I really don’t think it’s a good idea to keep reporting on individual teenage suicide cases.
Yes each story is heartbreaking and tragic and awareness needs to be raised about homophobic bullying and it needs to be tackled.
However the manner in which each tragedy is reported I feel could indirectly encourage the notion that suicide is a solution for a vulnerable teenager.
Teenagers (gay or straight) tend to follow a herd mentality. I think the wailing and shrieking by the LGBT press each and every time a teenager kills himself (most of these suicides seem to be gay boys) could inadvertently lead to the idea that suicide is a solution and that’s the one way of gaining some self-respect and restore some dignity.
Or highlighting it could encourage other people to seek help after realising the pain that the peoople left behind will feel.
sometime we need to have this brought home to all the straight people who seem to encourage this sort of bullying, very many more lives are saved by teens looking at the news, and seeing our comments which allow them to know we care. I can see by how many young people I am friends with.
I feel though that each time a gay teenager ends his own life, the gay press and its readers tend to respond by saying ‘Look at what homophobia does, this is why homophobia must be stopped’.
Whlle I agree with the sentiment that homophobia must be stopped, I think the tendency is for the gay press and political organsations to take indivdual tragedies as emblems for the wider struggle.
It is fairly widely accepted that if there is 1 suicide in a school then it greatly increases the risk for more suicides.
This can be true for a gay teen also. Any gay teenager can read the internet and I just think that the reporting of such tragedies could inadvertently be leading to the dangerous reality that suicide is normalised as an appropriate response to homophobic bullying.
There were suicides before the internet
Of course there were. What’s your point?
Keeping quiet doesn’t work when you are being bullied, you need to tell as many people as possible and make a noise about it.
If bullying is to be curbed it needs to be exposed, bullies rely on the victim saying nothing because they know they can get away with it then, bullies and bullying need to be placed in the spotlight to show them up.
True – but the appropriate people to tell if someone is being bullied are teachers; counsellors; parents; friends; relatives; Samaritans etc. You know – people actively involved in your life and who can offer specific advice suitable to individual cases.
Suicide is a sticky problem – by that I mean that it can become normalised.
Take the teen movie ‘Heathers’ – a work of fiction for sure but it also made the very good point that when 1 person commits suicide everyone comes together in grief. And that this inadvertently leads to further suicide – a vulnerable young person may think ‘I am being bullied; my life is hell, but look at how much sympathy was gained when Johnny killed himself. Is suicide an option for me?’
That’s why I feel very uncomfortable about these teenage suicide stories.
Are they dealing with or adding to the problem of gay teenage suicide?
You are blaming the victim and ignoring the reason. Thats a pretty harsh view
I’m not blaming the victim. I’d never blame someone who was so depressed or down that they saw no option other than killing themselves. They have my full sympathy.
I’m simply pointing out that creating the impression that suicide is an inevitable consequence of bullying will lead to an increase in suicides.
You’re spot on mate but sadly, the stupid state of Tennessee has a law that says “Don’t say gay” and this makes reporting gay bullying to teachers or other school staff virtually impossible.
The US Supreme Court needs to step in here and say the law is unconstitutional.
So what do you suggest, pretend it doesn’t happen and not talk about it?
I’d recommend strengthening anti-bullying laws; making support services easier to access and I’d stop reporting on the suicides of LGBT teenagers simply to further the broader LGBT rights movement.
If your child took his or her life because they were bullied should we bury our head in the sand too?
I guess you need a wakeup call.
If my child killed himself then it wouldn’t matter to me whether you buried your head in the sand about it or not. As my child would be dead so you going about wailing in grief would not bring him back.
This reporting of suicide is normalising suicide.
And as I have repeatedly said – normalising suicide increases suicide,
In a school where 1 suicide occurs, then the risk for further suicide increases.
I do take your point David, and it’s a valid one. I think those on here who are trying to discredit you by making out you don’t care are being deliberately disingenuous because it’s obvious you’re speaking from a point of concern for other vulnerable teenagers.
I disagree with you because the possible cost you highlight is outweighed by the more probable benefit that something will be done to stop these suicides.
