Dispatches from the Creation Wars

AFA: Gays Get Depressed

Well actually, they didn’t say gays because they refuse to use the word ‘gay’ on their website. But this article points out the obvious, that gay people get depressed more than straight people.

A new study in the United Kingdom has revealed that homosexuals are about 50% more likely to suffer from depression and engage in substance abuse than the rest of the population, reports Health24.com.

After analyzing 25 earlier studies on sexual orientation and mental health, researchers, in a study published in the medical journal BMC Psychiatry, also found that the risk of suicide jumped over 200% if an individual had engaged in a homosexual lifestyle.

I love the way they phrased that – “if an individual had engaged in a homosexual lifestyle” – as though the mere act of touching genitalia of the same sex causes depression. First of all, we engage in acts and an act is not a lifestyle. Second of all, there is no such thing as the “homosexual lifestyle.” The lives of gay people are as diverse as the lives of straight people. If the only thing two people have in common is that they’re both gay, that tells as little about their shared traits as it does about two straight people.

More importantly, why do they think this is true? Perhaps it’s because gays routinely face hatred, bigotry and discrimination? Talk to any group of gay people and you will find a great many of them, even in this relatively more enlightened time, who were ostracized by families and friends when they came out of the closet.

We hear from these “pro-family” groups all the time about the importance of the family in building emotionally healthy people. Imagine the emotional difficulties one can face when they are thrown out of their own family, when their own parents refuse to have a relationship with them or the person they love, when their own parents tell them that they’re sick or possessed by demons and that if they can’t pray away the gay it can only mean that they lack faith and are going to hell.

Imagine how difficult it must be, especially on a gay teenager struggling with their identity in the face of societal disapproval. Imagine how unsafe it must feel to walk around school or the mall and hear constant refrains of “faggot” thrown in their face. Imagine how dehumanizing it is to be constantly denigrated as a sissy in a school full of jocks. Imagine the fear of social interaction that must develop in such an atmosphere.

But hell, you don’t have to imagine it. Ask any gay person and they can tell you all about it, as my friends have told me time and time again. Faced with all of this, what does the American “Family” Association do? Do they react with the compassion of the Christ they claim to follow and say to the bigots and the bullies, “whatever you do to the least of these, you do unto me also”? Of course not.

They use it as an excuse to encourage more bigotry and discrimination, to portray all gay people as mentally ill and emotionally unstable. They use it to justify denying to all gay people the same protection for their long-term relationships that straight people already have even when they know that forming such relationships can be of enormous emotional benefit to all of us.

They use it to rail against laws that prevent discrimination against them, reinforcing the very conditions that lead to the depression. They use it to justify attempts to prevent the formation of Gay-Straight Alliance clubs in schools so that gay teenagers can find the kind of emotional support that might help them overcome that depression and avoid suicide.

This is akin to breaking a track athlete’s leg and then not only criticizing them for limping, but using that limp as proof that they shouldn’t have been allowed on the team in the first place. This is madness.