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Researchers have found that suicide among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth (LGBTQ) is comparatively higher than among the general population mainly due to heterocentric cultures and institutionalized homophobia including the use of LGBT people as a political wedge issue like in the contemporary efforts to halt legalizing gay marriages. Depression and drug use among LGBT people have both been shown to increase significantly after new laws that discriminate against gay people are passed.[1]

Reports and studies

"Approximately 25 percent of lesbian, gay and bisexual students and university employees have been harassed due to their sexual orientation, as well as a third of those who identify as transgender, according to the study and reported by the Chronicle of Higher Education."[2]

"LGBT students are three times as likely as non-LGBT students to say that they do not feel safe at school (22% vs. 7%) and 90% of LGBT students (vs. 62% of non-LGBT teens) have been harassed or assaulted during the past year." [3]

In addition, "LGBQ students were more likely than heterosexual students to have seriously considered leaving their institution as a result of harassment and discrimination."[4]

Susan Rankin, a contributing author to the report in Miami, found that “Unequivocally, The 2010 State of Higher Education for LGBT People demonstrates that LGBTQ students, faculty and staff experience a ‘chilly’ campus climate of harassment and far less than welcoming campus communities."[4]

A U.S. government study, titled Report of the Secretary's Task Force on Youth Suicide, published in 1989, found that LGBT youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than other young people.[5] This higher prevalence of suicidal ideation and overall mental health problems among gay teenagers compared to their heterosexual peers has been attributed to minority stress.[6][7]

Though it is impossible to know the suicide rate of LGBT youth because sexuality and gender minorities are often hidden and even unknown, particularly in this age group. Further research is currently being done to explain the prevalence of suicide among LGBT youths.[8][9][10]

In 2004, 1,985 American adolescents under the age of 20 committed suicide, an increase of 18% from the previous year.[11]

"More than 34,000 people die by suicide each year," making it "the third leading cause of death among 15 to 24 year olds with lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth attempting suicide up to four times more than their heterosexual peers."[12]

Institutionalized and internalized homophobia

Institutionalized and internalized homophobia may also lead LGBT youth to not accept themselves and have deep internal conflicts about their sexual orientation.[13] LGBT youths are also very frequently kicked out of their parents' homes at an early age after coming out.

Homophobia arrived at by any means can be a gateway to bullying. As seen in the nine LGBTQ youth suicides in September 2010, severe bullying can lead to extremities such as suicide.[14] It does not always have to be physical, but it can be emotional, viral, sexual, and racial, too. Physical bullying is kicking, punching, while emotional bullying is name calling, spreading rumors and other verbal abuse. Viral, or cyber bullying, involves abusive text messages or messages of the same nature on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media networks. Sexual bullying is inappropriate touching, lewd gestures or jokes, and racial bullying has to do with stereotypes and discrimination.[15]

Bullying can be seen as a "rite of passage",[citation needed] but studies have shown it has negative physical and psychological effects. "Sexual minority youth, or teens that identify themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual, are bullied two to three times more than heterosexuals", and "almost all transgender students have been verbally harassed (e.g., called names or threatened in the past year at school because of their sexual orientation (89%) and gender expression (89%)", according to GLSEN's Harsh Realities, The Experiences of Transgender Youth In Our Nation’s Schools.[16]

This issue has been a hot topic for media outlets over the past few years, and even more so in the months of September and October 2010. President Barack Obama has posted an "It Gets Better" video on The White House website as part of the It Gets Better Project. First lady Michelle Obama attributes such behaviors to the examples parents set as, in most cases, children follow their lead.[17]

Suicide signs and prevention

Some signs of suicide[18] include:

  • increased isolation
  • substance abuse
  • self-deprecating attitudes
  • expressions of hopelessness
  • irregular behavior
  • signs of depression
  • suicidal thoughts or feelings

These thoughts and behaviors can be triggered by emotional trauma, like bullying or rejection, but suicide prevention is possible.

The Trevor Project

"The Trevor Project was founded by writer James Lecesne, director/producer Peggy Rajski and producer Randy Stone, creators of the 1994 Academy Award®-winning short film, Trevor, a comedy/drama about a gay 13-year-old boy who, when rejected by friends because of his sexuality, makes an attempt to take his life." [19]

An American non-profit organization that operates the only nationwide, offering around-the-clock crisis and suicide prevention helpline for LGBTQ youth, the project "is determined to end suicide among LGBTQ youth by providing life-saving and life-affirming resources including our nationwide, 24/7 crisis intervention lifeline, digital community and advocacy/educational programs that create a safe, supportive and positive environment for everyone." [19]

See also

[[File:Template:Portal/Images/Default|32x28px|alt=]] LGBT portal
[[File:Template:Portal/Images/Default|32x28px|alt=]] Psychology portal
  • Coming out
  • LGBT community
  • LGBT-affirming religious groups


  1. The Impact of Institutional Discrimination on Psychiatric Disorders in Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Populations: A Prospective Study by Mark L. Hatzenbuehler, MS, MPhil, Katie A. McLaughlin, PhD, Katherine M. Keyes, MPH and Deborah S. Hasin, PhD
  2. LGBT Students Harassed At Colleges Nationwide, New Report Says
  3. Additional Facts About Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth
  4. 4.0 4.1 Steve Rothaus' Gay South Florida
  5. Report of the Secretary's Task Force on Youth Suicide
  6. Definition of Bisexual suicide risk
  7. Meyer IH (September 2003). "Prejudice, social stress, and mental health in lesbian, gay, and bisexual populations: conceptual issues and research evidence". Psychological Bulletin 129 (5): 674–97. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.129.5.674. PMC 2072932. PMID 12956539.
  8. "Sexual Orientation and Youth Suicide" by Dr. Gary Remafedi, October 6, 1999, retrieved 2 May 2006.
  9. "Youth suicide risk and sexual orientation - Statistical Data Included" by Rutter, Philip A & Soucar, Emil, Summer 2002, retrieved 2 May 2006.
  10. Articles Relating to Suicide by GLB Youth, retrieved 3 May 2006.
  11. Kids' suicides rise, CDC report finds - USATODAY.com
  12. Additional Facts about Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth
  13. Gibson, P. (1989), “Gay and Lesbian Youth Suicide”, in Fenleib, Marcia R. (ed.), Report of the Secretary's Task Force on Youth Suicide, United States Government Printing Office, ISBN 0160025087
  14. September's Anti-Gay Bullying Suicides - There Were A Lot More Than 5
  15. Students learn about bullying
  16. Additional Facts about Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth
  17. [1]
  18. Suicidal Signs and Facts
  19. 19.0 19.1 About Trevor