As someone mentioned, the more publicity there is, the more the bullied will themselves be bullied into submission.
“the more the bullied will themselves be bullied into submission.”
I meant ‘bullies’.
Unfortunately, it is only through extensive media coverage of tragic suicides of gay teens that the issue of homophobic bullying will be dealt with head on by school authorities and society at large. It is only through schools fear of more gay teen suicides among their pupils that they will act to stamp out homophobic bullying.
Victims of bullying keeping silent about their pain tends to go hand in hand with aggressors carrying on with their violence.
The other tragic aspect of homophobic bullying is that victims only seem to have a voice after they’ve killed themselves. It’s around the creation of safe spaces for reporting homophobic abuse that the most work needs to be done.
That said, for many young people this will also involve coming out, which as we all know is hard enough and not something that is ordinarily undertaken when one is feeling vulnerable, isolated and picked on.
I’m just remembering that village in Wales where there was an epidemic of teen suicides, in recent years.
The suicide prevention services reported that suicide became normalised and therefore became seen as a valid option for some teenagers which led to a sustained increased in suicide levels. This has been noticed by suicide prevention services worldwide.
Yes homophobic bullying needs to be addressed and it is clearly a problem.
But creating the impression that suicide is the 1 option where in death a gay teen will finally receive the respect he thinks he is due; is very dangerous.
What people don’t seem to realise is that teen gay suicide rates are most likely not at higher levels than they were 10 years ago.
It’s just reported more now. And I wish that journalists would stop treating it as part of the wider struggle for LGBT rights.
Suicide is a serious problem for young people.Making suicide part of the tragic narrative of young gay life is not a good idea.
The notion that queer kids are killing themselves because of generations of toxic rhetoric, lies, and misinformation IS part of the larger struggle for LGBT rights. With all that you seem to know about gay teens, and the gay press, and your speculation about suicide rates, I’m surprised that basic concept eluded you. Sorry, but quashing facts is also “not recommended.”
“The notion that queer kids are killing themselves because of generations of toxic rhetoric, lies, and misinformation IS part of the larger struggle for LGBT rights.”
But you must also then acknowledge that seeing as 2012 is a better time in which to be LGBT than ever before; and that consequently the suicide rate among LGBT teenagers is most likely not at a higher level now than it was 30 years ago. It’s simply being reported more by a gay press who seem to think that individual tragedies are part of a wide struggle.
You must also accept that teenagers are pack animals – peer pressure plays more of a part in a teenager’s life. And that if suicice becomes normalised (as seems to be happening in the gay press – scarcely a week goes by without reading about another case) then the suicide rates will increase.
Increased suicide levels I suspect will be an inevitable consequence of sensationalised reporting of these stories.
And I really don’t feel comfortable with that.
R.I.P. my thoughts are with the many families affected by these tragedies, such a waste of another young life hounded by small minded bullies
What do you propose we do then, walk around like it doesn’t exsist? Take your bloody blinders off and get with the program.
In this case, the school district is clearly at fault bcause of a stupid law they’ve enacted that prevents the mere mentioning of the word gay or homosexual.
Maybe if their child was bullied they’re get this heads out of the sand.
If you were fully literate then you’d see that I have not proposed ignoring the issue.
Make stronger anti-bullying laws, introduce marriage equality and increase funding for mental health services and support for LGBT teenagers.
And the press can help by refusing to sensationalise and normalise sucide.
There is a distiinct odour of voyeurism about these relentless stories of LGBT teen suicide.
How is normalising the idea that suicide is a valid option for someone, going to reduce suicide levels. No-one can explain that to me.
And make no mistake – the constant reporting of teen suicides will lead to an increase in teen suicide. Concrete anyy-bullying measures and increased mental health services are the best ways of addressing suicide.
Publicising stories like this (tragic as they are) is more likely to make the people who are responsible for making such laws / funding support for LGBT teenager to get it done.
It’s public outrage that drives such things – which is why countries without a free press are less likely to have a good human rights record.
A free press is VITAL in my opinion, and the stories reported should be the ones that interest readers, they should not be “managed” in a futile attempt to “make society better”.
