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Kylee Gore

English 2010
Professor Tyler Barnum
March 1, 2016
Evaluation Paper
Acceptance vs. Suicide
As we look at our society today, we can see incredible movements when it comes to
making a difference in the LGBT community. There are gay rights festivals held annually, artists
creating moving music to symbolize the journey that the LGBT community goes through, and
events such as the super bowl of 2015 that dedicate their whole performance to making a
statement for the LGBT rights of people. Although making these impacting statements are
crucial to getting closer to finding acceptance in our society, our society seizes to realize that the
suicide rate in the U.S continues to increase and a difference isn’t being made.
According to LGBT Bullying Statistics, “If the family of the LGBT youth does not accept
them, they are eight times more likely to commit suicide than other teens. One-third of the
suicide attempts that actually result in death are due to a crisis in sexual identity”. Adolescents
face a struggle of coming out to not only their friends, but even worse their family. Over 50% of
the people that the LGBT Bullying Statistics members surveyed state that, “their biggest
problems are acceptance by their families, bullying at school, and fear of being open about their
sexuality”. Studies show that when teens can’t find the courage to come out to even their
families, they will try to hide it for as long as possible, until something else reveals their secret to
set them free. Another LGBT Bullying Statistic that helps demonstrate the fear that people go
through when coming out is “42% of LGBT youth live in a hostile environment where they are

not accepted”. LGBT adolescents are also twice more likely to report a physical assault from
their home or from their school. 69% of suicidal homosexuals have experienced violence from
an adult figure in their life. These recent statistics just increases the fact that adolescents today
will continue to live in fear wherever they may be.
Children are raised to grow up into someone who goes to school, finds a career, gets
married to someone of the same-sex, and then has children. With parents being so close minded,
it pushes their children away from being open with them about their true feelings or concerns.
According to Stephanie Pappas, “there's evidence to suggest that gays and lesbians are especially
accepting of open adoptions, where the child retains some contact with his or her birth parents.
And the statistics bear out that birth parents often have no problem with their kids being raised
by same-sex couples”. Adoption agencies have been known for rejecting applications from samesex parents, but due to recent studies, the adoption agencies have begun to consider same-sex
parents as top candidates when adopting a child. People fear that a child who is raised by parents
of the same-sex will grow up sheltered and will be taught to grow to love someone of the same
sex because that’s how his/her parents are. This, like many others is just another assumption.
Pappas states “children raised by same-sex couples are no worse than the kids of straight
couples on mental health, social functioning, school performance and a variety of other lifesuccess measures”. There are multiple factors that can be considered a disadvantage to a child
growing up, but same-sex parenting isn’t one of them. The key disadvantage is that society is
against simple acceptance to those who differ. Pappas studies show that individuals who were
interviewed state “their perspectives on family, gender, and sexuality have largely been enhanced
by growing up with gay parents". Parents of the same-sex have already endured the challenge of
not feeling accepted by either their families or society, so that almost gives them an advantage

when raising a child. They teach their child with an open mind, encouraging honestly and
acceptance to whatever the child chooses for their own life.
The assumption people often make about people who chose to be homosexual is that
there must be something wrong with them mentally, or that they are under developed in a sense
that they don’t truly know what they want. According to Gregory Herek, “homosexuality in and
of itself is unrelated to psychological disturbance or maladjustment. Homosexuals as a group are
not more psychologically disturbed on account of their homosexuality”. Just because people are
different than others, the stereotype of them being mentally disturbed is automatically given to
them. Psychologists are often approached by unaccepting family members pleading for help of
their family member who is homosexual because they simply believe that psychologists can fix
them. The reason behind people believing that homosexuals are fixable most likely comes from a
study that Herek reveals in his article that states “Psychologists argued that the psychological
problems related to ego-dystonic homosexuality could be treated as well by other general
diagnostic categories, and that the existence of the diagnosis perpetuated antigay stigma”.
People only recognize the statement that they argued whether being homosexual could be
treated or not, but don’t recognize that the stigma of having an antigay community was then
created, which practically encouraged people to not accept the LGBT. Like many other people,
some psychologists may not support homosexuality or may have a negative attitude towards it,
but Herek states “empirical evidence and professional norms do not support the idea that
homosexuality is a form of mental illness or is inherently linked to psychopathology”.
Although there are multiple stereotypes the LGBT community faces, one in particular
sticks out. Herek states in a second article that “in recent years, antigay activists have routinely
asserted that gay people are child molesters”. The amount of people who believe that

