Over the last few years, as I’ve developed the Silent Gays project, I’ve observed something very disturbing.
People put forward many ideas about why young guys, in particular, commit suicide. This article is powerful and points to one of the major issues concerning young guys inability to talk about themselves and share what’s going on inside.
But there is one problem that is never addressed – how many of these young men were LGBT?
We know for a fact that LGBT teens have the highest demographic for suicide, but this information never makes it to the mainstream awareness surrounding the issue! The question is very rarely asked “were they struggling with sexuality or gender issues?”.
Despite the legal acceptance of LGBT people, and efforts to break the stereotypes, young male culture is still cruel and belittling to anyone outside the typical image of the “tough guy”. As a result, so many guys become very good at successfully hiding their sexuality, and live in constant fear that they could be “outed”. The tragic thing is that when it finally becomes to much, and they take their lives, no one has any idea why. There were no signs of anything wrong – something you hear far too often. As I talk to more and more people, I have found so many who have experienced this and fortunately made it through to tell the story.
We must include this aspect in all our efforts to work through the suicide problem. Suicide prevention programs must directly address this, otherwise we are going to let thousands of young guys tragically end it all for reasons we don’t apparently understand. I now firmly believe it’s a far bigger aspect than we would care to admit, and this is reflected in the lack of material around this in mainstream suicide programs.
We’ve come a long way with addressing the suicide problem, but we have a heck of a long way to go. I’m going to be focussing more on this in the Silent Gays resources, but it’s up to all of us to bring any change.
Please, help raise awareness however you can.
For help –
New Zealand: www.outline.org.nz
There are many other services available world wide specialising in helping young LGBT people. Just ask Google.