Just my opinion…
“constant reporting of teen suicides will lead to an increase in teen suicide” . . . it sure seems like you are advocating not reporting gay teen bullying suicides in the name of not encouraging others to do this, but not reporting is not addressing the issue with school boards who have refused to do so to date and is thus, out of fear of encouraging other suicides, not addressing the issue to change the problems that lead to those suicides. I think your apparent solution (not reporting) is irresponsible!
And would the Republican Party care if they win the Election in America, from the squaking we’ve heard, we doubt it. They even want to ban Gay Marriage. Shame on you!!
The courts need to step in and strike down their discriminatory “Don’t Say Gay” law.
A Rumor doing the rounds is that footballer Gary Speed committed Suicide after the gutter Press gave him an ultimatum; either come out officially in their paper and put a positive spin on him being gay or the paper runs the exposé anyway. His Inquest was adjourned until January 30 in 5 days time.
The same ultimatum was given to, Duncan James (of boy band Blue), Stephen Gately, Westlife singer Mark Feehily and Will Young, so it’s not unprecedented.
Take your poison elswhere. The man has a family who will not appreciate gossip
I think you should remove the above post Ben. It is not relevant- and is positively harmful to Gary’s family and friends. leave him alone for God’s sake.
The Right Wing Christians did this to this child, they are the ones who are behind every bullies and tortured child who kills themselves even if not directly involved. Everybody knows the Right Wing Christians want to destroy LGBT people and they have been doing it for a long time with their message of hate and destruction of gays. The parents pass their hate down to their children who then bully gays. This senseless killing and destruction needs to stop and people need to learn how to work together to help each other not destroy each other if we are all to survive. What the Right Wing Christians are doing is child abuse and it needs to stop now.
right wing christians = the government and London mayor
I want to say something that might not make me very popular. We don’t really know enough about LGBT kids and teenage suicide. As a doctoral student I can tell you that working with vulnerable populations is a tricky proposition. Surveys and the like are very expensive and time consuming. In other words understanding how being an LGBT person and being a teenager are interwoven I think is not something we can talk about except anecdotally. What we do now is a bit like throwing a dart on a board and saying it works or prescribing AA or some other organization – without peer reviewed research. We do not know enough about this topic so how can we come up with solutions? We have tangential claims – research on suicide, research on teenage suicid and I’ll bet a few articles that include LGBT teens – but the combination – I doubt it. Furthermore who wants to fund it? Drug companies? What about large foundations? This is a nasty blotch, an eyesore – we’re talking about kids taking their lives.
Frankly, growing up fancying boys through school has pretty much ruined my life. I never tried to kill myself as such, but the level of homophobia in the average school is such that I find it difficult to understand how you come through the whole thing without becoming mentally ill, which I undoubtedly have become… even my GP agrees. If you dont come through it properly, you just end up living in a world of lies, lies and more lies. And even in areas not related to your sexuality, such as your work, people sense instinctively that yourre not quite what you seem to be. Sexuality is such an integral part of discourse that its almost impossible to not be false…. Id like to think that ‘It gets better’ but perhaps the reason why so many teens commit suicide is that they sense instinctively that often it simply doesnt.
The government has a duty to protect its citizens. Anti gay attitudes are accepted as normal. You can’t say faggot but you can imply that all is not well with gay people. TV ads and panel shows like have i got new for you always have some sly dig.
And having a doctorate does not make you any more informed than me. Harold Shipman had one too
There is nothing about being gay that should make kids miserable so I am not sure what any study would reveal. The problem is, as we all know, the shame and the fear of rejection that society’s attitude causes. We are in the middle of a civil rights struggle that has split opinion all over the world. I believe we will win – as we are doing in many places. I remember my teen years. I was desperate that no one should find out I liked boys and I felt all the usual shame and guilt (Catholic upbringing) but at the same time it was the most heady and promising secret. I don’t think I ever felt unnatural and I believed that one day my prince would come and all would be well. I was lucky. Some teenagers kill themselves because they have eczema or come from a broken home or just feel ugly. Sadly, that is likely to continue. I weep every time I read of the latest suicide. Society is changing, and, in a cruelly ironic way, these tragic deaths may help bring our plight to people’s attention.
