Thursday, April 28, 2011

Peter Sprigg just doesn’t get it about LGBT youth suicides

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Peter Sprigg, Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at the Family Research Council
Peter Sprigg

From a long-winded piece by Family Research Council Senior Fellow for Policy Studies Peter Sprigg, where he reacts to the recent survey revealing the wholly unsurprising fact that LGBT youths in more conservative areas tend to be more depressed and more likely to attempt suicide:

That’s right—the homosexual and bisexual teenagers were five times more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexuals—a difference that far overwhelms any difference caused by the “social environment.” [original emphasis]

Oh, really? And what basis does Sprigg have for asserting such a thing? (Hint: Exactly as much as other bigots have for claiming that it isn’t their fault that these kids actually are killing themselves in the first place. Or that groups like his aren’t actually “hate groups”, as designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center.)

To intrinsically social creatures like us humans, the social environment is everything. It has a broad and powerful influence on how you feel about yourself and others, both like you and otherwise. And it’s even more important in determining how you’ll be treated by those around you. When you spend your days being insulted, denigrated, humiliated and ostracized – and that’s when you’re not physically attacked – it’s inevitable that you start to feel shitty. And the shittier you feel, the grimmer your outlook on life becomes. And any individual can only take so much torment and abuse before they start thinking that there’s no other way out of it than to end their lives.

There’s really nothing difficult about this to understand. The fact that hateful assholes like Sprigg and the rest of the anti-gay Right don’t speaks volumes about how they’ve let their bigoted beliefs cloud their judgment and empathy, to the point where they actually have the gall to deny that persecuting others for no good goddamn reason might actually lead to bad consequences for them.

But just in case you didn’t think he was quite clueless enough:

Therefore, the logical take-away from the study would be this: the most effective way of reducing teen suicide attempts is not to create a “positive social environment” for the affirmation of homosexuality. Instead, it would be to discourage teens from self-identifying as gay, lesbian, or bisexual. [original emphasis]

Because the best way to stop gay kids from feeling bad about themselves is to … stop being gay.

They really just don’t get it. They never will.

(via Right Wing Watch)