In the Washington Post, Family Research Council head Tony Perkins argued that it’s because gay children are being told they cannot change their sexuality that they are killing themselves — and not because of institutional homophobia aimed at them by adults, churches, politicians, and school administrators. We always knew Perkins was an outrageous liar. Now here’s the irrefutable evidence.
“There is an abundance of evidence that homosexuals experience higher rates of mental health problems in general, including depression,” Perkins wrote (failing to mention the study he cites also says “discrimination may help fuel these higher rates,” the very point he says is impossible). “However, there is no empirical evidence to link this with society’s general disapproval of homosexual conduct. In fact, evidence from the Netherlands [Ed: A country whose healthy experience with openly gay servicemembers Mr. Perkins refuses to acknowledge] would seem to suggest the opposite, because even in that most ‘gay-friendly’ country on earth, research has shown homosexuals to have much higher mental health problems. Within the homosexual population, such mental health problems are higher among those who ‘come out of the closet’ at an earlier age. Yet GLSEN’s approach is to encourage teens to ‘come out’ when younger and younger–thus likely exacerbating the very problem they claim they want to solve.”
Perkins is right: LGBT teens do have higher instances of depression. But not mental health illness. And not problems caused by their sexuality.
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago conducted a study that’s billed as “the first to report the frequency of mental disorders in LGBT youth using the criteria of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV). Previous studies have relied on questionnaire-type surveys which, the authors suggest, may overestimate mental disorders in certain groups.”
And what did they find? That while a full one-third of LGBT youth attempt suicide, they are not mentally diseased. The conclusions, published in December’s American Journal of Public Health, point-by-point refute the bloviation of Perkins and his ilk.
Insists Perkins: “Some homosexuals may recognize intuitively that their same-sex attractions are abnormal–yet they have been told by the homosexual movement, and their allies in the media and the educational establishment, that they are ‘born gay’ and can never change. This–and not society’s disapproval–may create a sense of despair that can lead to suicide. … Since homosexual conduct is associated with higher rates of sexual promiscuity, sexually transmitted diseases, mental illness, substance abuse, and domestic violence, it too qualifies as a behavior that is harmful to the people who engage in it and to society at large. It is not loving to encourage someone to indulge in such activities, no matter how much sensual pleasure they may derive from them. It is more loving to help them overcome them. This is why, in the public policy arena, we will continue to oppose any policy or action that would celebrate or affirm homosexual conduct.”
Funny, because these researchers found that among their 246 “ethnically diverse” 16- to 20-year-old LGBT sampling in Chicago, 70 percent met no criteria of mental disorder. “One of the most important findings from our work is that most of these youth are doing very well and are not experiencing mental health problems,” says Dr. Brian Mustanski, a clinical psychologist and the study’s author, as well as a UIC psychiatry assistant professor.
The data did show some six percent had attempted suicide in the past year; 10 percent showed symptoms of PTSD; and 15 percent could be diagnosed as clinically depressed.
But does them being queer make them more susceptible to being fucked in the head? Hell to the no, says Mustanski. “The big question is, are these youth more likely to have mental disorders relative to other kids? And the answer to that is that it really depends on who you’re comparing them to.” (Newswire notes: “LGBT youths in the study had a higher prevalence of mental disorders than youths in national samples, but were similar to other samples of urban, racial and ethnic minority youths,” which throws cold water on the “it’s because they’re gay” theory. And: “The researchers also looked at differences between sub-groups of LGBT youth to determine if bisexual youth tend to have more mental health problems than gay and lesbian youth, or if racial-minority youth experience more mental health problems than white youth. Contrary to previous research that suggested that bisexual youth are more likely to have mental disorders than other groups, Mustanski found just the opposite. Bisexual youths had a lower prevalence of mental disorders compared with others in the study.”)
Will this data put a damper on Perkins running his mouth about how simply being LGBT makes a young person more likely to have a mental disease? Of course not. But we never expected rational thinking out of this guy. Nor do we expect him to consider that preaching to children they were born monsters might have just a little something to do with how their mental states develop.