A new study reveals something remarkable: marriage equality cuts down on teen suicide. This shows just how much social justice issues matter, and that they can be, all too often, a matter of life or death. LGB teens are prone to suicide, given that they often find themselves with no support system, no safety net, and see a bleak future in which they can all too easily envision never being accepted, and never having the same human rights as other people.
A new study found some stunning results: After same-sex marriage became legal on a state level, the rate at which young people attempted suicide in that state dropped significantly.
Published this week in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, the new study used data from the hundreds of thousands of students who participated in the CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) between 1999 and 2015. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University, Harvard University, and Boston Children’s Hospital looked at 32 different states that legalized same-sex marriage in that span of time and found a consistent drop in teen suicide attempts in each state after marriage equality arrived.
Overall, the suicide rate attempt among all high school students dropped 7 percent in the year after marriage equality arrived in a state. For students who identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual or who were still questioning their orientation — a group whom the suicide attempt rate is much higher — the drop-off in suicide attempts was 14 percent after the arrival of marriage equality.
Because the effect was specific to each state as it legalized marriage equality, it cannot be dismissed as mere correlation. In fact, during the same span of time, suicide rates in the country were actually increasing across almost all age groups.
Regardless, the study offers a profound addition to the wealth of research already documenting the impact of what psychologists call “minority stress.” For example, a study published earlier this month in Australia found that LGB people who had strong social support and affirmation had normative rates of depression and anxiety, while only those who experienced rejection or had past experiences of trauma experienced higher rates. Several other studies in the U.S. have found that simply living in more conservative communities can have a negative impact.
Republicans, who so often tout themselves as being so very “pro-life”, but could not care less about the lives or health of women, and support the death penalty, are also staunchly against marriage equality. The fact that equality helps to maintain life is one which will, no doubt, not sway them in the least. For all their claims of pro-lifery, they don’t seem to be the least bit concerned with LGBT people dying. It’s rather difficult to not get the feeling they are cheering behind closed doors, so I imagine this news will be met with a renewed determination to kill marriage equality. Seeing as the Trump Regime is all set to rescind the Obama administration’s guidance protecting transgender students, which is little more than a license to harass and bully transgender kids, I’m sure an uptick in violence against transgender people and suicides will be seen. This is not a good. This is evil, absolutely evil, repulsive behaviour that any decent person should be ashamed of, and be willing to fight against, tooth and nail. Once again, the rethuglicans prove they are people who are pro-death, and they will go to any length to ostracize those they deem subhuman, and hope they will be driven to death, one way or another.