Friday, October 1, 2010

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Suicide

by Kevin Caruso

"I always knew that I was gay. I also remember seeing heterosexual couples and knowing that I wasn't like them. I would get very depressed about not being like other kids. Many times I would take a kitchen knife and press it against my chest, wondering if I should push it all the way in," said Alex, a 14-year-old gay youth.

And innumerable lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trangender (LGBT) youths have similar feelings.
Many do not feel safe to "come out" with their orientation because countless LGBT youths have been rejected by their families or friends, verbally abused, phsysically abused, or bullied as a result.
This intolerance against the LGBT community is rooted in ignorance.
Ignorant people cannot accept others that are not like them. And they do not understand that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trangender people do not "choose" their orientation -- they are born lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, just like some people are born with white skin and others are born with black skin.

Adolescence is a very difficult stage for anyone to go through. But lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders have the added difficulty of coping with this ignorance -- and the intolerance, discrimination, hate and rejection that often accompanies it.

It is difficult difficult to fully research LGBT youth suicide because many young lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders have not "come out." But studies indicate that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth are up to four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers. And those who are rejected by their family are up to nine times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.

And the discrimination, ignorance, and intolerance that members of the LGBT community experience when they are young continue into adulthood.

If you are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, and need help, please reach out. There are many resources available.

And please remember that the people who are ignorant and insensitive are the ones with the problems -- not you! Stay away from them, and surround yourself with caring and supportive people. But take steps to protect yourself, your rights, your feelings, and your physical and mental health.

If you are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, and are suffering from depression or are suicidal, please go to the Home Page of this website and get help immediately.
Or call The Trevor Hotline, which is a 24-hour toll-free suicide prevention line aimed at lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youths:

And please read the following articles for more infromation on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered suicide:
Suicide Note of a Gay Teen
Joshua Melo Memorial -- Joshua, 15, Died by Suicide After Being Incessantly Bullied Because Some Cowards Believed That He Was Gay
Hate Against Gays and Lesbians can Lead to Murder and Suicide -- Remembering Matthew Sheppard and John French
I Want to Kill Myself: A Suicide Survivor Shares Her Suicidal Feelings and Suicide Attempt

Take care of yourself,
Kevin Caruso


Donald Kilhefner said...

Dear Billy:


I hope you are well.

Checkout the article I wrote on
the Birth of the Radical Faeries
in the current issue of the Gay
and Lesbian Review (Sept.-Oct 2010)

In a few week Dancing In The Moonlight:
A Radical Faerie Reader (White Crane/
Lethe Press, 2010) will be out. It was
edited by Mark Thompson and myself
and contains over 50 pieces from all
over the world.

Pacem In Terris.

Billy Glover said...

I thought I sent you a copy of my note to Richard Schneider saying how much I liked your article. I liked the others on glbt diversity in the community/movement too, but I had personal interest in your experience with Harry and John and how it in a sense differed from mine-perhaps because of my and ONE/HIC's interests being different from yours and those working with you on Radical Faeries. So the same person can be viewed differently-each of us brings our own background to affect how we view someone, our own agenda. The Hay Burnside family was a very interesting and educational part of our community/movement. They were loved by everyone I have known, even when their views or interests differed.

Perhaps their lives were not sexy enough to interest young homosexual men and women today, but that doesn't change the fact that they and the other pioneers DID affect the lives of every American today. Sadly, not enough as we witness so many young people committing suicide, but that doesn't mean that there are not many others doing ok because of the movement they started, now being carried on by COLAGE, GLSEN, and legal groups. I think a few more good lawsuits against school boards and the parents of bullies would solve some of the problem; we have certainly tried education.

As you well know, part of the problem ironically is that anti-gay people, young and old,often spot the sexuality of young people before they even think about it. I do wonder why so many bullies are so interested in another kid's sexuality. And why parents and school teachers are so ignorant or lazy that they don't see the meanness and stop it.

Another irony is that too often the professional people and the general media are doing less to fight ignorance than comedy shows and movies and "the industry" which has in the past been so anti-gay. Time Magazine, and even the Los Angeles Times and New York Times have never, to my knowledge, done an article or preferably a series of articles on the basic history of this movement and the issues. They merely exploit a case of violence or some new sexy, cute celebrity who has come out and knows nothing about the subject. the same is true of so-called alternative media such as The Nation and New Republic-which have never mentioned ONE, Don Slater, etc in their history. They seem to think this cause had virgin birth at Stonewall.

And even resources that claim to cover the history are incompetent or unethical-not one ONE person is mentioned by Equality Forum,and many so-called glbt timelines. And do we find serious activists covered in such silly books as "Queers in History, by Keith Stern?" Who is he and where did he learn about the subject that would let him ignore the most important people and publication in this movement's history?

The history is preserved in a dozen lgbt archives/libraries so there is no excuse for writers and historians to not know the facts on this movement, the best documented civil rights movement there is. And any person who does not know Hary Hay is not worth reading or hearing.

Billy Glover
October 2, 2010