Monday, November 07, 2011

Questions Worth Asking

Lately I have been hearing more than usual about the problem of bullying and subsequent suicides of gay youths. As always I am attuned to the possibility of political agendas. So I have done a bit of sniffing around on the internet on the subject. I now have more questions than answers. I suppose I should not ask the questions, but I will anyway.

Is there an increase in suicides among gay youth or simply an increased focus on the issue? Does bullying cause an increase in suicide? If bullying leads to greater numbers of suicides, why aren't we seeing or hearing about suicide among young Asians, as they are subject to the greatest amount of bullying among young people? If gay suicide is on the rise, what does that say about the effectiveness of the LGBT outreach programs that have proliferated over the years? If gay suicide is not on the rise, why is the coverage of the problem on the rise, as it seems to be?

After reading a few articles, I am able to reach at least one conclusion about the media coverage of the issue. That is, it is to be assumed true that the suicides are caused exclusively by external factors, primarily bullying or more broadly a lack of acceptance by portions of society. Don't even dare to ask whether there is anything inherent in homosexuality that may cause internal angst, confusion, despair etc... that may lead to or contribute to a decision to end ones life prematurely.

By no means do I claim to know whether or why suicide is a growing problem among gay youths. But it seems to me that if as a society we need to explore and address a problem, we should be sure consider any and all potential factors that may contribute to the problem. Avoiding difficult or politically incorrect questions may help a political agenda, but will it help a youth in crisis?

No comments: