Oh, golly, it’s not just the gay kids:
Suicide attempts by gay teens — and even straight kids — are more common in politically conservative areas where schools don’t have programs supporting gay rights, a study involving nearly 32,000 high school students found.
Those factors raised the odds and were a substantial influence on suicide attempts even when known risk contributors like depression and being bullied were considered, said study author Mark Hatzenbuehler, a Columbia University psychologist and researcher.
His study found a higher rate of suicide attempts even among kids who weren’t bullied or depressed when they lived in counties less supportive of gays and with relatively few Democrats. A high proportion of Democrats was a measure used as a proxy for a more liberal environment.
“Is it surprising? No. Is it important? Yes,” said Dr. Robert Blum of Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health.
A dirty little secret about the Religious Right’s opposition to inclusive anti-bullying policies, and gay rights in general, is that they’re not just hurting gay kids, which is their goal, but also straight kids. We’ve said it many times, but when gay rights groups push for laws and policies which respect all students equally, we’re trying to protect all kids, but, quite frankly, it’s not our kids that need protecting as much. It’s kids who are trapped in social conservative hinterlands, gay or straight, who need our help, because they’re not getting it from their own communities. Climates that foster support and respect for gay kids are naturally also climates that foster support for everyone. Of course, many TWO readers will see this story and say, “Duh.” But it’s nice to have a solid study to back up what we all intuitively know.