This "denial" situation is highlighted in Dr. Gary Remafedi's 1994 book, Death by Denial. It describes what became the increasingly apparent mandate of numerous mainstream suicidologists via The American Association of Suicidology and its journal, Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior.
In 1994, with the help of (gullible?) GLB professionals and GLB representatives from advocacy and service groups, the stage was set for the publication of the 1995 special "sexual orientation" issues of Suicide & Life-Threatening Behavior, which essentially concluded that there was no scientific evidence of suicide problems among gay and bisexual youth. This conclusion then permitted professionals and mainstream journalists (including some homohating right wing Christian fundamentalists) to challenge (with the full support of The American Association of Suicidology) the validity of all serious suicide problems experienced by gay and bisexual male youth. A 1997 Seattle Times article illustrates the result: Statistics on gay suicides are baseless, researchers say (Alternate Link). Diane Sawyer had noted that gay teenagers were "three times as likely to attempt suicide as another teenager," and the assertion was being challenged. "It's a statistic that has been repeated innumerable times. The trouble is, there is no scientifically valid evidence that it's true."
The reporter would have been somewhat correct had she challenged the assertion that gay teenagers were three time more likely to die by suicide than their heterosexual counterparts (Note 1). The above statement, however, is INCORRECT now (given the recent study results), was INCORRECT in 1997 when the article was published given that it was also INCORRECT in 1994 when many study results were available to "scientifically" assert the high probability that gay & bisexual males had very serious suicide problems compared to heterosexual male youth (Bagley & Tremblay, 1997: Listing of study results). The above relative "suicide attempt" statistic originated from the Bell & Weinberg (1978) study, and it is certainly very scientific to use the two samples studied, given the attributes controlled for, and then produce the "suicide attempt" relative risk factor of "six-times" (to the age of 25 years) for homosexual males compared to heterosexual males (Related Webpage). An insight into why mainstream suicidologists have behaved in such a homo-harming ("Death by Denial" = genocidal ?) manner may result after reading the presentation & evaluation / implications of the Adams et al. (1996) research results.A GLSTN Alert N/A : Alternate Link (Now GLSEN: Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, related to the above noted Seattle Times article was issued (must scroll to locate the article), but no "countering" information was supplied in the Alert. It was also reported that: the "US Government  Report on GL Youth Suicide [was] No longer Available." [The Report became available online later: Gibson P (1989). Gay and Lesbian Youth Suicide. In: Feinlieb, MR., Ed. Vol. 3: Prevention and Intervention in Youth Suicide, Report of the Secretary's Task Force on Youth Suicide, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 1989. Full Text. Full Text. PDF Download.] This Alert is available in the GLSEN 1997 Alerts Listing (June), and it was followed by a July 1997 Alert related to the unavailable status of the 1989 Government Report. Clinton Anderson (Officer, Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Concerns at the American Psychological Association) issued the following statement which GLSEN made no effort to counter: "a special issue of the journal Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior published in  based on commissioned papers from a CDC and NIMH conference in 1994 is in effect a replacement [for the 1989 Government Report] and a vast improvement."
GLSEN did not, however, issue an ALERT in June/July, 1997, when the Canadian Study on male youth suicide problems was published. The study replicated a rarely noted Bell & Weinberg (1978) American study result: Homosexually oriented males, although being 6-times more at risk than heterosexual males for becoming a suicide attempt by the age of 25 years, have a "14-times" greater risk than heterosexual males to be a suicide attempter by the age 20 years. The results of the Canadian Study were reported in The Advocate at the end of 1996 but, for reasons unexplained, the editors decreed that "the replication" status of the study was not to be mentioned. The reasons for this remain to be ferreted out.
