Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

New study: relationship problems, not family rejection, leading cause of higher gay suicides

Life Site News reports.

Excerpt: (links removed)

 While many assume that family rejection is the leading cause of depression among LBGTI individuals, a new study has found that in fact the problem appears to stem predominantly from the higher incidence of relationship problems among homosexuals.

Dr. Delaney Skerrett led a team of researchers from the Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention (AISRAP) in studying suicides in Queensland. He found that a leading cause of suicide among “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex” (LGBTI) people is stress from their romantic partners.

“We tend to assume that the psychological distress LGBTI people are often going through is due to family rejection. But it seems that’s not so much the case. The conflict seems to be largely related to relationship problems, with partners,” Dr. Skerrett said.

In fact, he said, “The numbers are telling us there’s a general acceptance at the family level,” something he said is “great” and “really heartening!”

Instead, the study, which was published on April 2 in Asia Pacific Psychiatry, found that “LGBT individuals experienced relationship problems more often” than heterosexuals, “with relationship conflict also being more frequent than in non‐LGBT cases.”

That confirms previous studies finding that homosexuals also face higher rates of intimate partner violence than heterosexuals. A 2007 study in the Journal of Urban Health, which is published by the New York Academy of Medicine, found that 32 percent of homosexuals have been abused by at least one partner during their lifetime.

The researchers with AISRAP also found that a higher percentage of homosexuals took their lives of despondency, rather than other psychological illnesses. While one-eighth of all Queensland suicide victims had been diagnosed with a psychosis that impaired their judgment, Skerrett reports “there were no such diagnoses among LGBT individuals.” The conclusion adds to the consensus that depression disproportionately besets active homosexuals.

Previously, I blogged about a gay activist who thought that disagreement with gay rights caused gays to commit suicide. I wonder what he would do with a study like this? I also blogged previously about the “epidemic” of domestic violence among gays, and the article I linked to for that was from the left-leaning Atlantic Monthly.

But there’s more to say – let’s look at an individual case now, which will put some meat on the bones of the studies.

Here’s an article from the liberal New York Times.

Here’s the set up:

BOB BERGERON was so relentlessly cheery that people sometimes found it off-putting. If you ran into him at the David Barton Gym on West 23rd Street, where he worked out nearly ever morning at 7, and you complained about the rain, he would smile and say you’d be better off focusing on a problem you could fix.

That’s how Mr. Bergeron was as a therapist as well, always upbeat, somewhat less focused on getting to the root of his clients’ feelings than altering behavior patterns that were detrimental to them: therapy from the outside-in.

Over the last decade, he built a thriving private practice, treating well-to-do gay men for everything from anxiety to coping with H.I.V. Mr. Bergeron had also begun work as a motivational speaker, giving talks at gay and lesbian centers in Los Angeles and Chicago. In February, Magnus Books, a publisher specializing in gay literature, was scheduled to print a self-help guide he had written, “The Right Side of Forty: The Complete Guide to Happiness for Gay Men at Midlife and Beyond.”

It was a topic he knew something about. Having come out as gay in the mid-1980s, Mr. Bergeron, 49, had witnessed the worst years of the AIDS epidemic and emerged on the other side. He had also seen how few public examples there were of gay men growing older gracefully.

He resolved to rewrite the script, and provide a toolbox for better living.

“I’ve got a concise picture of what being over 40 is about and it’s a great perspective filled with happiness, feeling sexy, possessing comfort relating to other men and taking good care of ourselves,” Mr. Bergeron said on his Web site.  “This picture will get you results that flourish long-term.”

But right around New Year’s Eve, something went horribly wrong. On Jan. 5, Mr. Bergeron was found dead in his apartment, the result of a suicide that has left his family, his friends and his clients shocked and heartbroken as they attempt to figure out how he could have been so helpful to others and so unable to find help himself.

Look:

To his friends, Mr. Bergeron maintained a positive tone. He went on vacation, dated some, visited museums.

Still, he privately expressed misgivings about what the future held. Olivier Van Doorne, a patient of Mr. Bergeron and the creative director of SelectNY, a fashion advertising firm, recalled Mr. Bergeron telling him that every gay man peaks at one point in his life.

“He said a number of times: ‘I peaked when I was 30 or 35. I was super-successful, everyone looked at me, and I felt extremely cool in my sexuality.’ ”

Mr. Siegel, the therapist who supervised Mr. Bergeron in the early days of his career, said: “Bob was a very beautiful younger man, and we talked a lot about how that shapes and creates a life. The thesis of his book is based very much on his own personal experience with that. And the book also emphasized what to do when you’re not attractive or you no longer have the appeal you once had. The idea was to transcend that and expand your sexual possibilities.”

