Do I have blood on my hands?
Apparently, either we all agree that gay marriage is good or gay children will die.
No, Mags, we either all agree that gay people are every bit as deserving of dignity and equality as anyone else, or we will continue perpetuating the myth that gay people are Less Than, and undeserving of happiness, as you do, which contributes to the overall climate which leads bullies to prey on gay kids, which, in some tragic cases, will lead to kids taking their own lives.
It’s a horrific charge to levy in response to some pretty horrifying stories. Will gay marriage really reduce or prevent gay teen suicide? I felt a moral obligation to find out.
Oh, boo hoo. So Maggie’s way of “finding out” was to twist other statistics about gay teens to show that it couldn’t possibly be bigots like her doing the damage to gay kids. Here’s what she found:
LGBT teens were roughly four times as likely as other students to attempt suicide in the last year. They’re also about twice as likely to report being in a physical fight at school, three times more likely to say they were injured by a weapon and almost four times as likely to say they missed school because they felt physically unsafe, compared to other teens.
Gay students are also more than twice as likely to report having had sexual intercourse before age 13 — that is, to be sexually abused as children. They are three times as likely to report being the victims of dating violence, and nearly four times as likely to report forced sexual contact. A majority of LGBT teens in Massachusetts reported using illegal drugs in the last month. (Perhaps most oddly, gay teens are also three times as likely as non-gay teens to report either becoming pregnant or getting someone else pregnant.)
Forced sex, childhood sexual abuse, dating violence, early unwed pregnancy, substance abuse — could these be a more important factor in the increased suicide risk of LGBT high schoolers than anything people like me ever said?
No, Maggie, the point is that, for a number of reasons, LGBT kids are less protected, and have less access to the kind of real-world support and information that their straight counterparts have, since society is so geared toward heterosexuals. The funny thing about these issues is that the Religious Right has been hellbent on making sure that no real information about LGBT people is taught in schools, that gay people are demonized, and that yes, gay people are just generally “less than” than other people — and that includes marriage equality — which contributes to an overall climate which puts kids who happen to be gay at more risk. The rate of homelessness among LGBT teens is also higher, fostered by this very same climate, which leads parents to kick their gay kids out on the street, with tragic consequences. It is the very fact that Religious Right demagogues like Maggie Gallagher waste their sad, pathetic lives trying to hurt gay people on an institutional level that leaves far too many of our kids out in the cold. It is the very fact that people like Maggie Gallagher fight against all reality in resisting the “normalization” of homosexuality that prevents gay teens from experiencing a “normal” adolescence, with all the societal protection and guidance that entails.
The screwed up thing is that gay people come from all sorts of families, and many of those families regrettably fall under the illiterate, uneducated influence of groups like NOM, anti-gay churches, and whatnot, and their kids get hurt in the process.
Not only do you have blood on your hands, Ms. Srivastav, but it’s getting dry and crusty, and at this point, it’s likely to be a permanent stain.