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Gay And Straight Teen Suicide Attempts Higher In Conservative Regions

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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.”

Read: September’s Anti-Gay Bullying Suicides – There Were A Lot More Than 5

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 his 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.”

Read: “Perkins: Homosexuality Is “Abnormal,” Drives Gay Teens To 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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George Floyd Died of Asphyxiation: Independent Autopsy

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George Floyd died of “mechanical asphyxiation,” concludes an independent autopsy commissioned by the Floyd family.

“The officers killed him,” Benjamin Crump (photo), the Floyd family attorney said at a Monday afternoon press conference moments ago. He “said an independent autopsy found his death was homicide,” The New York Times adds.

Crump said the family wants all four officers to be charged with first degree murder. Only one of the four officers has been arrested.

The Hennepin County’s medical examiner’s autopsy offered different conclusions.

Live video:

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Trump Mocked in China’s State Media for Fleeing to Bunker in the Face of Protests: ‘Mr President, Don’t Go Hide’

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According to a report in The Guardian, Chinese state media and government leaders are mocking reports that Donald Trump fled to a secure bunker under the White House in the face of massive police brutality protests that reached the White House gates.

Following reports that a “rattled” Trump was ushered to safety by the Secret Service as police battled with George Floyd protesters in the streets of Washington, D.C, among other cities, officials in China took notice.

“At a press conference on Monday, foreign ministry spokesman, Lijian Zhao urged the US to eliminate racial discrimination and protect the lawful rights of minorities, according to state-backed media, CGTN. ‘The death of George Floyd reflects the severity of racial discrimination and police brutality in the US,’ said Zhao,” reports the Guardian. “Zhao also threatened ‘counter-attacks’ on the US for continued retaliatory measures over China’s increased control over Hong Kong, which include reversing Hong Kong’s special customs status. On Sunday China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying posted ‘I can’t breathe’ – Floyd’s last words – to Twitter, with a screenshot of her American counterpart criticizing China’s crackdown on Hong Kong.”

More pointed attacks on Trump came from Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of nationalist tabloid Global Times.

“In a series of tweets and editorials over the weekend, Hu and his paper accused the US of hypocrisy,” the report states. “‘Mr President, don’t go hide behind the secret service,’ said Hu. ‘Go to talk to the demonstrators seriously. Negotiate with them, just like you urged Beijing to talk to Hong Kong rioters.’ In another tweet he said both protests defied the law, subverted order, and were destructive, but that Hong Kong’s were seen as justified by the US, while those in the US were unjust.”

You can read more here.

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Trump Administration Orders Military Police to Prepare to Deploy to Minneapolis

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Concern is quickly growing on news the Trump administration has ordered U.S. Military Police to prepare to deploy to Minneapolis after four nights of protests. Federal law, specifically the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, makes it illegal in many cases to use the U.S. Military within the borders of the United States, especially for law enforcement.

Early Saturday morning the Associated Press reported “the Pentagon took the rare step of ordering the Army to put several active-duty U.S. military police units on the ready to deploy to Minneapolis, where the police killing of George Floyd sparked the widespread protests.”

Soldiers from Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Drum in New York have been ordered to be ready to deploy within four hours if called, according to three people with direct knowledge of the orders. Soldiers in Fort Carson, in Colorado, and Fort Riley in Kansas have been told to be ready within 24 hours.

President Donald Trump in a 1 AM Friday morning tweet threatened to call up the National Guard and shoot “thugs” in Minneapolis if state and local officials did “bring the City under control.”

Trump also tweeted, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

The President promised he would “assume control” and “get the job done right.”

Trump hours earlier, according to the AP, had “asked Defense Secretary Mark Esper for military options to help quell the unrest in Minneapolis after protests descended into looting and arson in some parts of the city.”

National security attorney Bradley Moss weighed in:

Online many are referring to the Posse Comitatus Act to support their belief Trump’s actions might be illegal.

Former Bush chief White House ethics lawyer Richard Painter, now a law professor, fired off such a warning on Friday before the AP’s report:

The Washington Post’s Dan Lamothe apparently disagrees:

ABC News adds: “Under the post-Civil War law known as Posse Comitatus, the U.S. active duty military is forbidden from carrying out law enforcement duties. That ban can only be waived if a President declares a national emergency.”

 

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