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A Sidebar in Kendall S. Harmon’s “Sex Without Form & Void”
by Alan P. Medinger
In an article in a recent Ladies’ Home Journal (May 1998) a mother shares the tragic story of her homosexual son’s suicide at age 14. The pain that a parent must go through in such a situation is unimaginable for most of us. Although it may have helped the mother to express her grief, it is obvious that the magazine’s objective—and possibly the mother’s—was not just to share an awful experience but to promote an agenda—the acceptance of homosexuality. This was done according to standard procedures for promoting such an agenda—to blame the homosexual child’s problems on homophobia and to grossly exaggerate the occurrence of suicide among homosexual teenagers.
The article stated as a fact what has been treated in the same way by The New York Times, the Washington Post, and hundreds of other newspapers and magazines: that 30 percent of all teenage suicides are by gay teens. This is the primary argument put forth to support adopting gay-affirmative programs in public and private schools.
The problem is that this statistic has no basis in fact. It is based on a 1989 study done by a San Francisco gay activist, Paul Gibson, who had it attached to a report by a federal task force on suicide for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In fact, the HHS Secretary at the time, Dr. Louis Sullivan, stated that the conclusions of the study did not in any way express his views or the views of the department.
In 1994 representatives of the Centers for Disease Control, the American Psychological Association, the American Association of Suicidology, and gay and lesbian advocacy groups met to study the issue. They concluded that “There is no population-based evidence that sexual orientation and suicidality are linked in some direct or indirect manner” (quoted from a Seattle Times article of May 22, 1997).
Paul Gibson admits that he had done no original research, but that his statistics were based on other studies including one that reported there were 3,000 gay teen suicides a year—a figure that in fact exceeded the total number of all teen suicides in one year. Further, he extrapolated using the totally discredited Kinsey position that 10 percent of the population is homosexual. Gibson’s study is virtually worthless—except to be used to promote a political agenda.
There is a strong chance that homosexual teenagers are more likely to commit suicide than other teens. Inherent in all homosexuality is the clash between the way one’s body has been created and one’s feelings. The homosexual teenager soon finds that he is seeking to fill deep needs in ways that never seem able to meet them, and this could lead to extreme anxiety and depression.
But the real tragedy in using such false statistics to promote homosexual-affirming programs in the schools is that it lays before children who already have strong homosexual feelings a false remedy for their problem. Furthermore, for those teenagers whose sexual identity may be in question, the programs will push them towards a homosexual identity with all of the negative consequences it will bring.
Society bought the 10 percent myth for many, many years. We should not let the 30 percent gay suicide myth go unchallenged on any front.
For a detailed examination of this subject, see “The Gay Suicide Myth,” Peter LaBarbera’s contribution to the Journal of Human Sexuality (available from Regeneration Books; $10.00 plus $2.50 S&H).
Reprinted with permission from the June 1998 issue of Regeneration News.