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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Trump Calls for ‘A Certain Freedom’ to Wear Masks or Not – and Lies That Biden’s Coronavirus Policies Are ‘Anti-Scientific’
President Donald Trump tried to contrast his response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to the deaths of nearly 170,000 Americans, against former Vice President Joe Biden, who has called for strong measures far earlier than Trump ever did.
On Thursday Biden called on the nation’s governors to issue across the board mask mandates. Trump, in a campaign speech delivered under the false pretense of a coronavirus news conference, attacked his Democratic rival, and falsely claimed Biden had called for a national mask mandate instituted by presidential decree.
Trump, who misuses the power of his office regularly, claimed he did not think a President has the power to mandate mask wearing (he or she does.)
“Every governor should mandate mandatory mask wearing. The estimates by the experts are that it will save over 40,000 lives in the next three months. Forty thousand lives, if people act responsibly,” former Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday, referring to scientific studies. “It’s not about your rights. It’s about your responsibilities as an American.”
“To Joe, I would say stop playing politics with the virus. Too serious. Partisan politics has no place here,” the president says while delivering an attack on his election opponent from the White House briefing room.
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) August 13, 2020
Trump offered a different take on mask-wearing, saying “maybe they’re great and maybe they’re good and maybe they’re not so good, but frankly, what do you have to lose?” and adding, “we want to have a certain freedom,” to wear or not masks, “that’s what we’re about.”
A sleepy-sounding Trump explains that he’s against a national mask mandate because he thinks people should “have a certain freedom.” pic.twitter.com/Hv0fVDzjSS
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 13, 2020
Trump’s Postmaster General Removing Hundreds of Mail Sorting Machines – Before the Biggest Vote By Mail Election Ever: Report
President Donald Trump’s Postmaster General is quietly removing mail sorting machines and has scheduled the removal of hundreds more from USPS facilities across the country. The action, which is both unprecedented and unexplained, comes barely months before the 2020 November election, which begins in weeks when early voting starts in some states.
“In many cases, these are the same machines that would be tasked with sorting ballots, calling into question promises made by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy that the USPS has ‘ample capacity’ to handle the predicted surge in mail-in ballots,” VICE’s Motherboard reports. “Motherboard identified 19 mail sorting machines from five processing facilities across the U.S. that either have already been removed or are scheduled to be in the near future.”
That may not seem like a lot, and as Motherboard notes, “the Postal Service operates hundreds of distribution facilities around the country.”
But The Guardian’s voting rights reporter Sam Levine has posted what he reports is a letter and attached spreadsheets detailing where literally hundreds of USPS machines are slated to be removed, from where, and when.
Here is a June 17 USPS letter outlining where the agency plans to reduce mail sorting equipment https://t.co/FUqzoMhbNh
— Sam Levine (@srl) August 13, 2020
NCRM examined the spreadsheets, which refer to the removal of a total of 671 mail sorting machines with names like Automated Flat Sorting Machine (AFSMs), and Delivery Bar Code Sorters (DBCSs).
These are used to sort mostly letter-sized, flat mail pieces – the exact kind that, say, voting ballots would be sent in.
The letter, which was sent to the President of the American Postal Workers Union, cites only the “reduction in letter and flat mail volume,” but does not say why the machines are being removed now. The schedule calls for all 671 machines to be removed by September 30, which in some states is when or just after early voting begins.
The Foreword for Michael Cohen’s Book Is Out — It Contains Allegations of Deviant Sex Acts and a Backchannel to Putin
President Donald Trump’s former “fixer” Michael Cohen was unfairly targeted by judges attempting to silence his tell-all book slated to be released before the election. However, Cohen prevailed and his new book Disloyal: A Memoir. The true story of the former personal attorney to President Donald J. Trump is scheduled to be released by Oct. 6, according to Amazon, but Cohen had initially said he hoped to have it out by the end of September.
Cohen has already released the foreword of the book on the site for the book, which is getting so much traffic it keeps crashing.
“From golden showers in a sex club in Vegas, to tax fraud, to deals with corrupt officials from the former Soviet Union, to catch and kill conspiracies to silence Trump’s clandestine lovers, I wasn’t just a witness to the president’s rise—I was an active and eager participant,” it says, among other things.
He recalled his shocking and revealing testimony to Congress in which he outed the president for unethical and questionable behavior and urged others to rethink their support.
To those who support the President and his rhetoric, as I once did, I pray the country doesn’t make the same mistakes as I have made or pay the heavy price that my family and I are paying,” Cohen recalled testifying to Congress, “exhorting them to learn from my example.”
“Pulling over at a service plaza, I gassed up and headed inside for a coffee, black no sugar,” he described. “I looked around to see if I was under surveillance or being followed; a sense of dread consuming my thoughts. Who was that FBI-type in the gray coat or the muscle-bound dude a few paces behind me? The notion that I was being followed or stalked may have seemed crazy; but it was also perfectly logical. I wasn’t just famous—I was perhaps the most infamous person in the country at the time, seen by millions upon millions as a traitor. President Trump controlled all the levers of the Commander in Chief and all the overt and covert powers that come with the highest office in the country. He also possessed a cult-like hold over his supporters, some of them demonstrably unhinged and willing to do anything to please or protect the President. I knew how committed these fanatics were because I’d been one of them: an acolyte obsessed with Donald J. Trump, a demented follower willing to do anything for him, including, as I vowed once to a reporter, to take a bullet.
See all of the facts at Cohen’s site for the book.
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