Researcher: Gay-Straight Alliances Key To Reducing Teen Suicide Attempts
Gay and straight teens who live in socio-politically conservative areas are more likely to attempt suicide, and the degree of an area’s political conservatism reflects the degree teens — gay or straight — are likely to attempt suicide. Conversely, the rate at which teens attempt suicide decreases with the more liberal an area is, defined by the number of Democrats and same-sex couples, along with gay-straight alliances, and anti-discrimination and anti-bullying policies that specifically protect lesbian, gay, and bisexual students in schools, according to a new study by psychologist Mark Hatzenbuehler, Ph.D., of Columbia University.
The ground-breaking study, published in the journal Pediatrics today, shows that gay, lesbian, and bisexual teens are more than five times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers. The study also showed that straight teens were 9% more likely to attempt suicide when living in the most conservative areas, compared to teens living in the most liberal areas.
Hatzenbuehler says it’s important to “create these environments for gay youth health,” because the study proves that “if you care about the health of gay youth, you are improving the health of straight youth, too.”
Hatzenbuehler conducted this study of 31,852 high school students in Oregon, by examining health surveys given from 2006-2008, to three-years worth of 11th grade students. Of note is that the study finds that 4.4% of the teens identified themselves as gay, lesbian, or bisexual, similar to (albeit just slightly higher than) a recent study by The Williams Institute of the UCLA School of Law, “How many people are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender?,” which showed that close to 4% of the American adult population identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.
In the study’s Pediatrics abstract, Hatzenbuehler writes, “Lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth were significantly more likely to attempt suicide in the previous 12 months, compared with heterosexuals (21.5% vs 4.2%). Among lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth, the risk of attempting suicide was 20% greater in unsupportive environments compared to supportive environments. A more supportive social environment was significantly associated with fewer suicide attempts, controlling for sociodemographic variables and multiple risk factors for suicide attempts, including depressive symptoms, binge drinking, peer victimization, and physical abuse by an adult.”
Dr. Hatzenbuehler, whose “research on the impact of social policies on mental health disparities in LGB populations has been cited in an amicus brief for the California Supreme Court’s decision on Prop 8,” according to his bio at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, earned hisÂ Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Yale University.
I spoke with Dr. Hatzenbuehler today by phone and asked him how his study could help real-world teens and their families with the challenges they face. He tells me his hope is that his study will be used as “a roadmap for reducing suicides for LGBT youth.” He stressed that “gay-straight alliances and anti-bullying policies can have important beneficial mental health consequences,” contrary to recent attempts by some conservatives to limit or eliminate gay-straight alliances.
I asked Hatzenbuehler what he might say in response to detractors who blame the Left for suggesting to LGBT teens that they are more susceptible to suicide attempts. Dr. Hatzenbuehler says his study proves the exact opposite is true, that it “challenges those ideas that suicidal behavior is inherent to gay youth,” and that a conservative socio-political environment “strongly contributes to suicide rate numbers.”
But Hatzenbuehler also reminds us that, while LGBT teen suicide attempts are problematic, “the vast majority — 80% — of gay teens aren’t attempting suicide.”
I also asked Dr. Hatzenbuehler how he might respond to comments made from those, like Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization for Marriage, who on Friday, and at other times, claimed that in Massachusetts, when same-sex marriage became legal, we did not see a decrease in gay teen suicide.
Hatzenbuehler says that studies show “LGB individuals living in states that passed gay marriage bans experienced an increase in psychiatric disorders,” when those bans went into place.
Bottom line, Hatzenbuehler says it’s important to “create these environments for gay youth health,” because the study proves that “if you care about the health of gay youth, you are improving the health of straight youth, too.”
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Madison Cawthorn Retains High-Powered GOP Attorney for Case Seeking to Disqualify Him as an Insurrectionist
U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) is facing several six challengers to his seat in the House of Representatives this year. Two Democrats will face off, with one becoming their party’s nominee. Four Republicans are primarying the far-right freshman lawmaker, one of those five will go on to face the Democratic challenger.
But Congressman Cawthorn is facing an even great challenge, and he’s taking it seriously.
A group of attorneys is looking at both the 14 Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and North Carolina law, in an attempt to have him declared an insurrectionist and therefore unfit to serve.
