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Hidden lives: self-harm and the LGBT community

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  1. BE WARNED! According to Cornwall police in 2004, anyone who has self-harmed is mentally ill and therefore incapable of consenting to sex.So that 40% of gay persons then!Inability to consent was NOT the finding of the two year study into self-harm by the Mental Health charity, but when did little things like FACTS every get in the way of a homophobic Cornwall police enquiry?

  2. Jan Bridget 10 Mar 2008, 7:25pm

    Well done – for writing the piece and for printing it. I have been battling for years to get the levels of both self-harm and suicide amongst LGBT young people acknowledged and am delighted to say that the national CAMH support network commissioned the above webpage. I guess one of the reasons why we know about young people, suicide and self-harm is because there has been more research on this area with them than with adults in the LGBT population – and there are more (but not enough) support groups for young LGBT people (as opposed to the scene). I actually believe the situation facing young LGBTs is much worse now that before because of the levels of homophobic bullying and because they are coming out at much younger ages. But this should not detract from the fact that many older LGBT people use self-harm as a way of coping with homophobia, as others use alcohol and/or drugs as a way of coping. It is time we started to wake up in this country to the terrible effects of homophobia, particularly on those people who experience several layers of oppression ie through sexual orientation, gender orientation, age, sex, disability, class, race, etc.Thanks for helping to raise the issue.

  3. Jan Bridget 10 Mar 2008, 7:29pm

    I’ll try again with the webpage

  4. Jan Bridget 10 Mar 2008, 7:31pm

    Third time lucky:

  5. Sister Mary Clarence 10 Mar 2008, 10:10pm

    ” ….but when did little things like FACTS every get in the way ….”Never a truer word Malcolm. I have no doubt you are treated the way you are by the police because you have driven them to dispair – just like you’re driving us to it.

  6. Anon, whoever you are, perhaps you can shed more light on the line “anyone who has self-harmed is mentally ill and therefore incapable of consenting to sex”. Do you have a reference or example?Does the police in Cornwall not have to answer to the same hierarchy as other police forces aroud the country?

  7. Michael Halls 11 Mar 2008, 4:05am

    Thanks Sister Mary Clarence and Derek — Anon may indeed be referring to a particular case. If so, there were certainly a lot of facts, and they related to fears that vulnerable people were being exploited. If it is that story, well, Cornwall police and the Courts have got their own facts about the case. As I’ve said here before, Cornwall police institutionally are no worse and no better than anyone else, there are some great officers and they deserve support from anyone who actually cares about real phobic crime, which is a serious issue in the South West—they certainly don’t deserve a snippy and boring campaign of this kind. I’m a gay community worker who’s been dealing with police in the South West for more than ten years, and yes, I do know some facts.

  8. Sister Mary Clarence 11 Mar 2008, 10:35am

    Michael, Malcolm is able to point us to a wealth of support for his position on the internet about the institutional racism of Cornish Police, however on closer inspection almost all of said evidence has been posted my Malcolm it would appear.Devon and Cornwall police were named in the top 100 most gay friendly employers in the UK by Stonewall. The force was praised by the Stonewall for its support of lesbian, gay and bisexual police officers and for adopting best practice in looking after the welfare of minority groups.Malcolm has got a well documented grudge against the police and now even seems to have dropped his name on here to disguise himself.Many people in this country do still face prejudice and discrimination and all Malcolm is doing is detracting from other people’s genuine issues that do deserve support. Whatever case he or his former partner had against the police is lost to me now because all I see is a bitter old man, who is living in a distorted reality, and who is unable to move on from the past.I’ve no doubt there are homophobic police officers in Devon and Cornwall, just like there are homophobic employees in many professions across the country, but people do need to realise that if there are a victim of crime they need to go to the police about it – sexual orientation should not be a barrier preventing them from doing so.Speaking to the police when a victim of crime can sometimes be a daunting experience, especially when young. Malcolm’s actions only serve to make that experience all the more frightening. He is old enough to know better.The gay community in Devon Cornwall would be best served, in my view, by Malcolm getting a life.

  9. Michael Halls 11 Mar 2008, 1:43pm

    Sister Mary Clarence, you are so right!

  10. I have written a book which includes why I believe that lesbian and gay teenagers self-harm. I call it a result of Covert Cultural Sexual Abuse which is defined and outlined on my website It is so sad. I believe if people stop over sexualizing gays and lesbians and let them build their identity from childhood as straight counterparts do, self-harm would be greatly reduced!Warmly, Joe Kort

  11. If you are interested in how suicide and self harm affect GLBT young people, here is a link to some comprehensive research from around the world:RegardsMike K

  12. I was just wondering where you found this image as it is my drawing and although I am always willing for my images to be used in the right contexts I would appreciate either a credit or a request for permission for use of my image. Please contact me soon. Mimi_limi

  13. have just noticed the credit, so apologies for my jumping to that conclusion. In future a quick message asking to use an image would be appreciated. The article is fantastic though keep up the good work! mimi_limi

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