homosexuals are child molesters has decreased a huge amount since the year 1970, but in a
recent study from a couple of years ago demonstrates that people still fear the idea that
homosexuals will turn to being sexual with a child if they are unable to find a partner that loves
them. The ones who fear that has decreased to 24%, compared to the 54% of people in 1970.
Another side of this story that isn’t always looked into is the statistics of adolescents that have
been sexually molested that end up becoming homosexual. The majority of these statistics
actually come from men who were molested as a child, compared to a woman who was. People
label others who have gone through this as emotionally and physically damaged, but this is
something that is out of their control, just like the choice of being a LGBT.
According to Alex Lickerman, the six main reasons that people commit suicide are:
“They’re depressed, psychotic, impulsive, crying out for help, have a desire to die, and have
made a mistake”. When adolescents are interviewed after an attempt at suicide has been made,
nearly all these reasons are given on why they attempted it. 15% of gay or bisexual men from
ages sixteen to twenty-four have attempted to self-harm themselves to either prove a point or get
the attention from those who are unaccepting in their lives. In a recent study, 300 people a day
are admitted to hospitals in the U.S for self-harming, which is 50% more then there was over a
decade ago. Lickerman highlights a survey in 2014 that demonstrates “half of young gay people
have suffered mental health issues due to bullying, and 40% have considered suicide”. People are
beginning to feel like the only escape is to take their own lives. 67% of LGBT feel like they have
no emotional help to turn to because every time they reach out, they feel judged. People are
crying out for help, not for attention. The amount of suicide has nearly doubled since the 80s for
men and woman who have decided to come out. The more that this issue is ignored, the more our
suicide rate continues to sky rocket because not only does a suicide in a family effect the ones

left behind greatly, it makes the remaining family members three times more likely to also
consider and attempt suicide.
Lickerman also reveals a study that reported “teenage gay people who have been rejected
by their parents are far more likely to self-harm, take hard drugs and commit suicide than
teenagers who are wholeheartedly loved and supported by their parents”. The highest rate that
our suicide statistics represent, are people who feel isolated and unsupported. People all the way
from age fifteen to forty have attempted suicide a total of nine times or more, not necessarily
trying to completely end their lives, but to simply prove a point. Lickerman highlights that
“isolation, loneliness, inability to talk to anyone about their problems, and a loss role in society”
are the main things that force adolescents into turning to abusing hard drugs and alcohol, selfharming, and suicide. For those who are successful when committing suicide, it’s obviously too
late to change or help them now.
There will always be stereotypes out there against people we feel like are different from
us in any way, shape or form. In result, people’s opinions and the difference, whether it be good
or bad, that they decide to make lays in their hands. There are gay activists, gay movements, and
support groups out there that are more than willing to offer help and support to those who feel
isolated and alone, but many times the support LGBT need comes mainly from their family.
People don’t have to agree or be happy with another person’s decisions they make for their own
lives, but at the end of the day we can all agree that someone coming out as LGBT and being
accepted is far better than someone taking their own life. Everyone deserves to love who they
want and have the right to not feel ashamed about it. Though it may take time, everyone can
make a difference, and society can stop being so cruel and judgmental. Our first step is finding
the courage within ourselves to either come out, or finding the courage to give acceptance.

Works Cited
Herek, Gregory. “Facts About Homosexuality and Child Molestation.” Web. 1 Mar. 2016.

Herek, Gregory. "Facts About Homosexuality and Mental Health." Web. 1 Mar. 2016.
"LGBT Bullying." 22 Dec. 2012. Web. 1 Mar. 2016. <>.
Lickerman, Alex, M.D. "The Six Reasons People Attempt Suicide." 29 Apr. 2010. Web. 1 Mar.
Pappas, Stephanie. “Why Gay Parents May Be the Best Parents.” 15 Jan. 2012. Web. 1 Mar.
Paul, Jay P. et al. “Suicide Attempts Among Gay and Bisexual Men: Lifetime Prevalence and
Antecedents.” American Journal of Public Health 92.8 (2002): 1338–1345. Print.