Some Same-Sex Attraction or Sexual Behavior
OR: Assumed to be Homosexually Oriented
At Risk For Suicidal Behaviors
The Homosexuality Factor is Associated with Higher Risk for Suicidality Experienced by Heterosexually Identified Males and Females
Remafedi et al. (1991) were the first to report that the more feminine gay/bisexual male youth were about 3-times more at risk for having attempted suicide compared to the others. (Result of regression analysis.) The "Attempted Suicide" incidence was as follows for males in the BEM (1974) gender role categories: Masculine (3/28: 11%), Androgynous & Undifferentiated (23/77 = 30%), and Feminine (15/31: 48%).Similar Research Results or Research Outcomes Suggesting that Similar Results are to be Expected:
Tremblay & Ramsay (2002) wondered if a similar association with "Attempting Suicide" was present in the Bell & Weinberg (1978) / Bell, Weinberg & Hammersmith (1981) data (Sample taken in 1969) for white predominantly homosexual males who had been asked to rank themselves - as they had been from childhood to age 17 - on a femininity to masculinity scale: 0 to 6. At the Kinsey Institute - where the data set is located - the following results were generated for the associations between "Femininity to Masculinity" ratings (0 to 6) and "Attempting Suicide" incidences to the age of 20: Very Masculine (4-6) - 12/244: 4.9%. Moderately Masculine/Feminine (2-3)... 30/274: 10.9%. Very Feminine (0-1)... 12/55: 21.6%.
D'Augelli et al. (2005): "Factors that differentiated [lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB)] youth reporting suicide attempts and those not reporting attempts were greater childhood parental psychological abuse and more childhood gender atypical behavior."Research Indicating that Adolescents Harassed/Abused/Threatened with Violence Because they are Assumed to be Homosexually Oriented are at Higher Risk for Suicidality. Heterosexual adolescents reporting such harassment are at increasing risk for the more serious suicidal behaviors.
Fitzpatrick et al (2005): “Cross-gendered [college students], regardless of sexual orientation, appear to have higher risk for suicidal symptoms. Researchers and clinicians should assess gender role in evaluations of youth samples.”
Skidmore et al (2006): "We examined whether several measures of gender nonconformity were related to psychological distress in a community-based sample of gay men and lesbians. These included self-reports of childhood and adulthood gender nonconformity, as well as observer ratings of current behavior. Several measures of gender nonconformity were related to each other for both lesbians and gay men. In addition, gender nonconformity was related to psychological distress, but only for gay men."
Russell et al. (2006): "Finding 1 [From 2000-01 California Healthy Kids Survey]: Harassment based on actual or perceived sexual orientation is pervasive. 7.5 percent of California students [17,815 of 237,544 students surveyed] reported being harassed on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation… Further, this type of harassment is often a repeat occurrence: 32% of student harassed on the basis of actual or perceived sexual were harassed more than four times in the past twelve months... Finding 2: Students who are harassed based on actual or perceived sexual orientation report weaker connections to school, adults, and community... Finding 3: Students who are harassed based on actual or perceived sexual orientation, reported higher levels of risk on a wide array of academic, health, and safety measures." Risk Ratio for a "Depression" related item experienced by Harassed Group versus Others in the past year: 2.4: 55% vs. 23%; for having "Seriously Considered Suicide" in the past year: 3.2: 45% vs.14%; and for having "Made a Plan for Suicide" in the past year: 3.9: 35% vs. 9%. NOTE: Information about adolescents having "Attempted Suicide" in the past year was solicited in the CHK Survey, along with suicide attempts for which medical attention was obtained, but related results were not reported for the Harassed Group compared to Other Students.
Reis & Saewyc (1999) reported some results from the 1995 Seattle Youth Risk Behavior Survey. For Grade 9 to 12 heterosexual identified adolescents, those targeted for anti-GLB harassment were not only more at risk for the 4 measures of suicidality experienced in the past year, but they were also at increasing risk for the more serious forms of suicidality. The results: Seriously Considering Suicide, 33.2% vs. 15.5%, Risk Ratio (RR) = 2.1 -- Planning Suicide, 35.2% vs. 14.3%, RR = 2.5 -- Attempting Suicide one or more times, 20.5% vs. 5.7%, RR = 3.6 -- Medical Attention was received for at least one Suicide Attempt, 8.6% vs. 1.7%, RR = 5.0.
A total of 185 males (who responded to the Attempted Suicide" question) reported Anti-GB Harassment: "Heterosexual" = 125 (67.6%), "Unsure" of the sexual orientation = 24 (13.0%), and Gay/Bisexual = 36 (19.4%).Interestingly, the tabulated results for the 1995 Seattle Youth Risk Behavior Survey reveal that the greatest suicidality effects associated with anti-GLB harassment are heterosexual identified adolescents (generally ignored in Anti-GLB Harassment/Abuse research, even if they form the great majority of those experiencing Anti-GLB Harassment), followed by those who are "Unsure" about their sexual orientation (also ignored in research). The data also suggests that the effects of Anti-GLB Harassment/Abuse on the suicidality of GLB adolescents is non-existent, or almost non-existent. (Note: These results require a discussion with possible explanations that will eventually be the subject of a new webpage.)
