A callous post

at CoNZervative blogs:

In a report on the Select Committee hearing the Redefinition of Marriage Bill -that the media continue to misrepresent as the “Marriage Equality Bill” (a partisan epithet – latest distortion The Press, p. 2 Jan 31)- we are expected to believe that teenage gay people are committing because they cannot marry each other.  That really stretches credulity.  Even a lawyer maintains this, citing a study.

“The denial of equal rights lies in the background here, as parents are encouraged to see non-heterosexual as properly excluded from the normal institutions of society.”  What utter manipulative rubbish.  

This tired old untruth is trotted out all the time, as a justification for giving gay people everything they want, hero parades, special support groups. Basically it says, “if we don’t get what we want, we’ll kill ourselves,”  or “gays are so persecuted, they are considering suicide.”  That is disingenuous, distortionary and demeaning to the gay community.

The only thing disingenuous and distortionary is John’s blog post. It’s appalling. Absolutely no one has has said gays will go out and kill themselves if they don’t get gay marriage passed.

What people have said is that gay teenagers have a high suicide and attempted suicide rate, and any move which makes them not feel that they are “wrong” could help reduce that rate.

If people are so insecure about being different, or about their sexuality, to the point of ending their lives, they have a mental health issue, and need support and care, not “marriage” being redefined.  If the claim were true, then bisexuals and people in multiple partner relationships would also be dropping like flies.  New Zealanders also have a high suicide rate; should we all get Australian citizenship?

The lack of empathy in this paragraph is truly appalling, and worse from someone I normally have a lot of time and respect for.

To just state that it is just a mental health issue, if you are a suicidal gay youth suggests no idea at all of what it must be like to be young and gay. Most of us can only imagine what it is like, but only a small amount of empathy is needed to understand how agonising it must be to be say 15 or 16 and realising you are different from your mates. You like guys instead of girls. How do you tell your parents? How do you tell your mates? Should you tell them? Will they dump you as a mate because they’ll think you fancy them? Will you get called a faggot? Will you be beaten up? Will you have a happy life? Will you ever have kids? Will your parents disown you? Of course you’re going to be fucking insecure if you are a gay youth.

I recall from when I was at school, the terrible teasing effeminate kids got about possibly being gay. Rumours (almost certainly untrue) that x and y had been caught doing something weant around the school. They were called names. They were asked outright if they liked cock. I think back and wonder how fortunate it was there were not some suicides. Now thankfully many kids today are more enlightened (mainly due to legal and societal changes of the last 20 years) and are more accepting. But hell, anyone who thinks because you are insecure over being a gay teenager you are suffering from a mental health issue – well words fail me.

And yes I for one absolutely think that a law which allow gay couples to marry, will have a beneficial effect on young gays. It is a powerful sign of acceptance, and of saying that even though you are different, you may be able to one day also marry the person you fall in love with.

Of course no one commits suicide solely because they can  not marry. But no one has suggested that. All the suicide experts know that suicide decisions have many factors. But acceptance is a factor.

Treat us, the public, with respect and don’t insult our intelligence with representations like this. What utter nonsense.  Young Christians are hassled, mocked, derided and picked on constantly in schools, the media, on TV, for their faith.  Only this week Green MP Keith Hague said teenage Christian Grace Carroll was “outrageous” and “offensive” because she mentioned “virtue.”  Black really has become White.  Christian teenagers don’t commit suicide.  They soldier bravely on, shouldering the mockery and having the courage of their convictions, often to death in overseas countries. I’m sure many teenage gay people do too.

First of all people choose to follow a faith. Does John think, as Colin Craig does, that people choose to be gay? And is he really saying that is it harder being a teenage Christian than a teenage gay?

And finally John not content with saying that any insecure depressed gay youth just has mental health issues, also claims:

There’s no doubt that many gay teens are harassed and bullied (a study published in the January 2010 issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health suggested gay and lesbian teens get bullied two to three times more than their heterosexual peers), and some of them may take their lives because of it. But there’s little evidence that gay teens have a dramatically higher rate of suicide than heterosexual teens.

Really? There is no definitive prevalence rate for gays and lesbians so no definitive suicide rate, but over a hundred studies have found higher rates of suicide attempts. Look at this or this or this list of 100 or so studies.

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