And:

With the book about to be printed, Mr. Bergeron became convinced that he’d written too much about the shame and isolation involved with hooking up online; that people weren’t even really doing that anymore, now that phone apps like Grindr and Scruff had come along.

His book, he felt, had become antiquated before it even came out.

[...]Though some of his friends, Mr. Rappaport among them, wondered whether drugs were involved, leading to a crash Mr. Bergeron did not anticipate, the suicide seemed to have been carried out with methodical precision. On an island in the kitchen, Mr. Bergeron had meticulously laid out his papers. There was a pile of folders with detailed instructions on top about whom to call regarding his finances and his mortgage. Across from that he placed the title page of his book, on which he also wrote his suicide note. In it he told Mr. Sackheim and Mr. Rappaport that he loved them and his family, but that he was “done.”

As his father remembered it, Mr. Bergeron also wrote, “It’s a lie based on bad information.”

An arrow pointed up to the name of the book.

The inference was clear. As Mr. Bergeron saw it at the end of his life, the only right side of 40 was the side that came before it.

I think that the problem is that in the gay lifestyle, you have a typically male emphasis on physical appearance, sex and pleasure. There is none of the moderating influence of women, which tends to push men into commitments, responsibility and stability.

If you really love a person, then you don’t tell them that the dangerous thing they want to do is not dangerous. That’s not love. It’s easier for you to approve of them and be liked by everyone, but it’s not love.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , ,

Study finds that gay parents are more likely to raise gay kids

A peer-reviewed study about gay parents raising gay kids in AOL News.

Excerpt:

Walter Schumm knows what he’s about to do is unpopular: publish a study arguing that gay parents are more likely to raise gay children than straight parents. But the Kansas State University family studies professor has a detailed analysis that past almost aggressively ideological researchers never had.

[...]His study on sexual orientation, out next month, says that gay and lesbian parents are far more likely to have children who become gay. “I’m trying to prove that it’s not 100 percent genetic,” Schumm tells AOL News.

His study is a meta-analysis of existing work. First, Schumm extrapolated data from 10 books on gay parenting… [and] skewed his data so that only self-identified gay and lesbian children would be labeled as such.

This is important because sometimes Schumm would come across a passage of children of gay parents who said they were “adamant about not declaring their sexual orientation at all.” These people would be labeled straight, even though the passage’s implication was that they were gay.

Schumm concluded that children of lesbian parents identified themselves as gay 31 percent of the time; children of gay men had gay children 19 percent of the time, and children of a lesbian mother and gay father had at least one gay child 25 percent of the time.

Furthermore, when the study restricted the results so that they included only children in their 20s — presumably after they’d been able to work out any adolescent confusion or experimentation — 58 percent of the children of lesbians called themselves gay, and 33 percent of the children of gay men called themselves gay. (About 5 to 10 percent of the children of straight parents call themselves gay, Schumm says.)

Schumm next went macro, poring over an anthropological study of various cultures’ acceptance of homosexuality. He found that when communities welcome gays and lesbians, “89 percent feature higher rates of homosexual behavior.”

Finally, Schumm looked at the existing academic studies… In all there are 26 such studies. Schumm ran the numbers from them and concluded that, surprisingly, 20 percent of the kids of gay parents were gay themselves. When children only 17 or older were included in the analysis, 28 percent were gay.

Here’s the paper entitled “Children of homosexuals more apt to be homosexuals?“. It appeared in the Journal of Biosocial Science.

Abstract:

Ten narrative studies involving family histories of 262 children of gay fathers and lesbian mothers were evaluated statistically in response to Morrison’s (2007) concerns about Cameron’s (2006) research that had involved three narrative studies. Despite numerous attempts to bias the results in favour of the null hypothesis and allowing for up to 20 (of 63, 32%) coding errors, Cameron’s (2006) hypothesis that gay and lesbian parents would be more likely to have gay, lesbian, bisexual or unsure (of sexual orientation) sons and daughters was confirmed. Percentages of children of gay and lesbian parents who adopted non-heterosexual identities ranged between 16% and 57%, with odds ratios of 1.7 to 12.1, depending on the mix of child and parent genders. Daughters of lesbian mothers were most likely (33% to 57%; odds ratios from 4.5 to 12.1) to report non-heterosexual identities. Data from ethnographic sources and from previous studies on gay and lesbian parenting were re-examined and found to support the hypothesis that social and parental influences may influence the expression of non-heterosexual identities and/or behaviour. Thus, evidence is presented from three different sources, contrary to most previous scientific opinion, even most previous scientific consensus, that suggests intergenerational transfer of sexual orientation can occur at statistically significant and substantial rates, especially for female parents or female children. In some analyses for sons, intergenerational transfer was not significant. Further research is needed with respect to pathways by which intergenerational transfer of sexual orientation may occur. The results confirm an evolving tendency among scholars to cite the possibility of some degree of intergenerational crossover of sexual orientation.

