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Gay teen suicides? Maggie Gallagher washes her hands

NOM Exposed Right-wing

This is a must-read. Cross-posted by Rob at Waking Up Now. — Eden

by Rob Tisinai

[Maggie Gallagher has an editorial in the the NY Post in which she denies her battle against marriage equality has any effect on gay teen suicides. Let’s have a look. Maggie’s statements are in bold.]

Do I have blood on my hands?

Ooo, pick me, I know!

Major gay-rights groups are saying so. Each of us who opposes gay marriage, they say, is responsible for the terrible and tragic suicides of gay teens that recently hit the news.

I can’t speak for the major gay groups, but personally I’ve always made a distinction between people who earn 6-figure salaries by spreading lies about gays and lesbians and marriage, and the voters who oppose marriage equality as a result. But this is one of your favorite tactics, Maggie: any criticism of you actually an attack on millions of people. Delusions of grandeur much?

San Francisco just filed a brief in the Prop 8 case, saying 7 million Californians who voted to protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman are responsible for high rates of suicide among gay people.

Actually, the brief says:

The net effect of discrimination against lesbians and gay men in society, according to Dr. Meyer, is a disproportionate incidence of mental and physical health problems, substance abuse, depression, and suicide.

“Discrimination against gays and lesbians in society” includes not just gay marriage, but job discrimination, housing discrimination, immigration, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, beatings, arson, and parental abandonment. The San Francisco brief doesn’t even mention the 7 million people, but you want your readers to believe the brief “says” what you claims it “says.”

You’d have been more accurate here if you said some of us believe that those 7 million voters contributed to the problem. But not nearly as much as people like you who lied to get their votes. Or who spend their lives stripping gays and lesbians of even the smallest legal recognition.

Evan Wolfson, one of the leading architects of the gay marriage movement, calls me out personally: “National Organization for Marriage Chairman Maggie Gallagher is among those who, with reckless disregard, attacks LGBT youth.”

I’ve never met Evan Wolfson and can’t comment on his claim. But I do know we’re right to call you out personally, especially when you tell people that same-sex couples can’t love each other the way opposite-sex couples can. That we can’t love our children the way straight couples can. You don’t think that sends a message of despair to gay kids? Really?

Former Clinton adviser Richard Socarides told the AP these suicides demonstrate why gays should be allowed to marry: “When you speak out for full equality now, as opposed to partial equality, or incremental equality, you send a message to everybody, including the bullies, that everyone is equal.”

Apparently, either we all agree that gay marriage is good or gay children will die.

Actually, either we all stop saying that gays are inferior to straights, or gay children will die.

It’s a horrific charge to levy in response to some pretty horrifying stories. Will gay marriage really reduce or prevent gay teen suicide? I felt a moral obligation to find out.

Or a financial obligation to keep your money rolling in.

Massachusetts has been tracking gay high school students for a decade using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

LGBT teens were roughly four times as likely as other students to attempt suicide in the last year. They’re also about twice as likely to report being in a physical fight at school, three times more likely to say they were injured by a weapon and almost four times as likely to say they missed school because they felt physically unsafe, compared to other teens.

These kinds of negative outcomes are consistent with the idea that anti-gay bullying is mainly responsible for the higher suicide rate among gay teens.

I hear a “but” coming…

But as I kept reading, I kept finding pieces of the puzzle that don’t seem to fit the “it’s homophobia pulling the trigger” narrative.

Not hard to do when your income depends on it.

Gay students are also more than twice as likely to report having had sexual intercourse before age 13 — that is, to be sexually abused as children. They are three times as likely to report being the victims of dating violence, and nearly four times as likely to report forced sexual contact.

Teens who are open enough to identify themselves as gay might also be open enough to reveal things the average teen would hide. At least, that’s one answer.

An alternative is that people like you have so consistently and thoroughly demeaned gay people that gay kids are more confused, conflicted, and vulnerable to abuse than straight kids.

A majority of LGBT teens in Massachusetts reported using illegal drugs in the last month.

Congratulations – your message of despair is having an impact!

(Perhaps most oddly, gay teens are also three times as likely as non-gay teens to report either becoming pregnant or getting someone else pregnant.)

Does it seem odd? You don’t think gay teens could be eager to prove to themselves they’re not gay in a culture that demeans their sexual orientation? If you disagree, then you’d best improve your case so it can account for this oddity.

Forced sex, childhood sexual abuse, dating violence, early unwed pregnancy, substance abuse — could these be a more important factor in the increased suicide risk of LGBT high schoolers than anything people like me ever said?

Maggie, this defense amounts to nothing more than, I’m not the only thing pushing gay kids to suicide, and other things are even worse! That doesn’t relieve you of your culpability. And again, you should look at your role in making gay kids more vulnerable to these forces.

The deeper you look, the more you see kids who are generally unprotected in horrifying ways that make it hard to believe — if you are really focusing on these kids’ well-being — that gay marriage is the answer.

Nice straw man, Maggie. Who said gay marriage is “the answer”? Marriage discrimination is one facet of anti-gay discrimination. You take comfort in the idea that you’re not the entire problem, but you’re still part of the problem.

