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The Rising Cost – Part 2

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This morning the Advocate reports on yet another suicide of a young gay man. 19 year old Raymond Chase, who attended Johnson & Wales in Providence, Rhode Island hung himself in his dorm room on Wednesday. According to Autostraddle

Raymond Chase was a person who liked Harry Potter and Rugrats and was a member of the popular facebook group “I cant spell “bananas” without singing hollaback girl.” He’s not number five in a week of suicides, he’s a unique special person with friends and family who are devastated by his loss. He’s a gay college kid who sure seems happy but not that day, or maybe he’d never been, and something happened or something had always happened and he couldn’t do it.

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The following statistics come from the Trevor Project.

  • In the United States, more than 34,000 people die by suicide each year (2007 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC).
  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death among 15 to 24-year-olds, accounting for over 12% of deaths in this age group; only accidents and homicide occur more frequently (2006 National Adolescent Health Information).
  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death on college campuses (2008 CDC).
  • For every completed suicide by a young person, it is estimated that 100 to 200 attempts are made (2003 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey).
  • Lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth are up to four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers (Massachusetts 2007 Youth Risk Survey).
  • More than 1/3 of LGB youth report having made a suicide attempt (D’Augelli AR - Clinical Child Psychiatry and Psychology 2002)
  • Nearly half of young transgender people have seriously thought about taking their lives and one quarter report having made a suicide attempt (Grossman AH, D’Augelli AR - Suicide and Life Threatening Behavior 2007)
  • Questioning youth who are less certain of their sexual orientation report even higher levels of substance abuse and depressed thoughts than their heterosexual or openly LGBT-identified peers (Poteat VP, Aragon SR, et al – Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 2009)
  • LGB youth who come from highly rejecting families are more than 8 times as likely to have attempted suicide than LGB peers who reported no or low levels of family rejection (Ryan C, Huebner D, et al - Peds 2009;123(1):346-352)
  • Nine out of 10 LGBT students (86.2%) experienced harassment at school; three-fifths (60.8%) felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation; and about one-third (32.7%) skipped a day of school in the past month because of feeling unsafe (2007 GLSEN National School Climate Survey).
  • Almost all transgender students had been verbally harassed (e.g., called names or threatened in the past year at school because of their sexual orientation (89%) and gender expression (89%) (2009 GLSEN: Harsh Realities, The Experiences of Transgender Youth In Our Nation’s Schools).
  • LGBT youth in rural communities and those with lower adult educational attainment face particularly hostile school climates (JG, Greytak EA, Diaz EM – Journal of Youth & Adolescence 2009)
  • Lesbian, gay, and bisexual adolescents are 190 percent more likely to use drugs and alcohol than are heterosexual teens (Marshal MP, Friedman MS, et al – Addiction 2008).
  • It is estimated that between 20 and 40 percent of all homeless youth identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender (2006 National Gay & Lesbian Task Force: An Epidemic of Homelessness). 62% of homeless LGB youth will attempt suicide at least once—more than two times as many as their heterosexual peers (Van Leeuwen JMm et al – Child Welfare 2005)

Here is the PSA that Daniel Radcliffe made in support of the Trevor Project.

Fortunately not all incidents of bulling end in tragedy. Like the story of 11 year old Tyler Wilson from Findlay, Ohio. His love of tumbling and Gymnastics led him to become a member of his school’s cheerleading squad. Teasing eventually graduated to fighting and another student broke his arm. He appeared on Good Morning America.