“No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress,” the 14th Amendment reads, “who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress…shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”
The New York Times Tuesday night reports “Mr. Cawthorn, 26, who is in his first term in Congress, has denounced the case as an egregious misreading of the 14th Amendment, but he has retained James Bopp Jr., one of the most prominent conservative campaign lawyers in the country, as counsel.”
Bopp, known as being one of the attorneys who won the democracy-damning Citizens United case at the Supreme Court, flooding American politics with millions (billions?) in dark money. He’s also been a vice-chair of the RNC, and is recognized as a top conservative lawyer.
The Times adds that “North Carolina’s election statute offers challengers a remarkably low bar to question a candidate’s constitutional qualifications for office. Once someone establishes a ‘reasonable suspicion or belief’ that a candidate is not qualified, the burden shifts to the officeseeker to prove otherwise.”
Other Republicans are likely worried, which should have some wondering who’s footing the bill for Bopp.
“If Mr. Cawthorn is labeled an ‘insurrectionist,’ that could have broader ramifications. Other Republican House members, such as Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Paul Gosar of Arizona, and Lauren Boebert of Colorado, face similar accusations, but their state’s election laws present higher hurdles for challenges to their candidate qualifications. If one of their colleagues is disqualified for his role in encouraging the rioters, those hurdles might become easier to clear.”
Read the entire Times report here.
Chasten Buttigieg Slams Florida GOP’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill for ‘Pushing LGBTQ Families Back Into the Closet’
Former school teacher Chasten Buttigieg is slamming Florida legislation dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which would ban discussion of LGBTQ issues in public schools under the guise of “parental rights,” saying it will “kill kids.”
Appearing on CNN Buttigieg asked, “what kind of country we’re building, or in Florida, what kind of state are you building where you’re essentially pushing kids back into the closet, you’re saying we can’t talk about you? We can’t even talk about your families.”
“And you know, as a kid who grew up for 18 years, being told, ‘you don’t belong, something about you is wrong.’ Sometimes you take that trauma to heart and unfortunately there are a lot of kids in this country who do the worst because we tell them, ‘something about you is twisted and you don’t belong here.'”
Buttigieg railed against the bill over the weekend, posting a tweet pointing to a Trevor Project study that he says found “42% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide last year.”
This will kill kids, @RonDeSantisFL. You are purposefully making your state a harder place for LGBTQ kids to survive in. In a national survey (@TrevorProject), 42% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide last year. Now they can’t talk to their teachers? https://t.co/VtfFLPlsn3
— Chasten Buttigieg (@Chasten) January 20, 2022
The bill, sponsored by freshman Republican state Rep. Joe Harding, in part reads: “A school district may not encourage classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.”
Buttigieg, who is married to Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, said, “if kids come into the classroom Monday morning, and they’re all talking about their weekends, and hypothetically a kid like mine says, ‘I had the best weekend with my dad. We went to the zoo, we went and got ice cream,’ is the teacher supposed to say, ‘hey, we don’t talk about things like that in this classroom’? You know, and not only what does that do to kids like mine, but also do to a kid in the classroom [who is] starting to realize that they’re different.”
JUST NOW: “”What kind of state are you building where you’re essentially pushing kids back into the closet and saying we can’t talk about you? … [Kids] take that trauma to heart.”@Chasten on what is being called the “Don’t Say Gay” bill in FL.pic.twitter.com/M1Qiz9Zt9f
— John Berman (@JohnBerman) January 25, 2022
Image by Pete for America via Flickr
Psaki Schools Doocy on Trump’s Infamous Twitter Tantrums After He Whines About ‘Hashtag’ Diplomacy
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki responded to a question from Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy on Tuesday by reminding him that former President Donald Trump had a history of conducting diplomacy through tantrums on Twitter.
At a White House press briefing, Doocy asked why Secretary of State Antony Blinken had expressed support for Ukraine on Twitter with the hashtag “#IStandWithUkraine.”
“Has that ever worked in stopping an authoritarian regime from doing anything, a hashtag?” Doocy wondered.
“I will have to say that, unlike the last administration, we don’t think Twitter is the only means of engaging or negotiating or discussing important topics,” Psaki replied. “But it is important for us to convey to the Ukrainian people who do view commentary through a range of forums.”
Watch the video below from Fox News.
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