And that’s exactly what the Youth Risk Behavior data also shows: In 2001, gay teens in Massachussetts were almost four times more likely to have attempted suicide (31 percent versus 8 percent). In 2007 — after four years of legalized gay marriage in that state — gay teens were still about four times more likely to attempt suicide than non-gay teens (29 percent versus 6 percent).

Or, perhaps, after six years of increasing visibility in the youth media, gay teens were more willing to talk about being gay 2007 than they were in 2001 (or 1991 or 1981 or 1951).

Of course, another difference between 2001 and 2007 is that NOM (or Protect Marriage or Stand For Marriage Maine) didn’t exist in 2001, getting national attention. And it’s well-documented that anti-gay abuse and violence increase during the campaigns against marriage equality spear-headed by, well, you. Could there be a connection?

Whether you are looking at their faces or looking at the statistics, one thing is clear: These kids need help, real help. They should not become a mere rhetorical strategy, a plaything in our adult battles.

If you see gays and lesbians battling the forces that drive kids to suicide, it takes willful blindness for you to reduce those kids to “a mere rhetorical strategy, a plaything in our adult battles.” You’re demanding we fight crime while ignoring the forces that cause crime.

Each of these teens is a child of God. And each one deserves better from all of us than becoming a “teachable moment” in someone else’s culture war.

And yet here you are, using them as a “teachable moment” in your culture war. You’re right about one thing – they deserved better than that. They deserved rich lives in a society where people don’t demean them or strip away their rights or bully them to death. You should work toward that world instead of scrambling to avoid your share of the blame.

Maggie Gallagher is president of the National Organization for Marriage.

National Organization “for” Marriage? I don’t think so. Have you ever counted up the number of marriages you’ve prevented versus the number you’ve saved? Or have you been too busy lately washing that mysterious red stuff off your hands?

79 Comments

  • 1. Alan E.  |  October 20, 2010 at 7:49 am

    .

  • 2. Kathleen  |  October 20, 2010 at 7:53 am

    .

  • 3. Ronnie  |  October 20, 2010 at 7:59 am

    My original comment still stands….

    Maggie Gallagher is the most grotesque, heartless, soulless, vile, thing on the face of the Earth……Shame on you, you Mary Tudor wannabe…..Yes, you do have blood on your hands… & I will add…..you will never be able to wash it off..it's your scarlet letter Maggie…so very very sad…for you…. >( ….Ronnie

  • 4. Alan E.  |  October 20, 2010 at 8:01 am

    Maggie Gallagher is president of the National Organization for Marriage.

    From NOM's About Us page:

    Brian S. Brown, President

    Maggie Gallagher, Chairman of the Board

  • 5. Alan E.  |  October 20, 2010 at 8:02 am

    I would link, but it's not worth it to send traffic there.

  • 6. Richard A. Walter (s  |  October 20, 2010 at 8:02 am

    And yes, Maggie, you, Brian, and Louis, all have blood on your hands. Stop trying to deny that the three of you have built careers, VERY LUCRATIVE CAREERS, out of declaring that the Rainbow Tribe is inferior in every way to those people you have misled into believing all of your hogwash. Get over yourselves and start telling the truth for a change. You will find that the truth shall make you free. Oops! I forgot. You wouldn't know the truth if it hit you in the face with a lead lined 2×4!

  • 7. Richard W. Fitch  |  October 20, 2010 at 8:03 am

    I'm compelled to say this again: Maggie Gallagher poses as a great defender of Marriage and Family; yet she never acknowledges her own marriage in public by using her husband's name, wearing a wedding ring or even having him accompany her to events that are explicitly for the married gNOMes.

  • 8. Bob  |  October 20, 2010 at 8:11 am

    Nom's third bus tour is a real opportunity to ramp up our protests,,,, more people, be louder, I would hope Queer Rising would take some further action, shout them down , and really really would like to see hudge posters of the one's with Maggie and the blood on her hands,

    how about getting creative with those mash mobs or whatever they are always really effective.

    and of course a lie in , in honor of the suicides.

  • 9. robtish  |  October 20, 2010 at 8:12 am

    Hey Alan. I stuck exactly to what appeared in the NY Post. I have no idea who told them Maggie was president, but who can keep track?

  • 10. Manilow  |  October 20, 2010 at 8:18 am

    Ugh – just reading her words makes me feel dirty.

  • 11. Alan E.  |  October 20, 2010 at 8:21 am

    They frequently got it wrong even on their bus tours and other info packets. Of course, it seems like they don't really care who is in which position. If NOM doesn't even know who's officially in charge of what, then why should anyone else care?

  • 12. Alan E.  |  October 20, 2010 at 8:22 am

    Also, I figured it was the article that said it, not you.

  • 13. Ann S.  |  October 20, 2010 at 8:25 am

    Methinks the lady doth protest too much.

  • 14. JonT  |  October 20, 2010 at 8:44 am

  • 15. Kathleen  |  October 20, 2010 at 8:46 am

    UPDATE in DADT case (LCR v USA)
    Preliminary Response of LCR to Gov't Request for Temporary "Administrative" Stay http://www.scribd.com/doc/39775815

    Warning – it's a massive document, but mostly because of attachments, many of which are likely duplications of previously filed documents. Don't have time to go through it right now to sift out the irrelevant.