Everyone was therefore apparently jumping on the bandwagon to make sure - in a number of ways - that a maximum casualty status would be maintained for "at risk" gay and bisexual male youth, and more were joining the death denial team, growing by leaps and bounds.A story similar to the Seattle "Diane Sawyer" event (noted above) was played out in New Hampshire (July, 1997) in the previously quoted Manchester Union Leader editorial titled Lies and Statistics: Homosexual Suicide Rate Grossly Exaggerated. The editorial was responded to by the co-chairs of the New Hampshire GLSTN chapter in a letter to the editor, but they were ill-equipped to challenge a conclusion reached by "the experts" who had (cunningly?) invited GLB professionals to (inadvertently?) collaborate in creating a grand deception. Now, for some unknown reason, The American Journalism Review had joined forces with The American Psychological Association so that The Grand SLTB (American Association of Suicidology) Deception would appear even more real. Success in this endeavor, however, would certainly be LETHAL for "at risk" gay and bisexual male adolescents and youth, but only if the public and professionals believed what was being very "convincingly" written:
"The American Journalism Review did some belated checking and found what any enterprising reporter could have discovered: the statistic is an invention. AJR reports that a panel convened in 1994 including representatives of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control, the National Institute of Mental Health, the American Psychological Association, the American Association of Suicidology and various homosexual advocacy groups found no evidence of higher suicide rates among homosexuals or any correlation, direct or indirect, between suicide and sexual orientation" (Emphasis mine: Lies and Statistics: Homosexual Suicide Rate Grossly Exaggerated).Why did so many mainstream and GLB organizations join forces so that, as an outcome, a maximum casualty status would be maintained in the gay and bisexual adolescent and young adult population? In a March 21, 1997 letter to P. Tremblay, one of the editors of the special SLTB issue on "sexual orientation," Peter Muehrer (NIMH), supplied a list of those who had contributed to this outcome:
"Organizations represented include the Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League of Washington, D.C., the National Gay and Lesbian Health Association, the Gay and Adolescent Social Services of Los Angeles, the Hetrick-Martin Institute of New York City, the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists, the Office of Gay and lesbian Concerns of the American Psychological Association, and the Homosexual Affairs Committee of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry."By 2001, Peter Muehrer would be quoted in an article by Carl M. Cannon "The Real Computer Virus" published in the American Journalism Review (April 2001, pp. 28-35: PDF Download) with the subtitle: "The Internet is an invaluable information-gathering tool for journalists. It also has an unmatched capacity for distributing misinformation, which all too often winds up in the mainstream media." An example of such "misinformation" was presented:
Sometimes the proliferation of such errors carries more serious implications. A couple of years ago, Diane Sawyer concluded a “PrimeTime Live” interview with Ellen DeGeneres the night her lesbian television character “came out” by reciting what Sawyer called “a government statistic”: gay teenagers are “three times as likely to attempt suicide” as straight teenagers. This factoid, which Sawyer said was provided to her by DeGeneres, is a crock. Sleuthing by a diligent reporter named Delia M. Rios of Newhouse News Service revealed that this figure is not a government statistic, but rather the opinion of a single San Francisco social worker. In fact, a high-level interagency panel made up of physicians and researchers from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control, the National Institute of Mental Health and other organizations concluded that there is no evidence that “sexual orientation and suicidality are linked in some direct or indirect manner.” Yet, the bogus stat is still routinely cited by certain gay-rights activists, and thanks to Internet-assisted databases, has made its way into the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times—and onto prime time network television…" (p. 92)The section concludes with a proposition that the dissemination of such 'misinformation' about the "at risk" status of gay youth may well become causal in gay youth attempting and even committing suicide.
"Other clinicians fear that this misinformation could turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Peter Muehrer of the National Institutes of Health says he worries that a public hysteria over gay-teen suicide could contribute to “suicide contagion,” in which troubled gay teens come to see suicide as a practical, almost normal, way out of their identity struggles." (p. 92)Peter Muehrer's worries, however, may not have been the one noted.
The Over-representation Of GLB Youth in Clinical Settings - Including Hospitals - Was Being Observed by the 1960s (Also in the 1980s for youth/adults):
"...when I was finishing my doctorate -- in the late sixties. I was interested in pediatric psychology at that time, and as I learned the ropes, I found that gay youth certainly did exist and they made up a disproportionate segment of the kids we saw in the clinical setting, that is, kids who were hospitalized for psychological or behavioral problems."