Please exercise caution when commenting, we do not want to be Brendan Eich’d by the Obama administration.

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Two girls charged with aggravated stalking after 12-year old victim commits suicide

From the NY Daily News.

Excerpt:

Guadalupe Shaw, 14, and another girl were charged with felony aggravated stalking in the suicide death of 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick, who jumped off a tower last month. Sedwick’s tormentors were relentless in their bullying, police said, and Shaw even wrote a heartless message on Facebook after the girl died.

[...]Sedwick was bullied relentlessly for several months before she jumped to her death from a tower at a nearby abandoned concrete plant in Lakeland, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said.

The 14-year-old, identified as Guadalupe Shaw, reportedly posted a coldhearted message on Facebook after Sedwick’s suicide — prompting cops to arrest her.

The implicating post said, “Yes ik [I know] I bullied Rebecca nd she killed her self but IDGAF [I don't give a (expletive)].”

As many as 15 girls “terrorized” Sedwick for several months with messages such as “You should die” and “Why don’t you go kill yourself,” but Shaw and a 12-year-old girl are the only ones that have been charged so far. The sheriff’s office released the name of the 12-year-old, but it is the Daily News’ policy not to identify minors.

“Detectives have determined that on Sept. 10, 2013, Rebecca Sedwick committed suicide by jumping from a concrete silo tower to her death, and that the malicious harassment by (the 12-year-old girl) and Shaw was likely a contributing factor in Rebecca’s decision to commit suicide,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

Witnesses told investigators that Shaw harassed Sedwick by calling her ugly, told her to “drink bleach and die,” and suggested that she should kill herself. Shaw’s animosity may have stemmed from the fact that a boyfriend of hers had previously dated Sedwick.

I always thought that only boys could be bullies, and not girls, so I find this story surprising. However, it does sort of make sense since studies have shown that women commit domestic violence at almost the same rates as men do. Let’s take a look at those studies.

Studies on domestic violence

Let’s see what’s happening with domestic violence rates in the UK.

Excerpt:

Data from Home Office statistical bulletins and the British Crime Survey show that men made up about 40% of domestic violence victims each year between 2004-05 and 2008-09, the last year for which figures are available. In 2006-07 men made up 43.4% of all those who had suffered partner abuse in the previous year, which rose to 45.5% in 2007-08 but fell to 37.7% in 2008-09.

Similar or slightly larger numbers of men were subjected to severe force in an incident with their partner, according to the same documents. The figure stood at 48.6% in 2006-07, 48.3% the next year and 37.5% in 2008-09, Home Office statistics show.

The 2008-09 bulletin states: “More than one in four women (28%) and around one in six men (16%) had experienced domestic abuse since the age of 16. These figures are equivalent to an estimated 4.5 million female victims of domestic abuse and 2.6 million male victims.”

In addition, “6% of women and 4% of men reported having experienced domestic abuse in the past year, equivalent to an estimated one million female victims of domestic abuse and 600,000 male victims”.

And the numbers from the government of Canada are the same.

Canada numbers:

An estimated 7% of women and 6% of men in a current or previous spousal relationship encountered spousal violence during the five years up to and including 2004, according to a comprehensive new report on family violence.

So it’s pretty even. Women are about as likely to commit violence as men are. And in lesbian relationships, the rate of domestic violence is extremely high, from 17% to 45%, depending on the study. I think in general, women are more violent when there is no man present, because they have more difficulty restraining their emotions and resolving disagreements with rational arguments instead of fist, feet and weapons. It would be interesting to know more about which of the girls in the Florida stalking story – predators and prey – had fathers in the home. I think that the presence of fathers would have helped everyone concerned. Fathers are a stabilizing influence in the home.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Dawn Stefanowicz explains her experience being raised by a gay parent

*** WARNING: This post is definitely for grown-ups only! ***

I was listening to a Dr. J podcast on “Why Marriage Matters”, and I heard about a woman named Dawn Stefanowicz, who was raised by her gay father in Toronto.

So, I looked around and found this interview with Dawn posted on MercatorNet. This is mature subject matter.

Intro:

Gay marriage and gay adoption are being fiercely debated in a number of countries. Usually these issues are framed as a human rights issue. But whose rights? Patrick Meagher, MercatorNet’s contributing editor in Canada, recently interviewed a woman who was raised by a homosexual father. She feels that her rights as a child were completely ignored.

Dawn Stefanowicz (www.DawnStefanowicz.com) grew up in Toronto. Now in her 40s, she has written a book, Out From Under: Getting Clear of the Wreckage of a Sexually Disordered Home, to be released later this year. Stefanowicz has now been married for 22 years, is raising a family, and also works as an accountant. She has also testified about same-sex marriage in Washington and Ottawa.