  • 16. Judy  |  October 20, 2010 at 9:07 am

    I like this quote from the Response:

    "Indeed, the evidence at trial demonstrated that no harm would occur by ceasing enforcement of DADT.And a week after the Department of Defense ceased enforcing DADT, that is exactly what occurred – nothing."

    There is another reference to "nothing" a few pages later where it refers to the amount of evidence put forth by the government, followed by the word in bold, Zero.

    Slam dunk.

  • 17. JinMD  |  October 20, 2010 at 9:19 am

    Why write such a vile article unless one actually feels guilty? Maggie and her ilk are gonna milk every last dollar they can because the writing's on the wall: it's just a matter of time before her vision of the USA no longer exists.

    I can't imagine what it must be like to get paid to perpetuate such inhumane bullshit. For a living.

  • 18. Bob Barnes  |  October 20, 2010 at 9:20 am

    Remember this?

    NOM Board Member Advocates Criminalization of Homosexuality, Overthrow of Government
    PEOPLE FOR THE AMERICAN WAY CALLS ON GROUP TO REJECT REMARKS

    In response to the launch of the Carrie Prejean ad campaign against marriage equality, People For the American Way president Michael Keegan issued the following statement:

    "If the National Organization for Marriage wants to make the comments of a gossip columnist and a beauty queen the subject of a national debate, then it should answer for the bizarre and troubling remarks of its most prominent board member — best-selling science fiction writer Orson Scott Card.

    "The NOM has argued that it is not a homophobic organization, but Card's remarks suggest otherwise. Card, who represents the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the board and received an effusive welcome last week from NOM president Maggie Gallagher, supports criminalizing sex between same-sex adults:

    Laws against homosexual behavior should remain on the books…to be used when necessary to send a clear message that those who flagrantly violate society's regulation of sexual behavior cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens.

    "Card has also advocated overthrowing the government if same-sex marriage is permitted:

    How long before married people answer the dictators thus: Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn.

    Biological imperatives trump laws. American government cannot fight against marriage and hope to endure. If the Constitution is defined in such a way as to destroy the privileged position of marriage, it is that insane Constitution, not marriage, that will die.

    "It is one thing for a science fiction writer to have such views, but it's something much different for a national organization like the NOM to endorse those views by giving Card such a prominent position on its board. We call on the NOM to categorically reject Card's radical statements."
    http://www.pfaw.org/press-releases/2009/04/nom-bo

  • 19. yelocab  |  October 20, 2010 at 9:20 am

    The suicide rate for Jews in Germany in the early 1940s went up. But it wasn't the Nazi's fault, right?

    I would really like to know her logic regarding "Forced sex, childhood sexual abuse, dating violence, early unwed pregnancy, substance abuse— could these be a more important factor in the increased suicide risk…", because those are not gay-specific things, are they? Straight kids experience these things too. So what's the difference? Gay kids also have the added societal pressure that they are defective, not worth being alive, freaks, etc.

  • 20. Bob Barnes  |  October 20, 2010 at 9:21 am

    This is while on Maggie's watch, BTW.

  • 21. Straight Ally #3008  |  October 20, 2010 at 9:22 am

    Rob,

    Any idea what the sources are for any of Gallagher's statistics?

  • 22. robtish  |  October 20, 2010 at 9:34 am

    I wasn't able to track down every stat (the one about the 13-year-olds still eludes me).

    I was able to find "Fact Sheets" from the Mass state government, but I can't locate the full reports. Here's the Fact Sheet for 2009:
    http://www.mass.gov/cgly/YRBS09Factsheet.pdf

  • 23. Jim  |  October 20, 2010 at 9:39 am

    Ninth Circuit granted emergency stay. So we lost that round.

    http://metroweekly.com/poliglot/

  • 24. Kathleen  |  October 20, 2010 at 9:40 am

    This is a temporary stay to give the Court more time to consider the stay pending appeal. LCR has until Monday, Oct 25 to file their opposition to the stay pending appeal. http://www.scribd.com/doc/39778102

  • 25. Shawn P.  |  October 20, 2010 at 9:42 am

    Everything that these people say should first be greeted with the remark, "If true." Until she provides the source for her information, no one should accept the truth of what she is reporting — much less the inferences she draws from it.

  • 26. Mouse  |  October 20, 2010 at 9:55 am

    Ender's Game was one of my favorite books. Sure, Card got creepy religious in later books, but I didn't realize that he was quite such a hateful false-Christian. Very disappointing.

    Card, you have written religious themes into your work in ways that are beautiful. Why are you now listening to the serpent and preaching the opposite of Jesus' love? For a man who writes genius characters so well, I never expected you to be that stupid and naive.

    You want to be a real Christian? Follow Christ's one simple commandment, rephrased for modern simplistic minds: Don't be a douchebag.

    Advocating for the removal of rights from a class of people: douchebaggery.
    Wanting to have your cake and not let anyone else have their own cake: douchebaggery.
    Bullying: douchebaggery.
    Disrespecting the lives of teens who committed suicide due to the abuse they faced that your douchebaggery contributed to: Major douchebaggery.