"Well, not enough is being done to intervene [in the GLB youth suicide problem], that's for sure; not enough is being done in intervention and little is being done for preventative efforts. I have yet to see any public school-based program that even involves homosexuality as a factor in the risk for suicide, anything that acknowledges this risk and that communicates to gay youth that they are not alone in their problems, anything which encourages them, which provides them with somewhere to go to get help. Most public schools have presentations and other teaching about suicide as a risk of adolescence, so where is the specific inclusion of gay youth as a group at added risk?"
"In other words, aside from a supportive family environment, a supportive and non-threatening school environment is the best defense against losing these kids to suicide, or drugs, or something else. Certainly, in major cities we have interventional programs outside of the schools that have proven largely effective in intervening where teens --whether gay or otherwise-- have displayed risky behavior, mainly in the case of drugs, yet I ask why not incorporate preventional efforts to match these interventions, to stop the damage before it starts? Again, I don't see many high schools even acknowledging that gay youth are a risk group for unhealthy behavior, I don't see them taking on this problem from a preventative perspective."
From: - A Kate Fordham June 1998 Oasis interview - with Laura Joan Herst, Ph.D. She "is an internationally-renowned psychologist who specializes in adolescent psychology, with her main area of interest being the developmental and social problems faced by minority adolescents, including gay youth. Dr. Herst has recently published several ground-breaking research studies in the academic literature concerning her counseling work with gay adolescents." Kate Fordham's Web Pages.
By 2003, one good population-based study of youth in Norway reported that the "1.4%" of adolescents who sell sex consisted of 0.6% of the girls and 2.1% of the boys studied, meaning that for every "1" girl selling sex in Oslo, there are "3.5" boys selling sex ("Children and adolescents who sell sex: a community study" by Willy Pedersen & Kristinn Hegna. Social Science and Medicine, 56: 135-147 (PubMed Abstract).
There are a great number of homosexually
oriented adult males who sexually desire adolescent boys and, as a rule,
these men quickly learn about the events, life conditions, and/or social
conditions that deliver these boys to their beds: gay/bisexual boys being
thrown out of their homes, running away from homophobic abusive homes,
homophobia in schools / quitting school / becoming street youth, and many
other factors known to be associated with high suicidality such as
drug and/or alcohol abuse. Therefore, it is proposed that these men may
appreciate seeing any formal recognition that gay/bisexual adolescent males
are "at risk" for experiencing numerous problems, including attempting
and maybe committing suicide.
In School-based suicide prevention programs: are they effective (by James Mazza, School Psychology Review, Vol. 26(3), 282-96), not a word was mentioned about the traditional harmful omission of GLB issues in these programs. Furthermore, the program changes proposed by the author - such as emphasizing that suicide victims are mentally disordered - would likely render these programs even more harmful to suicidal GLB adolescents. Ironically, the author repeatedly emphasized that suicidologists should not be harming those they seek to help. This is apparently the result of the existing adolescent suicide prevention programs, especially on male adolescents.
Other professionals have been involved
in neglecting/harming GLB adolescents, possibly resulting in situation
causing some of these adolescents to attempt and maybe commit suicide.
Many social workers and other helping professionals are entrusted (and
paid) to help all children and youth, or does this only apply to heterosexual
youth? A comprehensive paper on the subject is available on the Internet.
To access, click the Children Aids Society logo. Writing a paper
with recommendations, however, does not necessarily mean that child abuse
by professionals will end. Toronto is one of the most gay-positive
cities in North America, meaning that greater abuses of GLBT children and
youth would exist throughout most of North America. Fortunately, the abused
ones have been talking: "many of our peers have not survived the hostile
environment in which we are forced to live. These are our friends whom
we have lost to suicides, the young people you are supposed to be caring
|We Are Your Children
welfare services for
Children's Aid Society of
In the United States, the situation appears to be similar as noted by many authors and as implied in the titles of two documents authored by Gerald P. Mallon.
- We don't exactly get the welcome wagon: The experience of gay and
lesbian adolescents in New York City's child welfare system.
Unpublished doctoral dissertation, City University of New York, N.Y., 1994.
