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An obvious but necessary report about depression

Timothy Kincaid

December 6th, 2010

One of the tools used by those who deeply desire to make your life more stressful and difficult are statistics about depression. Because, yes, gay people suffer higher levels of depression.

And while it’s pretty obvious that being treated with contempt by the government, many families, more than a few churches, about half the politicians, and a whole lot of society would certainly seem like a cause for depression and a threat to mental health, anti-gays would like society to believe that homosexuality is inherently a cause of mental illness, if not a mental illness itself. They argue that somehow homosexual behavior (because “no one is really gay”) is so obviously against “natural law” that the depression we feel is really guilt and shame over our deviance.

Now a new study provides evidence of the correlation between family support and mental health. (Time)

Now a study reveals for the first time the impact that a supportive family can have on the physical and mental health of gay, lesbian and bisexual children. Researchers led by Caitlin Ryan, director of the Family Acceptance Project, a research, education and policy initiative designed to better understand the role that sexual orientation has on family dynamics, found that teens from families who supported their sexual orientation were less likely to abuse drugs, experience depression or attempt suicide than those in less accepting families. The teens in the more supportive environments also self-reported higher levels of self-esteem and self-worth.

Oh, and as for “helping” your kids by trying to make them heterosexual… well, Exodus isn’t going to like this study much.

Ryan points out, for example, that parents who tried to show support by attempting to change their children’s sexual preferences — in order to help their children become more accepted in school and society — were instead perceived as rejecting their child’s individuality and sexual expression. “What we showed was that by trying to prevent a child from learning about their sexual identity or from being part of support groups, or by telling them they are ashamed of them or not talking about their sexual identity, these kinds of reactions are rejecting behaviors that are all linked to negative health and mental health outcomes in children when they become adults,” says Ryan.

Now those who believe that Teh Gheys are a threat to all that is good and dear will just ignore this study. They aren’t that much invested in reality to begin with, and they are quite suspicious of things that challenge the “Truth” that the have chosen to believe.

But this study will be quite useful to decent folk who aren’t really sure what to do. It lists specific responses – dos and don’ts – for how to keep your kid feeling supported and healthy.

Comments

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Edward Miessner
December 6th, 2010 | LINK

“Now those who believe that Teh Gheys are a threat to all that is good and dear will just ignore this study. They aren’t that much invested in reality to begin with, and they are quite suspicious of things that challenge the ‘Truth’ that the have chosen to believe.”

Exactly. They suffer from religious schizophrenia which some people call Christ-Psychosis. And if any Christians out there who would rather believe “truth” from a bronze and iron age book written by sheep herders and cult leaders than established real-world facts and findings, then the label “Christ-Psychotic” fits them perfectly and they have to wear it.

justsearching
December 6th, 2010 | LINK

I suppose it would be better if we didn’t have women in the world because women have twice the rate of depression as men (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/depression/MH00035).

It’s abundantly clear that some of the higher rate of depression among the LGBT community is caused by intolerance of LGBT people. But it could also be the case, even if everyone treated LGBT people equally and with respect, that the rate would still be somewhat higher. The question that this would raise would be “So what?”

The anti-gay presentation and interpretation of these depression statistics could only make sense if they demonstrated, with studies, that people who deny their homosexual orientation and on the surface live a heterosexual lifestyle are overall less depressed than the LGBT people who live out the LGBT lifestyle. Methinks such studies will not be forthcoming.

William
December 6th, 2010 | LINK

“I suppose it would be better if we didn’t have women in the world because women have twice the rate of depression as men”

On the other hand, if we compare the suicide rates for males and females from all countries of the world for which figures are available, we find some very interesting figures. It is only in selected rural and urban areas of China (no figures for China as a whole being available for some reason) that the suicide rate for males is slightly lower than that for females (the male rate being 0.87 of the female rate), and only in Kuwait are the male and female rates equal. In every other country of the world the male rate is higher. In seven countries the male rate is under twice the female rate: Hong Kong (X 1.7), El Salvador (X 1.89), India (X 1.34), Peru (X 1.5), the Philippines (X 1.47), Saint Lucia (X 1.6) and Singapore (X 1.95). All others boast a male rate of AT LEAST DOUBLE that for females, ranging from X 2 (Albania) to an amazing X 9.8 (Bahrain). The UK and the USA are comparatively low down the list, their male suicide rates being respectively X 3.57 and X 4.29 the female rate.

So what are we to conclude from these figures? That being male is pathological?

cls
December 6th, 2010 | LINK

I would like to defend the natural law argument though not the Catholic interpretation of it, or should I say Catholic perversion of it. Catholicism claims that supernatural law (that is alleged revelation) is really natural law.

Natural law concepts do not logically lead to Catholic conclusions. Which is precisely why they smuggle in so-called revelation halfway through the process.

Natural law concepts are based on the facts of nature, hence the term “natural law.” What they are making are claims of a supernatural law, the very opposite of natural law. The facts of the nature of sexuality are now what the Pope says. We see the facts daily around us and they don’t jive with Catholic moralistic teaching. In truth Christians are at war with reality, not in conformity with it.

Priya Lynn
December 6th, 2010 | LINK

I’ve had a number of people try to explain to me what “natural law” is but to no avail, I still don’t understand. One thing I do note is that it is only religionists who refer to “natural law” as though that has some sort of moral implications for humans.

swampfox
December 6th, 2010 | LINK

Yes, gays do suffer from depression at a higher rate.

Timothy Kincaid
December 6th, 2010 | LINK

Priya,

As best I can tell, Natural Law is supposed to be something along the lines of ‘Nature reveals God’s intent’ but it seems in practice to be ‘Natural Law is what I say it is’.

Rachel H
December 7th, 2010 | LINK

I’m guessing proponents of natural law aren’t thinking of, say, the praying mantis.

Donny D.
December 7th, 2010 | LINK

“Natural law” has a number of different meanings, which all to some degree contradict one another.

The oldest I’m familiar with supports the concept of inalienable rights and other formative ideas behind our system of government, and can be secular. The problems start when religious ideologues and those pandering to the religious right use the phrase in a way that suggests that old meaning, while actually referring to a bunch of rightwing moralism and an implicit false claim that the “Founding Fathers” intended a Christian nation, rather than the one we got, which has protections built in to prevent a repeat of the theocratic craziness of the 17th century.

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