  • 27. Ray in MA  |  October 20, 2010 at 10:12 am

    Get your barf buckets ready for this one:

    From AFA, another 'blame deflection'…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQIju7vcwq0&fe

    (even I couldn't watch the whole disgrace)

  • 28. Sagesse  |  October 20, 2010 at 10:26 am

    I've only skimmed, but an excellent takedown, Rob.

    Is it my imagination, or has NOM failed to comment on Plaintiffs' brief to the 9th circuit?

  • 29. Linda  |  October 20, 2010 at 10:39 am

    Exactly. I don't trust any of her numbers as she reports them. They're out of context and quoted in isolation.

    Her arguments remind me of a child who's been caught being naughty. She points a finger and says, "But that's bad, too!"

    Well, maybe so; but that doesn't make what she did right. Her actions are still wrong; her words are still condemming.

  • 30. Straight Ally #3008  |  October 20, 2010 at 10:56 am

    Got it, thanks. I'm somewhat less than confident in NOM's scholarship….

  • 31. Rhie  |  October 20, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Reading…

  • 32. CaliGirl  |  October 20, 2010 at 11:52 am

    Or have you been too busy lately washing that mysterious red stuff off your hands?

    Out, damn'd spot! Out, I say!

  • 33. Elizabeth Oakes  |  October 20, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    I imagine it's like Joseph McCarthy, who also built a career on persecuting people and taking away their American rights.

  • 34. MJFargo  |  October 20, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    Sorry. I'm crazy busy today, but wanted to include the link to the report, I believe, Gallagher cited. I too am suspicious any time this crowd quotes statistics. I'll have more time tomorrow, but if anyone wants to beat me to it, here's the link:
    http://www.akconsultingservices.com/akjoomla/inde

    And we can all state-the-obvious which this report included:
    http://www.sprc.org/library/SPRC_LGBT_Youth.pdf

    "Risk factors include mental disorders, a lack of social support, a sense of isolation, stigma associated with seeking help, loss of a relationship, and access to firearms and other lethal means, along with many other factors. Protective factors, such as access to effective care, restricted access to lethal means, community support, coping skills, and strong family connections, make it less likely that individuals will consider or attempt suicide…"

    I would be among the people calling out NOM in their contribution to the creating a "sense of isolation, stigma associated with seeking help" and particularly working against "community support…and strong family connections."

    Later…

  • 35. Tomato  |  October 20, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    She's not only trying to wash off her "scarlet letter," she's also trying to wash away the fact that she is Mrs. Raman Srivastava: not wearing a wedding ring, not talking about him, not taking his name, and not acknowledging she is married to a Hindu man, yet refused to accept his gods as her gods as the bible commands.

    Hypocrite. Child-killer.

  • 36. Tomato  |  October 20, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    She is the vilest level of hypocrite. Since she is willing to flaunt all the "rules" for married women that are in the Bible, it is clear that she doesn't believe in God, nor does she believe that Jesus is her Lord and Savior.

    Hypocrite. Child-killer.

  • 37. Tomato  |  October 20, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    Get a hold of the nearest UCC, MCC, and UU churches; ask them to come out "Standing on the Side of Love." http://www.standingonthesideoflove.org

  • 38. Tomato  |  October 20, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    She doesn't believe any of the religious principles she spouts, so it's no skin off her teeth to perpetuate inhumane bullshit. She clearly doesn't believe in God nor in Jesus Christ.

  • 39. Karen  |  October 20, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    When will someone counter the, "7 million Californians voted… blah, blah, blah" with. There were over 6 million who voted to defeat Prop 8. Everytime the 7 million figure goes up alone it appears that everyone was in favor of Prop 8 and we continue to fight that misperception.

  • 40. Karen  |  October 20, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    Of course if you represent both sides. :)

  • 41. Tomato  |  October 20, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    She is "lying for the Lord." Since she doesn't actually believe in God nor in Our Lord Jesus Christ, it doesn't bother her one bit to be dishonest.

  • 42. Bob  |  October 20, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Tomato, great idea, love the link

  • 43. JonT  |  October 20, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    Yay! I'm now a member of the 'deviancy cabal'! Where's my membership card?

    These guys are just very sick and ignorant individuals.

    Fortunately the comments seems to agree on the assHoly-ness of this particular douchebag.

  • 44. Darrel  |  October 20, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    I have sat back and read this blog for a long time now. I have read many things about this woman and have stayed silent. Until now.

    When I was a teenager the thought of saying the words "I am gay." made me sick from anxiousness to the point that I thought I had to end my life. People like Maggie who I knew had outspoken opinions about gay people wich made me believe I was worth less than the average person. That I was worthless. Sure I never heard downright hate speech but the words I did hear told me that because I am gay that I would never be happy. That I didn't deserve to happy. The very things that define happiness (example – a family, marriage, a white picket fence) would never be in my future. Because I am gay I would never be allowed to have those things. Hearing such things can only do damaging things to ones mind.

    After I attempted to bring out my own death and was thankfully stopped by my loving Mother I began to understand that people like Maggie just simply can't know what it is like to be thought of as a second class citizen. She can't understand how horrible is to come to the realization that just because you love differently than someone else you will face oposition when you want to have the "all american dream".

    I could care less about the statistics Maggie dug up. She has a loud and hurtful voice that children hear. So yes Maggie if even indirectly you DO have blood on your hands.