The boy that committed suicide , they need to check and make sure that none of these kids where in hate filled religions, because if they where these wicked religions tell these parents to abuse thier children, and not to love them and to violate thier lives, and try and get them to act and be something that they are not like being hetersexual, th;ey try and get them to lie about being gay an to tell people lies that you are hetero like the bacman clinic of abusers, the stigma to young adults, that do that is that they dont know how to handle the abuse opf the religions and the abu;se of their parents at the same time, all parents found with gay children that have subjected them to hate religions an organizations for bashing and abuse , has to be arrested the parents must be reprimanded as well for not removing the children from under toxic hate groups that drove them to commit suicide, the duty of any parent is just to simply love your child and not want anyone to harm them
your duty is to save lives an to humaniy, and to protect human rights and lives, your duty is to love others an to civilized citizens, of goowill to others and to be charity driven meaning caring for others seeing the world thru humane eyes and not the bigots lies, seeing people as people and not colors, children as children not a gender, seeing that you need to be humane and fair everywhere, this is your duty, not to a republican party , are a hate religions, nor to club or click , your duty; is not to your dick, it is to being humane an civilized And actions must be taken when your are not to protect civillzation, and families from the monster that perpertrate and delegate abuses such as hate and terrorism , We have a couple of old women abused an terrorized by North Carolina for trying to get thier marriage papers, they where arrested, old people dealing with Rosa Parks abuses, Crimes of racisms an bigotry, the commited no wrong, they where just gay, an they where wrongly violated
The evils of heterosexuals are a decade long and they atrocities they have commited against the nation itself and to human beings is to horrindus to relay. They are a deceitful treacherus people, who keep our nation in trouble and abused , uspset, and in danger, if it where not for these wicked hetesexual, our nation would be in total peace saftey apart from minor things, they are every bodys ass ache, and headache, they are sickening, The ACLU MUST COME TO THOSE OLD WOMENS DEFENSE IN NORTH CAROLINA, THE PHYSICALLY ASSULTED THEM WITH A RACIST WRONGFUL ARREST, DONE OUT OF BIGOTRY, AND HATRED, WHEN THEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN ACTING OUT IN AIDING THEM OUT OF A COURTESY, TO GET THEM THE PAPERS SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY WHERE OLD AND NEEDED ASSISTANCE, THE POLICE DEPARTMENT SHOULD BE SUIED, AND THE OFFICERS ARRESTED AN THE PERSON OR PEOPLE DELEGATING THAT EVIL MUST BE STOP AND REPRIMANDED FOR THE ATTACK ON THOSE OLD PEOPLE , AND THE MAYOR AN GOVERNORS FIRED IF THEY DID NOTHING TO STOP THE ABUSE
I think these stories should have contact details for support organisations
Only when positive teaching and attitudes are taught and openly talked about in all levels of education will this hopefully cease to be a problem for our repressed LGBT young citizens. Far to many cases of this are happening now, and especially in seems in the USA? Is the religious right guilty of imposing its homophobic teachings onto American youth? I think it is. If it has the will and capability of stretching its homophobic arm as far as the african states to stir the pot of hatred, then it must be suspect No. 1 in the hatred towards americas LGBT youth. Disturbing and shocking.
Homophobia would likely not exist if it were not for the religious right.
The bullies never suffer a penalty equal to the one bullied, and yet, it I suggested mailing every story of a young person’s suicide to say, Focus on the Family, I could be arrested for harrassment.
“Please help me mom”
This is creepy and brings tears to my eyes.
LGBT people are brought-up in a way that consists chronic molestation and moral (and sometimes physical) extinction. This is legalized and aprooved. Treatment in public life is many times within the definition of terrorism. Long way for Italy, even longer for us, gay people in Greece. For example in Italy there is an association of gay policemen, here, not even as a joke. Such sad news, in the Internet, there would be found quite a lot of people to laught at…