Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Why can't the religious right stop denigrating gay suicide victims?

Leave it to One News Now and the Liberty Counsel's Matt Barber to take the recent suicides of gay youth and tarnish them in a sad effort to cover up how their homophobia may play into the situation:

A conservative attorney agrees with a Cornell University psychology professor who believes the idea that there is a homosexual youth suicide epidemic is a dangerous misconception.

Following the recent suicides of four homosexual youths, Professor Ritch Savin-Williams stated he believes "it is important to point out...that there is absolutely no scientific evidence of an 'epidemic of gay youth suicide,' or even that gay youth kill themselves more frequently than do straight youth." Though he agrees the deaths are tragic, he decides they are rendered "even more tragic because they come at a time when growing up gay has never been better or easier."

The "conservative attorney" who agrees with Savin-Williams is none other than the Liberty Counsel's Matt Barber. Barber, who once called gay relationships "one man violently cramming his penis into another man’s lower intestine and calling it ‘love" and also defended the right of countries to persecute lgbts had this to say:

"As we've known all along, this line that is being pushed by radical homosexual extremist pressure groups that somehow societal homophobia is responsible...this is purely propaganda," he argues. "And as this professor points out, this is the case."

Studies show suicidal tendencies among homosexuals are about ten percent higher than the rest of society, but that occurs even in European nations where homosexual activity is celebrated and in areas of the United States where the lifestyle is more accepted. So since so-called "homophobia" is not the cause, Barber suggests another possibility.

"I think the cause is clearly we need to look to these kids who are sexually confused and are really disturbed and tormented internally -- it's not an external source," he notes. "So often times, unfortunately, with no other perceived means at hand, some of these kids are at risk to hurt themselves.

First of all, it doesn't take a blind, mute, and deaf man to know that Barber doesn't have an inkling of what he is talking about.

This particular statement of his is highly inaccurate:

"Studies show suicidal tendencies among homosexuals are about ten percent higher than the rest of society, but that occurs even in European nations where homosexual activity is celebrated and in areas of the United States where the lifestyle is more accepted."

The first part concerning Europe is a distortion of a Netherlands study. I talked about it earlier when referencing how Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council was misusing it. The second part of his statement concerning "areas of the United States" is a lie, plain and simple.

You see, Barber has an unfortunate habit of sometimes making things up.

Actually the entire premise of the article is wrong. From what I understand, there has been a lot of alarm and sadness over the recent suicides of gay youth, but no one has ever called it an epidemic or pandemic. Savin-Williams is doing some good by keeping such talk from becoming a hysteria. However, Barber is taking his words to trivialize the recent suicides in general.

The sad irony is that Barber omits the part of Savin-Williams's research which calls into question how much homophobia does play a part in the suicides of gay youth:

"First, middle schools can be tough places for youth who are 'different.' Bullies, however, seldom limit their attacks to gay youth. Research at Cornell's Sex and Gender Lab concludes that the life satisfaction of both straight and gay youth suffers if they behave in a gender 'inappropriate' manner (feminine boys, masculine girls). It is gender expression, not sexual orientation per se, that is linked with decreased psychological wellbeing, and this is likely the result of bullying.

"Second, some early adolescents who believe that they might be gay lack friend and parent support. Perhaps they have not yet developed their network of friendships and have parents who approach their child's same-sex sexuality as if it were a 'phase' that can and will change.

"Thus, to assert that there is an epidemic of gay youth suicide is not only speculative but also irresponsible because of the message it delivers to gay youth: 'be prepared to kill yourself.' Indeed, most gay youth love their life and wouldn't change their sexuality even if they had a magic pill to do so. Is this not the better message to deliver?"

Bookmark and Share


Kathygnome said...

You ask a question, you get an answer. They denigrate gay people who have committed suicide because their aim is to encourage more kids to kill themselves because they hate gay people and will do anything and everything until we are exterminated.

It really is that simple.

Rob John said...

Why can't the so-called Left talk about the victims of gays?

BlackTsunami said...

And what victims are these? You didn't elucidate. What "victims of gays" are committing suicide or been threatened or kicked out of their homes? I'm curious to hear.

Chitown Kev said...

I want to propose a different line to pursue.

The act of committing suicide is stigmatized as an unforgiveable sin by all of the Abrahamic faiths.

Myself, I grew up believeing that it was an unforgiveable sin (unlike homosexuality, actually)

So I believe that the fact that gay kids do commit suicide actually allows these groups (according to their theology, anyway) to wash their hands of the matter.

But I want to think about this angle some more.