Sample:

MercatorNet: How did you feel about what was going on around you?

Stefanowicz: You become used to it and desensitised. I was told at eight years old not to talk about this but I knew that something was wrong. I was not thinking “this is right or wrong” but I was disturbed by what I was experiencing. I was unhappy, fearful, anxious and confused. I was not allowed to tell my father that his lifestyle upset me. You can be four-years-old and questioning, “Where is Daddy?” You sense women are not valued. You think Daddy doesn’t have time for you or Daddy is too busy to play a game with you. All this is hard because as a child this is the only experience you have.

MercatorNet: How did this affect your relationship with others?

Stefanowicz: I had a hard time concentrating in school on day-to-day subjects and with peers. I felt insecure. I was already stressed out by an early age. I’m now in my 40s. You’re looking at life-long issues. There is a lot of prolonged and unresolved grief in this kind of home environment and with what you witness in the subcultures.

It took me until I was into my 20s and 30s, after making major life choices, to begin to realise how being raised in this environment had affected me. Unfortunately, it was not until my father, his sexual partners and my mother had died, that I was free to speak publicly about my experiences.

And:

MercatorNet: Why do so few children speak out?

Stefanowicz: You’re terrified. Absolutely terrified. Children who open up these family secrets are dependent on parents for everything. You carry the burden that you have to keep secrets. You learn to put on an image publicly of the happy family that is not reality. With same-sex legislation, children are further silenced. They believe there is no safe adult they can go to.

Have you ever considered what effect it has on a child that they have to grow up without their mother or their father? Is that good for them? Is that something that we should be promoting so that there is more of it? It’s a sad thing to tell adults that they cannot do whatever they want, but it’s a sadder thing to harm children just so that adults can do whatever they want. We need to choose to be careful not to harm children by making poor decisions.

Related posts

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New study: more Americans dying from suicide than from car crashes

From the UK Daily Mail.

Excerpt:

Suicide is the cause of more deaths than car crashes, according to an alarming new study.

The number of people who commit suicide in the U.S. has drastically increased while deaths from car accidents have dropped, making suicide the leading cause of injury death.

Suicides via falls or poisoning have risen significantly and experts fear that there could be many more unaccounted for, particularly in cases of overdose.

The results were compiled using National Center for Health Statistics data gathered from 2000 to 2009.

Researchers noted a 25 per cent decrease in fatal car accidents, medicalxpress.com reported, while deaths from falls rose 71 per cent, poisoning 128 per cent and from suicide 15 per cent.

[...]Previous research has suggested that suicide rates go up during recessions and times of economic crisis.’Economic problems can impact how people feel about themselves and their futures as well as their relationships with family and friends,’ Feijun Luo of CDC’s Division of Violence Prevention told Bloomberg.

‘Prevention strategies can focus on individuals, families, neighborhoods or entire communities to reduce risk factors.’

Suicide is now the most frequent cause of injury deaths, followed by car crashes, poisoning, falls and murder.

The study also looked at gender and race, concluding that fewer women died from the four main causes than men.

Men especially are the hardest hit, because in a recession, they have a lot of anxiety about their provider role.

NBC News explains:

Middle-aged men from disadvantaged backgrounds are 10 times more likely to commit suicide, often because they have lost a sense of identity and masculine pride, researchers said on Thursday.

In a report commissioned by the British helpline charity the Samaritans, health experts explored why men in their 30s, 40s and 50s are at such a substantially higher risk of ending their own lives.

The findings suggest suicide is not simply a mental health problem, the researchers said, but also one of men’s place in societies and of societies’ inability to adapt to men’s needs when trying to deal with depression, anxiety and other problems.

[...]“The changing nature of the labour market over the last 60 years has affected working class men,” it said. “With the decline of traditional male industries, they have lost not only their jobs but also a source of masculine pride and identity.”

The World Health Organisation estimates that every year, almost a million people commit suicide – a rate of 16 per 100,000, or one every 40 seconds. It also estimates that for every suicide, there are up to 20 attempted ones.

Men are more likely to commit suicide than women in almost every country in the world, and the WHO says the main risk factors are mental illness – primarily depression – and alcohol abuse, as well as violence, loss, abuse and pressures from cultural and social backgrounds.

The Samaritans study found that in Britain on average about 3,000 middle-aged men from disadvantaged backgrounds kill themselves each year.

I can’t speak for everyone, but it seems obvious to me that a lot of people, especially young people who have college debt and can’t find jobs, need to be asking themselves an important question: are you better off now than you were four years ago?

Filed under: News, , , , ,

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