A total of 388 females (who responded to the Attempted Suicide" question) reported Anti-GB Harassment: "Heterosexual" = 292 (75.3%), "Unsure" of the sexual orientation = 30 (7.7%), and Gay/Bisexual = 66 (17.0%).
California Safe Schools Coalition & 4-H Center for Youth Development (2004): "Many students reported harassment based on gender non-conformity and unsafe school climates for gender non-conforming students. 27 percent of students surveyed reported being harassed because they were “not masculine enough” or “not feminine enough.” 53 percent of students said their schools were unsafe for “guys who aren’t as masculine as other guys,” and 34 percent said their schools were unsafe for “girls who aren’t as feminine as other girls.”
Horn SS (2007): "This study investigated tenth- and twelfth-grade adolescents’ (N ≤ 264) judgments about the acceptability of same-sex peers who varied in terms of their sexual orientation (straight, gay or lesbian) and their conformity to gender conventions or norms in regard appearance and mannerisms or activity. Overall, the results of this study suggest that adolescents’ conceptions of the acceptability of their peers are related not just to sexual orientation but also conformity to gender conventions. Both straight and gay or lesbian individuals who were non-conventional in their appearance and mannerisms were rated as less acceptable than individuals who conformed to gender conventions or those who participated in non-conventional activities. Most surprisingly, for boys, the straight individual who was non-conforming in appearance was rated less acceptable than either the gay individual who conformed to gender norms or was gender non-conforming in choice of activity...In a series of studies on early adolescents’ judgments of others based on gender conformity, Lobel and colleagues (Lobel, 1994; Lobel et al., 1993; Lobel et al., 1999) found that cross-gender behavior in individuals was judged harshly by adolescents, particularly for boys. Further, there is some evidence to suggest that in adolescence cross-gender behavior is seen as maladaptive and that individuals who exhibit "non-normative" behavior regarding gender appearance, activities, or preferences are often sanctioned by both peers and adults (Carr, 1998; Carter and Patterson, 1982; Martin, 1990; Plummer, 2001; Stoddart and Turiel, 1985). Further, individuals who fall outside the range of what is considered acceptable for their gender in terms of mannerisms, appearance, or activities are often the targets of much ridicule, teasing, and harassment from their peers (Eder et al., 1995; Kimmel and Mahler, 2003; Lobel, 1994; Lobel et al., 1993; Lobel et al., 1999). Additionally, research with adolescents on homophobia and anti-gay prejudice suggest that anti-gay attitudes are in place by early adolescence (Baker and Fishbein, 1998; Mandel and Shakeshaft, 2000) and that individuals who hold conventional beliefs about gender roles are more likely to be prejudiced and less likely to befriend agay or lesbian person ( Marsiglio, 1993). Moreover, a growing body of literature on sexual minority youth and risk speculates that much of the stigma and victimization faced by sexual minority youth is related to gender-atypicality (Russell, 2003; Savin-Williams and Ream, 2003)..."
Smith TE, Campbell L (2005): "Participants were 229 adolescents who completed questionnaire measures of self-concept and multidimensional gender identity. Regression analysis indicated peer acceptance partially mediated the relation between self-perceived gender typicality and self-worth. Cluster analysis revealed four groups of adolescents with differing profiles of selfperceived gender typicality, felt peer pressure for gender conformity, and peer acceptance. Findings highlight the inherently social and contextual nature of gender identity. Also, the pathologizing of gender-nonconforming youth is discussed... As our data indicate, multiple patterns of gender identity and adjustment exist for adolescents with peer acceptance being a critical mediator. Importantly, there was no difference in the self-worth of nonconforming and conforming adolescents if they felt accepted by their peers. Moreover, this pattern was seen when girls and boys were tested separately. Thus, peer acceptance is likely more fundamental to adolescent adjustment than is their gender conformity. In closing, we propose redirecting some of the focus away from the person and toward the social context when considering the relation between gender conformity and adjustment. In many instances, a genderatypical child is classified as abnormal..."
Blakemore JEO (2003): "This research examined 3- to 11-year-old children’s knowledge of and beliefs about violating several gender norms (e.g., toys, play styles, occupations, parental roles, hairstyles, and clothing) as compared to social and moral norms... Boys with feminine hairstyles or clothing were evaluated more negatively than girls with masculine hairstyles or clothing. On the other hand, girls who played in masculine play styles were devalued relative to boys who played in feminine styles. Evaluations of norm violations were not consistently related to age."