(Related book published in 1998: Book
The following excerpt - revealing the common anti-gay attitudes of deans of Social Work - was taken from: Miller J (1998). A narrative interview with Ann Hartman. Part One: Becoming a social worker. Reflections: Narratives of Professional Helping, 4(3), 56-69.
Excerpt: "I remember one of my friends overheard several of the male deans at a social work Dean's meeting communicating with each other saying, 'The lesbians are taking over the field.' I am sure there is still plenty going on underground, as you can imagine. For instance five or six years ago there was a concerted, but rather quiet effort led by some of the deans to keep homosexuality out of the Council on Social Work Education guidelines." (p. 66)
Guidelines, however, are of little value if they will be ignored as most people in the so-called 'helping' professions have a history of doing with respect to GLBT child and adolescent issues.
These American Deans of Social Work faculties - and many others - have been 'creating' the 'professionals' now out in the real world where the situation continues to be far from acceptable in many GLBT adolescent situations where social workers are like involved:
Take a foster-care system that’s already scandalously out of whack. Add an inability to deal sensibly with homosexuality. That’s obviously a prescription for disaster. (Foster care needs to nurture gay kids N/A (Alternate Link) - by Deb Price, Dec. 2000).
- The high ignorance of many psychiatrists with respect to GLB children/adolescent realities will likely increase negative outcomes when these professionals are interacting (often unknowingly or ignorantly) with distressed GLB children and adolescent. Some information related to mental health professionals, especially psychiatrists, has been placed in a psychiatry page now under construction. Internet Resources Related to Professional Education & Counseling.
By 1994, in cover story on the subject (Is anguish over sexual orientation causing gay and lesbian teens to kill themselves? (Chris Bull, The Advocate, April 5, 1994, pp. 35-42), a new reason for avoiding the issue was articulated: "By alleging that 30% of gay and lesbian youth attempt suicide,... activists are shooting themselves in the foot.' During the debate over the military ban on gay and lesbian personnel... [the] military repeatedly invoked the high suicide rates of gays and lesbians as an example of the threat gays and lesbians pose to military order and discipline. 'Mental illness is a very bad metaphor for gay and lesbian youth. It could well backfire if the advocates insists on using it" (p. 39).
A number of GLB youth (including some leaders) are also responsible for this. "Emphasizing GLB adolescent/youth suicide issues" is often enough frowned upon (as it was manifested by one gay youth leader at a 1995 meeting in Calgary) because it apparently makes GLB youth "look bad." The objective of this leader was to make society and school systems have "a positive image" of GLB youth. When "a positive image" kills, however, these youth become the opposite of the image they are attempting to project. One reason why soliciting help from GLB youth may be counterproductive in having GLBT youth suicide problems (or lesser problems) addressed is revealed in the research-based article Problems? What Problems? N/A Another reason is community-related: "I think the cliques offered to homosexual youth are far more dangerous than the cliques heterosexuals fall into during a normal high school career." The positive development is that a few GLB youth (considered to be "traitors" by some) have begun to openly talk about these issues instead of remaining silent about the negative "peer" related factors in their communities.
For many gay/bisexual male youth, suicidal problems continue after making contact with GLB communities for reasons rarely explored, or they begin after such contact is made. About 40% of "first suicide attempts" by homosexual males in the Bell & Weinberg (1978) study were relationship-related, and this includes relationships teenage boys are having with men (Related Resource). Furthermore, most adolescent gay/bisexual male suicide victims reported on the Internet are in the category of having made contact with gay-identified individuals or elements of GLB communities. How GLB communities are failing these individuals, however, has not yet been widely investigated and reported on, but some related information is available on these web pages and on the internet.
No one to my
knowledge, has yet written about the more unsavory sectors of GLB communities
which have benefited greatly (usually sexually) by the traditional GLB
community indifference to the welfare of the most "at risk" gay and bisexual
adolescents. A part of the story is presented in a chapter of The
Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Factor in the Youth Suicide Problem: The
"gay factor" in the street youth problem. (Related Resources) The
"at risk" status of Sidney's gay & bisexual male street youth, and
a description of some homosexual/bisexual men who use/abuse these boys
instead of meeting the needs of these boys. Related information
is also available in: Internet
resources on male youth prostitution.
