Monday, May 2, 2011

Teen Suicide and Social Support

It is a well-established fact that gay teens are far more likely to commit suicide than there heterosexual counterparts. However, it has often been claimed that the problem isn’t the gay lifestyle but social disapproval. In a new study published in the journal Pediatrics online on April 18,

It found that teens in “unsupportive” social environments were 20 percent more at risk of attempting suicide than those in “supportive” environments.

Although the “20 percent” might seem to argue in favor having more “supportive environments,” it must be understood in the larger context of the rest of the findings:

Teens who self-identify as homosexual are five times more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to attempt suicide, according to a study released last week…The study gathered self-report data from nearly 32,000 grade 11 students in Oregon. The findings also revealed that 21.5 percent of the gay teens surveyed reported suicidal tendencies, while only 4.2 percent of straight teens did the same.

Of course, “supportive environments” pay dividends to everyone, but let’s make some very rough calculations. If “Teens who self-identify as homosexual are five times more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to attempt suicide,” then a 20 percent improvement would mean that this group is still four times more likely to attempt suicide. Why is it that “supportive environments” fail to make more of a difference if the main problem behind gay suicide is stigmatization?

Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council concludes:

“The most effective way of reducing teen suicide attempts is not to create a ‘positive social environment’ for the affirmation of homosexuality. Instead, it would be to discourage teens from self-identifying as gay, lesbian, or bisexual.”

What stance should love require us to take? It seems irresponsible to encourage teens to proactively explore their not-yet-formed sexuality. Until it can be proved that there isn’t something inherently self-destructive about the gay lifestyle, encouraging this type of exploration hands our teens a ticket to suicide. Two thousand years earlier, the Apostle Paul warned against sexual experimentation:

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. (1 Cor. 6:18-20)


  1. Arrived at find out 2-3 weeks later, he was granted a $600 borrowing limit from Bank of America.

  2. It is nevertheless lame as hell and I also'll never ever
    view it ever, but, because i really do want to play devil's advocate, i am tossing it away.