  • 45. Tim  |  October 20, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    Maggie's use of statistics is a classic case of ignorance (or intentional misuse) of the scientific process. Even assuming the stats concerning the suicide rates of LGBT vs straight teens are correct, there are numerous independent variables which cannot be controlled, which in turn makes her conclusions about those statistics invalid in their entirety.

    In other words, she says that LGBT youth in MA are four times more likely to commit suicide, in Massachusetts where gay marriage is legal, therefore, obviously gay marriage isn't helping the suicide problem of gay youth. The reason that her reasoning is invalid is because she assumes that Massachusetts is some sort of isolated alternate reality where the gay kids: A) are no longer ever exposed to any anti-gay sentiment; B) never watch TV news about anti-gay protests, crimes, NOM-hate-speech, etc; C) never login to the Internet; D) never go out in public, etc etc etc. It's like she's claiming that since MA has gay marriage, everyone in the entire state is suddenly no longer homophobic!

    Sorry Maggie, but Massachusetts is not a simple petri dish where there's only one independent variable (gay marriage) affecting people/events/attitudes/emotions. Please go back to your 7th grade science and math books (assuming you made it that far in school) and review the scientific method before you attempt to wield science and math in your perverted quest to shape the world in your image.

  • 46. Alan E.  |  October 21, 2010 at 12:10 am

    Darrel, you're good enough, you're smart enough, and doggonit, people like you!

    Thanks for speaking your mind, and many of us know exactly how you feel/felt.

  • 47. Ronnie  |  October 21, 2010 at 12:28 am

    That was awesome….very well said Tim….I have said it time & again that the anti-gay fundies clearly do know what century they are living in let alone that their fantasy world delusions are not reality….I think they are the ones that are living in a petri dish & grasping at what ever they can get their hands on to block the microscope of truth from zeroing in on their lies, blatant misuse of information, ignorance & bigotry…..<3…Ronnie

  • 48. Wade@MacMorrighan.Ne  |  October 21, 2010 at 2:19 am

    Personally, I am SHOCKED that the media hasn't gone after Maggie for her demonstrable mendacity! I have caught her in actual LIES on CNN more than once: while debating with a guty named Toby, Gallagher declared that ":Civil Unions" were okay–trying to pander a softer and less extreme image to the public–but not only does her writings speak to the contrary, but she's also declared that sub-second class Domestic partnerships and Civil Unions "erode the status" of marriage, and Toby also pointed out that NOM was currently (at the time of the debate) launching an anti-gay campaign against Washington's "Everything by marriage" Civil Unions law! But, you don't what Maggie did? She called Tony a liar and claimed that wasn't true at all…

    More recently, at the end of a debate with Evan Wolfson, Evan commented that Gallagher doesn't really care about the "rights of the people" to vote on defining marriage (their new so-called "Civil Rights" movement, which is terrifying!), otherwise they wouldn't be endorsing a Fed. Marriage Amendment that would strip citizens from being able to vote by taking that out of their hands! In fact, the vers. of a FMA that Gallagher endorses is written inn such a way that it would not only prevent courts from being able to protect their Gay citizens and uphold their Equal protections clause, but that it might even nullify any Marriage Equality laws throughout the country in every state either by the Judiciary or the Legislative branches! Gallagher immediately piped up claiming that Evan was putting words in her mouth, and that she doesn't actually believe nor endorse that, when she DOES!!!

    I, for one, would LOVE to put together a documentary documenting Gallagher's demonstrable LIES, and call it, "The Big Lie"!

    Take Care,
    Wade

  • 49. MJFargo  |  October 21, 2010 at 2:21 am

    It’s Ms. Gallagher’s profound, singular focus that the world—certainly her world—revolves around the issue of “gay marriage.” Her inability to see that her strident and shrill remarks inflame a larger issue of prejudice against LGB&T people, whose lives, like hers, are full of the complications of identity and struggles that are universal through puberty. Growing-up is always treacherous in our culture, but if you’re just slightly different risk factors are compounded.

    Below, I pulled out a few comments from a report by Suicide Prevention Resource Center Education Development Center, Inc., in Newton, Massachusetts that—unlike Ms. Gallagher—has come up with an understanding of why the statistics Ms. Gallagher quotes are so striking. I understand why Ms. Gallagher chooses to avoid mentioning that people have responded to those statistics rather than suggesting “These kids .. should not become a mere rhetorical strategy, a plaything in our adult battles.” Because the conclusions of the SPRC all but names Ms. Gallagher as the reasons “these kids” have the problems they do.

    From SPRC finds and recommendations: http://www.sprc.org/library/SPRC_LGBT_Youth.pdf

    ”It would be difficult to overstate the impact of stigma and discrimination against LGBT individuals in the United States. Stigma and discrimination are directly tied to risk factors for suicide. For example, discrimination has a strong association with mental illness, and heterosexism may lead to isolation, family rejection, and lack of access to culturally competent care.”
    ..
    “This [creating a safer environment for LGB&T youth] is accomplished not only by having knowledgeable and culturally effective staff, but by having an environment – including the setting, polices, and board – that supports safety and inclusion comprehensively.”