Martin CL (1990): "Cross-sex behavior in boys generally is viewed more negatively than crosssex behavior in girls. The two goals of this study were to assess attitudes toward tomboys and sissies, and to explore possible causes for differential evaluations of tomboys and sissies. Eighty undergraduates completed uestionnaires assessing their attitudes toward tomboys and sissies, and their expectations for the future adult behavior of typical boys, typical girls, tomboys, and sissies. Results revealed that sissies were more negatively evaluated than tomboys. Women were more accepting of, and perceived more societal acceptance for cross-sex children, than were men. One reason for the negative evaluation of sissies may be that there is more concern for their future outcomes than for tomboys. Analyses of predictions concerning future behavior showed that sissies, more so than tomboys, were expected to continue to show cross-gender behavior into adulthood. Also, sissies were rated as likely to be less well adjusted and more likely to be homosexual when they grow up than other children. The accuracy of these beliefs and their implications for child-rearing practices are discussed."
Smetana JG (1986): "48 preschool children, 24 boys and 24 girls, reasoned and made judgments about counterstereotypical sex-role behaviors and appearances in comparison to judgments regarding moral and conventional transgressions. Sex-role transgressions were judged to be more flexible, permissible, and subject to subordinate jurisdiction than moral or conventional transgressions. Children were more strongly committed to the maintenance of male than female sex-role expectations and to female sex-typed appearances than activities. Boys also considered male cross-gender appearances more serious than male cross-gender activities. Children reasoned about sex-role violations as personal or conventional issues; male sex-role deviations were more likely to be seen as violations of social norms than were female sex-role deviations. Personal reasoning about sex roles was significantly correlated with greater flexibility and less commitment to sex-role expectations. Thus, young children were flexible but committed to sex-role expectations, and sex-role concepts were multifaceted, entailing different types of social concepts."
Plummer (2001): "This paper explores the use of homophobic terms by boys and young men and the meanings they invoke when using them. Highly detailed interviews were conducted with young men from diverse backgrounds about their own experiences while growing up and their observations of schools, teachers, family and peers. Homophobia was found to be more than a simple prejudice against homosexuals. Homophobic terms like ‘‘poofter’’ and ‘‘faggot’’ have a rich developmental history and play a central role in adolescent male peer-group dynamics. Homophobic terms come into currency in primary school. When this happens, words like poofter and faggot rarely have sexual connotations. Nevertheless, far from being indiscriminate terms of abuse, these terms tap a complex array of meanings that are precisely mapped in peer cultures, and boys quickly learn to avoid homophobia and to use it decisively and with great impact against others. Significantly, this early, very powerful use of homophobic terms occurs prior to puberty, prior to adult sexual identity and prior to knowing much, if anything, about homosexuality. An effect of this sequence is that early homophobic experiences may well provide a key reference point for comprehending forthcoming adult sexual identity formation (gay or not) because powerful homophobic codes are learned first.
Carr (2005): "Social scientists distinguish among the interrelated constructs of sex, gender, and sexuality. Yet both scholars and lay persons commonly conflate the three. Here sex is defined as the anatomical, biological, and genetic aspects of persons by which they are socially assigned into the categories of male and female. Gender includes social practices organized in relation to biological sex (cf. Connell, 1987). Sexuality consists of social practices regarding erotic desire, pleasure, and reproduction. Sex/gender/sexual conflation is a fusion or confusion of terms, including beliefs that sex is the same as gender, that gender connotes sexuality, or that sexuality is equal to sex. Sex/gender/sexual conflation emerges from what Ponse (1978) termed the "principle of consistency," a presumed natural and inevitable connection among sex, gender, and sexuality, where "deviation from gender ... is an indication of deviance, either latent or actual, from heterosexuality" (Phelan, 1993, p. 775). In accord with this principle, for example, people suppose that females are or should be heterosexual and relatively "feminine," that noncompliance with gender norms signifies homosexuality, and that detours from heterosexuality indicate "masculinity" or "maleness" in women. [With similar conclusions applying to males: 'In accord with this principle, for example, people suppose that males are or should be heterosexual and relatively "masculine," that noncompliance with gender norms signifies homosexuality, and that detours from heterosexuality indicate "femininity" or "femaleness" in men.'] Despite their relatedness, confusing, merging, and equating sex, gender, and sexuality is often problematic. Sex/gender conflation promotes terminological confusion and political problems by reducing the social to the biological (cf. Pryzgoda & Chrisler, 2000). Sex/sexual conflation encourages the view that bisexuals, lesbians, and gay men are abnormal females and males--an idea reinforced by scientists who continue to search for biological differences between homosexuals and heterosexuals (cf. Fausto-Sterling, 1985; Peplau & Garnets, 2000; Veniegas & Conley, 2000)..."