30 Oct 2022


Sexual Disparities in the U.S.A.

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Citizens in the U.S and the rest of the world have shown greater differences regarding accepting individuals based on their sexual orientation. In the past decade, instances of people committing suicide due to their sexual choices have increased exponentially. An alarming suicide trend was noted among teens (Burns, 2010). Apparently, not many people like thinking or talking about suicide in general. The same applies when it comes to homosexual suicide. Nonetheless, it is important to discuss gay suicides so that people can gain insight into the extent in which societal attitudes and perceptions contribute to this issue. In addition, discussions of this type will help in ensuring that the affected groups are discouraged from taking their lives away because of the perceptions of some societal members. In that respect, the discussions herein will aim at demonstrating that no person ought to feel that they need to commit suicide due to their sexual orientation. 

Gay suicide, in this case, refers a desperate act where men take their lives after developing a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness due to societal pressure. In 2010, a famous U.S politician called Joel Burns came out openly to explain the challenges that gay individuals face. He as a young gay teen had to overcome torture and discrimination. However, it was his strong desire to stick with himself for what he was that enabled him to overcome the challenges that befallen him. In order to justify the prevalence of gay suicide in the U.S., Burns (2010) gave examples of some boys who committed suicide because they could not bear the continued intimidation and harassment from their schoolmates. In the video, Burns (2010) noted that a 13-year-old teen (Asher Brown) went home and shot himself using his father’s gun after being bullied and punched at school. Billy Lucas (15 years old) who was perceived to be among the students who bullied Asher Brown hanged himself a week after Brown’s death. Burns (2010) also added that another student called Justin Aaberg ended up hanging himself after he could not withstand the harassment and torture from his colleagues. The final case cited in his article is the death of Seth Walsh, a 13-year-old gay boy. Fellow students nagged him and told him to hang himself (Burns, 2010). When he reached home, Seth Walsh did exactly that. 

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Discussing gay suicide is important because reports have indicated that the rate of gay-oriented suicide and suicide attempts are increasing at alarming rates. Precisely, the statistics showing gay suicide among teens and transgender individuals are shocking. Researchers have shown that the rate at which gay teens commit suicide is three times more than the rate at which their heterosexuals do the same. A study in Canada reported that chances of homosexuals committing suicide were fourteen times more than for heterosexual teens. The majority of the teen population who attempted suicide indicated that they really wanted to die because they were unable to stand the embarrassment they were facing from their colleagues in school. Reports have also indicated that about 45% of transgender individuals have tried to take their lives away. Haas et al. (2011) showed that men were more likely to commit suicide as opposed to women. However, the rates at which women attempted to commit suicide were higher than in men. 

It should be noted that not all gay individuals have thoughts of committing suicide. However, those who end up taking their lives away usually do so due to the harassment, discrimination, and stress that originate from those close to them. Haas et al. (2011) stated that this type of stress is referred to as “minority stress” since it is prevalent among minority populations. Teen gay men are likely to experience victimizations and stigmatization that are associated with psychological stress. Paul et al. (2002) indicated that 75% of the gay population reported that they were attacked verbally while 14% stated that they were physically attacked. Studies have suggested that another contributor to gay suicide risk is internalized homophobia. Support from the family has also been established to be an essential gay suicide risk factor. Paul et al. (2002) noted that teens that were rejected by their families due to their sexual orientation have higher rates of suicide attempts as opposed to those who were not rejected by their kin. Family and societal rejection will yield what Paul et al. terms as societal stresses (2002). This is because young adults will lack the support of their family members and society in general due to their sexual orientation. In such instances, the affected individual’s ability to deal with self-destructive behaviors will be weakened. In addition, lack of the coping resources coupled with psychological resilience, teens become more susceptible to distress. This, on the other hand, would make them develop suicidal thoughts. 

Nevertheless, a report by People-press.org (2013) indicated that there is an increase in acceptance of homosexual marriages. Precisely, there has been a significant change in attitude on this matter. According to People-press.org (2013), the public was divided on whether society should accept (47%) or reject (45%) homosexuality. The report indicates that in 2013, 57% of the public perceive that such marriages ought to be accepted while only 36% felt that homosexuality need to be discouraged. Notably, this change in attitude that has seen societies supporting or rather allowing same-sex marriage is the significant shift in opinion that has been noted in recent years. The article indicated that the noted difference was attributed t the arrival of a group of adults termed “The Millennial Generation” who were very receptive to gay rights as opposed to the previous generation. Essentially, about 14% of the American population and 28% of the pro-gay marriage groups stated that they had changed their stands regarding gay marriage. The long-term shift in societal opinions regarding same-sex marriage is no longer ambiguous as it used to be. According to a 2003 poll, 58% of Americans were against legalizing same-sex marriages while 33% favored the idea. Nonetheless, a 2013 survey by Pew Research Center which involved 1,501 adults in the U.S indicated that the trend in relation to accepting gay marriage had shifted significantly. The figures from the study showed that 49% of the American population was in support while 44% were against the issue of same-sex marriage. Notably, the 2003 study comprised persons born in 1928-1945. Out of these individuals, 17% supported homosexual marriage while in 2013, the number rose to 31%. 

In conclusion, the issue of same-sex marriage has been hotly debated among Americans. Studies have indicated that this topic touches both adults and teens. However, it is the teens who are most affected when it comes to homosexual relationships. Notably, youths face many challenges in schools where they are learning. As Burns (2010) stated, teens in learning institutions are attacked verbally or physically because of their sexual inclination. In the end, they develop stress and their mental ability to cope up with problems deteriorates. In such instances, the only option they perceive is the best for them is to commit suicide. Nevertheless, this article has indicated that there is a change in societal attitude due to generational change. As such, the public is offering less resistance to this category of individuals. 


Burns, J. (2010).    It Gets Better . Retrieved on 14 February 2017 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ax96cghOnY4. 

Haas, A. P., Eliason, M., Mays, V. M., Mathy, R. M., Cochran, S. D., D’augelli, A. R., … Clayton, P. J. (2011). Suicide and Suicide Risk in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Populations: Review and Recommendations. Journal of Homosexuality , 58 (1), 10–51. Doi: http://doi.org/10.1080/00918369.2011.534038 

Paul, J. P., Catania, J., Pollack, L., Moskowitz, J., Canchola, J., Mills, T., … Stall, R. (2002). Suicide Attempts Among Gay and Bisexual Men: Lifetime Prevalence and Antecedents. American Journal of Public Health , 92 (8), 1338–1345. 

People-press.org (2013). Growing support for gay marriage: changed minds and changing demographics . PewResearchCenter, U.S. Retrieved on 14 February 2017 from http://www.people-press.org/2013/03/20/growing-support-for-gay-marriage-changed-minds-and-changing-demographics/. 

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