    One recommendation:
    “Institute, enforce, and keep up to date non-discrimination and non-harassment policies for all youth”
    ..
    “In the United States prejudice and discrimination against LGB people are widespread among individuals, and in fact, supported by many religious, social, and government institutions. Homophobia and heterosexism are terms that refer to prejudice against LGB people and reflect prevalent social attitudes that most people have internalized (McDaniel et al., 2001).”
    ..
    “…the legal system continues to reinforce stigma through discriminatory laws and the absence of laws protecting sexual minorities from discrimination in employment, housing, and services. A minority of states had antidiscrimination laws as of 2005, and most of these only referred to employment and not to housing or services. Most religious denominations continue to condemn homosexuality as sinful and provide a rationale for marginalizing LGB people.”

  • 50. Nicholas  |  October 21, 2010 at 2:35 am

    Good afternoon everyone! I am one of those lurking readers of this site since its inception who has never contributed to the conversation. And yet I feel you are some of my closest friends. I am a 65 year old gay man who has lived his entire life lurking in the shadows of shame and unworthiness. You are all a MAJOR source of strength and joy in the quest for equality in this world. Quite frankly I thought I would NEVER see this day come.

    I am a devout Orthodox Christian and am appalled at the activities of NOM , Focus on the Family , etc.

    Now we face yet another gay teen suicide!!!!!

    This is a quote from the Bible that NOM et al seem to have missed in their devotions:

    Matthew 7:12-23 (This is Christ Himself speaking!) "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clohing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. YOU WILL KNOW THEM BY THEIR FRUITS. (emphasis mine.) Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. THEREFORE BY THEIR FRUITS YOU WILL KNOW THEM! (emphasis mine.) Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? And then I will declare to them, I NEVER NEW YOU; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS! " (again emphasis mine.)

    In my mind – what is the "will of the Father?"

    Matthew 22:35-40 "Then one of them (a Pharisee), a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said to him, YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND. This is the first and great commandment. AND THE SECOND IS LIKE IT: YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF. (In other words the second is of the same importance and the first!!!!) ON THESE TWO DOMMANDMENTS HANG ALL THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS."
    According to this – THERE IS NOTHING MORE IMPORTANT IN ALL OF SCRIPTURE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    So much is done in the name of Christ and His Church. In reality they are simply using the faith as a shield to hide their outrageous hatred. The fruit of their labor is the oppression of thousands with the suicide of vulnerable young people as it crowning glory!

    My prayer is that TRUTH and JUSTICE will prevail. That NOM et al will come to understand that while their motives may seen noble to them, the actual fruits of their labors are the alienation of thousands from the TRUE faith and the distruction of the lives of so many people both young and old. That they have NO RIGHT to vote on the civil liberties of anyone else. And that if they truly wish to be Christians, it is their DUTY to not only "do unto others as you would have them do unto you", but to "LOVE YOU NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF"!!!

    I love you all more than you could possibly now. Perhaps someday we can all sit down at a lovely table in a French olive grove and enjoy some fresh-baked cookies and a good hot cup of Pam's House Blend.

    Nicholas

  • 51. Wade@MacMorrighan.Ne  |  October 21, 2010 at 2:35 am

    A great response to Gallagher's Op-Ed piece of shite! Though, by the end, you'll notice how Gallagher attempted to shift the blame from herself to the Gay community for the recent suicides that we were manipulating to get the public on our side and opposed to NOM!

  • 52. Nicholas Orser  |  October 21, 2010 at 2:48 am

    I love you all more than you could possibly Know. Sorry I couldn't find the undo button!

  • 53. fiona64  |  October 21, 2010 at 3:55 am

    Dear Nicholas:

    Hello and welcome. Here are some cookies and MILK for you, with love from a straight ally.

    Fiona

  • 54. Ann S.  |  October 21, 2010 at 4:42 am

    Nicholas,

    Welcome and thanks for posting!

    Love,
    Ann

  • 55. Wade@MacMorrighan.Ne  |  October 21, 2010 at 4:59 am

    Maggie's poor "scholarship" couldn't 8possibly* have *anything* to do with the demonstrable FACTS that she misrepresents her source citations and ignores data that disproves her thesis. could it? ;oP This is, after all, why an ivy league University press refused to publish her book on marriage! It's my contention that Mags was hoping to be able to posit herself in the public realm as a "Marriage scholar"! LOL!

  • 56. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  October 21, 2010 at 5:31 am

    Hi from Salt Lake City Nicholas!

    "So much is done in the name of Christ and His Church. In reality they are simply using the faith as a shield to hide their outrageous hatred."

    AMEN!

  • 57. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  October 21, 2010 at 5:37 am

    this might be a duplicate…posted in the "awaiting moderation" purgatory…..