Excerpt: Politicising Suicide: Research and policy development in the area of queer youth suicide continues to be under-funded, marginal and without broad public interest or support—it remains an issue that requires political activation from within queer communities and politics. One of the reasons suicide has been kept off the minority sexuality ‘agenda’ by different constituent organisations within a liberal-humanist political matrix that incorporates an identifiable lesbian/gay politics. The older stereotype that non-heterosexual persons are unhappy on the basis of abnormality, difference or intolerance continues to exert its influence: not today in film and televisual depictions of non-heterosexuality but in a lack of state policy address, particularly where that policy is related to research funding and cultural, as opposed to personal, intervention. What needs to be questioned are the range of ways in which an issue worthy of broader ‘political’ attention, locates itself in a nexus between the popular cultural, the community-organised forms of activism and active politics, the institutions which authorise responsible roles of policy-making and research fund distribution and the broader and more complex sets of knowledges on the issue as they emerge outside of these specific channels. Why queer youth suicide tends to be marginalised as a political issue within lesbian/gay politics is due to a complex set of relationships. Partly, it results from the fact that suicide remains a relatively ‘taboo’ topic in many cultural formations even today (Battin 1995: 19-20). Where suicide is deemed to be not only a sin, an illness, a crime but also a failure, absenting it from public discourse results from lesbian/gay political imperatives to present a figure of the homosexual that is stable, sane, law-abiding and successful. Michael Warner makes the point that this has been common in much recent gay politics, most recently witnessed in the challenges against military rules banning homosexuals or discrimination within the Boy scouts movements: great pains are taken to find test cases in which the victim is a “model victim because he or she has never done anything wrong” (Warner 1999: 29). Warner’s point here can be expanded to suggest that it is not just sexually active citizens who are banned from portrayal as model test-cases, but young suicidal citizens whose suicidality can inadvertently be read to suggest that homosexuals are less-than-stable individuals, are mentally-ill or are in some other way defective—precisely as old stereotypes of the ‘sad young man’ (Dyer 1993: 22, 42, 73-92) or the unstable, monstrous lesbian (Creed 1995:87) indicated. While the liberal mainstream print press have sometimes portrayed a suicide-attempter as a young gay citizen wearing a badge of honour and as an authentication of homophobia effects arguments (Passey 1997: 38), there is much less willingness within lesbian/gay political and cultural production to take risks in representing a social problem as complex as queer youth suicide. Certainly it is the case that adversaries of lesbian/gay rights and those who advocate compulsory heterosexuality have been willing to use queer youth suicide anecdotes, evidence and statistics to support their arguments that non-heterosexual persons either are sick or immoral (Muehrer 1995). Absenting the issue from public perception can be understood, then, as a non-conscious action to protect a positive image of non-heterosexual persons as stable, sane, happy and moral. That is, any identifiable social problem among a minority group is seized by those opposed to that group’s rights agenda, often recirculating negative stereotypes (Cover 2004). Heavy recreational drug use among gay men (Lewis & Ross 1995: 98), for example, has often been utilised in damning attacks by Christian conservatives on gay culture. Submerging issues such as the high rate of youth suicide, the high levels of same-sex domestic violence (Island & Lettelier 1991) or the degree of economic disparity among lesbians and gay men (Pharr 1997: 54-55) has been an important political tactic. However, while these arrangements and choices certainly contribute to the silence from lesbian/gay political activists on the topic, and while they stem from both lesbian/gay organisations and community media’s roles in political ‘agenda setting’ (Goddard 1996), the mechanisms by which lesbian/gay political organisations operate do not foreclose on the possibility to introduce topics, goals and plans for lobbying and other political activities within areas that might be unpopular or controversial...
The Genocide of Gay Youth?
A Double Lesbian Youth Suicide
"Two girls, 16 and 18, inseparable and in love. Parents ordered them to part and not see each other again. They climbed onto parapet of bridge but were apprehended by police before jumping.
The following day they were found laying across rail tracks. Taken to emergency room of hospital, seen by House Officer, and discharged without any referral. The next day they climbed to top of high building, jumped and were killed. Result, total silence and denial by adults."
