nonconformity and precocious psychosexual development were predictive of self harm. . . For each year's delay in bisexual or homosexual self-labeling, the odds of asuicide attempt diminish by 80 percent."
(G. Remafedi, J. A.Farrow, and R. W Deisher. “Risk Factors for Attempted Suicide in GayBisexual Youth,” Pediatrics 87, no.6(1991), pp.869—75)

"The very experience of acquiring a homosexual or bisexual identity at an early age places the individual at risk for dysfunction. This conclusion is strongly supported by the data."
(G. Remafedi, “Adolescent Homosexuality: Psychosocial and Medical Implications,” Pediatrics 79, no. 3 (1987), pp. 331—37)