    We have FIERCE Mormon Mommies, here is one:

    I would like to comment on Suzanne Palmer's letter in the paper last Wednesday. She wrote about the LDS's stance on homosexuality. Referring to the spate of recent suicides by gay youth, she wrote and I quote her, "Maybe guilt from their action (sic. being gay) is the cause…but if these people that commit suicide think that their actions are good and right then why do they want to kill themselves?"
    Excuse me? These children were MADE to feel bad about themselves. They were tortured and teased unmercifully at school. They weren't born dirty. Their religion told them they were. People are born gay. It is NOT a choice. The LDS' stance on this is acceptance but celibacy. My daughter is gay and I would never wish a life of solitude on her, no one to love her, no one to tell her stories to, no one to take care of her when she gets old. Who would wish that on someone they love? My Mommy Genes, as I call them, trump any religious dogma. But I was raised Protestant and am now Jewish, and was taught to think for myself.
    This past weekend the SLC Pride Center put on a conference on the Family Acceptance Project. World class, well-respected researchers presented their findings that gay youth have a much lower rate of suicide if their families and communities just tolerate them.
    Rather than rant and rave, I would like to refer any young person or parent who would like accurate information on homosexuality or youth suicide to the following websites:
    www dot pflag org a national support group called Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays
    www dot utahpridecenter org, the GLBT Center in Salt Lake
    http://familyproject dot sfsu dot edu/home
    There is also an LDS group called Family Fellowship, a group of Mormons who have learned how to love and respect both their church and their gay family members.
    Beano Solomon

  • 58. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  October 21, 2010 at 5:43 am

    oops…I said "Mormon Mommies" Beano is Jewish but helps all kids/parents regardless of their religion. I really admire the Parents who love their kid and back them up no matter what. Here message is especially pertinent to Mormon youth who have a higher suicide rate than most religions.

  • 59. H.(Bart) Vincelette  |  October 21, 2010 at 7:18 am

    Maggie G. does indeed have blood on her hands, along with all adherents to right wing opposition to anything homosexual. I'd like to remind or inform; as the case may be; that the guilt of the religious right goes far beyond the recent & tragic suicides. Many of you may be too young to recall the early years of the AIDS epidemic. I'll hope you have a basic understanding of the pathology involved. Please keep in mind the fact that so much was unknown about the complexities of virology & immunology.There was no such drug as an anti-viral. We had antibiotics for most bacterial infections, but with the average virus being 1/100th the size of the average bacterium, & able to mutate before your eyes; there was nothing. You died.Period. For additional reasons that would fill a library, it would take the resources of the western world to develop the essential multi-pronged interference with viral replication , & start assuring some degree of survival. This meant, of course, billions in research dollars from the US federal government. But it took much longer than it should have due to the actions of the religious right under the umbrella of the Moral Majority & the late Jerry Falwell, et al. The fiercely & successfully opposed the use of any public funds for HIV research. The subsequent delay in the development of effective treatment options denied thousands even a fighting chance at survival. Through the years , I have buried fifty-seven good friends. Amazingly, I tested HIV + at the same time as my friends & peer group, …..at the beginning of it all. However, to the chagrin of the faith based; a very small number of us didn't take sick until such time as we had medications available..Some may never take sick. And the only reason the experts can come up with still; is "as yet not clearly understood genetic factors". Anyway, thanks for reading this if you did. My message length is second only in mortal sin to that of really long emails….Mea culpa,mea culpa,mea maxima culpa.

  • 60. H.(Bart) Vincelette  |  October 21, 2010 at 7:25 am

    An addendum: the number of deaths due to HIV/AIDS means quantities of blood dripping from hate driven hands in amounts that could turn Macbeth into a series.
    As you have no doubt gathered, I have a mouth on me. I am convinced of two oft overlooked facts. First of all., I do not for a second; believe that opposition to same-sex marriage has anything to do with nuptials, but has always been the result of the irrational opposition to our very existence.
    Secondly, I'm a man of science & have no qualms about stating that my friends died of three causes; each of them. Th principle causes of death were right wing political thinking & extremist religion. The opportunistic cancers & infections of AIDS were merely contributing factors.

  • 61. Alan E.  |  October 21, 2010 at 7:29 am

    Thanks for the reminder. I was only a little kid during the height of the epidemic, so I was naive to the effects and deaths, but I was not deaf. I heard the messaging. My dad used to listen to Rush Limbaugh (doesn't anymore) and I heard plenty from that one man alone.

  • 62. Alan E.  |  October 21, 2010 at 7:33 am

    I would also encourage you to contact the GLBT Historical Society. Much of gay history has been lost due to the AIDS epidemic, and it takes every scrap of available history to rebuild it. They are in the process of opening a LGBT History Museum in the Castro, and they plan on rotating exhibits throughout the year.
    http://www.glbthistory.org/

  • 63. Sagesse  |  October 21, 2010 at 10:00 am

    325,000 died of HIV/Aids in the US in the period before a successful treatment was developed. That's basically a whole generation. Think what the history of the last 30 years in LGBT rights might have been if they had survived.

  • 64. Bob  |  October 21, 2010 at 10:01 am

    hear hear, I too am one of that group , and after watching all my friends die, starting new circle of friends, I'd be very interested in any info you could direct me to re the genetic factors,

    After twenty five years of treatment, I've decided to stop the cycle of treatment, blood testing, mainly because it had too much influence on me from side effects of the meds, and psychological affects of letting others be in crontrol. I am living comfortably and free, how long this will last is anyone's guess,

    But I can attest to your statement re the impact from religious right, and refusal to fund treatments, they actually taught that it was god's revenge on the gayz, and should be allowed to take it's natural course and wipe us off the face of the earth, really, people believed that, I sat with my friends as they died and reassured them it was a lie, and god did indeed love them……

    I think science has triumphed in the face of ignorance, my gosh it's just this year the U.S. lifted it's travel ban for those HIV + one of the last counties to do so.

    take that Falwell and Bryant, but that truth of science tumping religious ignorance, seems to have no effect on NOM. go figure.