A March, 2000,
Update: The case is being included in a paper being written by the information.
In an email, he write: "I included the case history of the 2 lesbian teenagers,
and cross-checked with someone who is doing research on Coroner's records.
She located this case, and all the Coroner said was "possible suicide pact"
without stating any reasons. So sexual orientation was entirely missed or ignored in this case. This means of course that gay background will be missing in many Coroner/Medical Examiner files."
of parental intervention in lesbian relationships is also reported to exist
in America: Girls
in Love but Kept Apart?.
"They told jokes about her, too. About how she is a lesbian. And everyone would snicker. But it isn't the name-calling or the laughter that hurts her the most. It is the fact that her teacher heard the comments and never intervened." (Washington Post) "Because he was different, Robin was sexually harassed by mean-spirited peers who called him 'fag,' 'sissy,' 'queer,' 'gay blower,' and other sexually derogatory terms," an anguished Reed told the school board. "Robin did not commit suicide because he was gay. He committed suicide because he was in pain." (Petula educators get lesson in gay awareness.) (We all knew that Ken was a "faggot"...)
"What exactly does it mean to be different in the minds of others? For many gay individuals, it means being hated, ostracized, isolated, condemned, and even killed... This new kid, whom I'll call "Keith", was good looking, very athletic, and quite smart. I didn't know then, nor do I know now if he was really even gay. Keith spent his entire school year being ridiculed by the "in crowd"... Eventually, he ended up spending every recess alone in a secluded area of the school grounds.
The desire to intervene, for myself at least, was overpowered by the fear of being found "guilty by association". As I witnessed firsthand the degree of hate expressed for a person labeled as being "gay", I slowly began to develop a fear of being different, rather than a defiance against similarity." (Growing up normal..., Alternate Link).
A part of the story related to how society and its professionals (especially teachers) have participated in the abuse (and related problems, including suicide) of gay kids is presented in a 1997 paper presented to teachers in Australia: Homophobia and masculinities among young men (Lessons in becoming a straight man [which includes abusing different/suspect boys] - Alternate Link.
- Medical abuses of GLBT youth. Some of the more general unethical medical abuses of GLBT individuals (especially adolescents) are available at Medscape (Free Registry!) via articles such as "Health care should not only be aimed at heterosexual patients," "Gays and lesbians shortchanged by doctors," and "Physicians must meet the health care needs of their gay patients."
From: Gay and lesbian issues in child and adolescent psychiatry training as reported by training directors. by Townsend, MH, Wallick, MM., Pleak RR., and Cambre KM., Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 1997, 36(6). 764-8: "The prediction that the majority of child and adolescent [psychiatric] training programs would reflect a heightened awareness of the vulnerability of LGB youths was not confirmed." (PubMed Abstract)
From: Survey of curriculum on homosexuality/bisexuality in departments of family medicine [in the United States]. Family Medicine, 1998, 30(4), 283-7: "The mean number of departmental curriculum hours devoted to this topic was 2.5 hours for all 4 years of undergraduate medical school. About half (50.6%) of respondents reported that their department spent zero hours teaching about homosexuality / bisexuality." (PubMed Abstract)
An 18-year-old lesbian, Jeanne Fontaine, used the words "criminal neglect" to describe the school administrators' avoidance of GLBT adolescent issues in schools. Given the above information about the ones teaching family doctors and adolescent psychiatrists, and the facts of the case, the expression "criminal neglect" and Dr. Gary Remafedi's 1994 book title, "Death By Denial" both correctly describe the situation in the Medical professions, including family therapy.
A study of articles from 17 journals from 1975 to 1995 reported that only .006% of articles were related to homosexuality issues, the conclusion being: " Findings support the contention that gay, lesbian, and bisexual issues are ignored by marriage and family therapy researchers and scholars. From: Clark, WM., and Seovich, JM. (1997) Twenty years and still in the dark? Content analysis of articles pertaining to gay, lesbian, and bisexual issues in marriage and family therapy journals. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 23(3), 239-53. Full Text.The Genocide of Gay and Lesbian Youth?
Will He Do something to Help ?