  • 65. JonT  |  October 21, 2010 at 10:19 am

    What Alan said Darrel.

    :)

  • 66. JonT  |  October 21, 2010 at 10:21 am

    Well, Wade their whole schtick is nothing but lies and deception. Demonstrably so,

    That's why I know we will win in the end. As history has constantly shown, lies only work in the short term, they never survive the long term.

  • 67. JonT  |  October 21, 2010 at 10:23 am

    Sciency and Facty stuff.

    They will not accept that. But thank you for trying :)

  • 68. JonT  |  October 21, 2010 at 10:28 am

    Thanks Nicholas, I've not been much of a bible guy myself, but your quote: 'Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clohing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. YOU WILL KNOW THEM BY THEIR FRUITS.'

    … could not be more apropos to people like Maggie, Fischer and other the other haters out there. We are certainly seeing the fruits of their labors aren't we.

    Thanks!

  • 69. JonT  |  October 21, 2010 at 10:30 am

    Yeah, its not often these people accept responsibility for anything is it?

    Maggie et. al. : Dance all you you want, you do have their blood on your hands.

  • 70. JonT  |  October 21, 2010 at 10:43 am

    After twenty five years of treatment, I’ve decided to stop the cycle of treatment, blood testing,…

    If you are HIV positive, isn't that basically an eventual death sentence?

    '…they actually taught that it was god’s revenge on the gayz, and should be allowed to take it’s natural course and wipe us off the face of the earth,'

    Hell, they still teach that Bob. In a conversation with guy I used to work with, whom I'll call 'jeffe' – I mentioned the huge number of HIV cases in africa, some 20+ million.

    Jeffe, being a 'christianist' basically stated: 'well, if you ask me, they get what they deserve.' No understanding that these were all gay people — no compassion at all. Basically from what I gathered, his 'god' didn't give a fuck, and therefore, neither did he.

    This was only about 4-5 years ago. Trust me, there are still people who think along these lines.

  • 71. Bob  |  October 21, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    @JonT, "isn't that basically an eventual death sentence"

    depends on how you look at it, I was handed the death sentence in the 80's when i was diagnosed, life expectancy at that time was two yrs. basically I prepared to die, and then got so busy helping all my friends, I have a strong feeling that if I had refused treatment back then I would have remained healthier much longer. no one knew, I started treatments much earlier (according to blood work markers) than they do today, everyone did back then it was standard treatment, and the only one at first was AZT which was quite toxic,

    I have just been on the cusp of all the new breakthroughs, the first hudge one in 1996, when they developed protease inhibitors, and ever since I have been on many new study drugs, as a guinea pig, you get the option to have drugs that haven't passed all the trial phases, it's called compassionate basis, cause they have no other options , and your going to die without trying, so I've done that a few times which also worked out in my favour, and got me through this long. Science is amazing, although it'svery expensive, there needs to be commitment first in terms of gov't funding, then the people doing the research, and right through to the Dr.s and nurses who work with the patients, I got to sense this hudge support system, that defies all the odds, including the wrath of god, of course at the bottom is the platient, and all my friends who where also guinea pigs before me, that's what gives you the strength to do it for the next one,

    do you know that HIV is no longer a death sentence, for those newly diagnosed, but a chronic illness, that can be treated and people
    now can expect to live full lives if they have the right care. that kind of success comes from scientists using the brains , god gave them for the purpose of doing good, and solving problems. NOM does not have the experience of aligning the forces of god with science, and have so far refused to accept the success of this approach.

    But because of all this experience and knowing my dr.s it's at a point where I get to choose what happens next, and that choice for me was quality of life over quantity, so Two yrs ago in Dec. I moved to the island, and decided to stop treatments, my dr.s support me, and he told me I would probably be fine for two yrs, so that's my second two yr life sentence, but I'm much freer this time , and no unwanted side effects. so my quality of life is enhanced, but for how long, who knows.

    But my satisfaction now comes from knowing I was right when I told my dying friends that God loved them and Bryant and her ilk were lying, I know that, as a fact. science proved it,

  • 72. Sapphocrat  |  October 21, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    Just skimming the replies, because I'm crying too hard to read all, so I apologize if anyone has already hit this:

    Another one of our sons/brothers did it:
    http://tinyurl.com/34flgeg

    Terrel Williams, 17 — and his suicide note, and his boyfriend's words, and his mother's words, leave no doubt.

    Look into the eyes of these young men:
    http://bit.ly/avkLaK

    How do we stop this? How?

  • 73. JonT  |  October 21, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    'Another one of our sons/brothers did it: '

    Yes, we know. http://thepriceofhate.blogspot.com/

    'How do we stop this? How?'

    I wish I fucking knew. Make the haters *own it*? They do, whether they like it or not.

    Enjoy the results of your work NOM, and your hater allies.

  • 74. Joe  |  October 22, 2010 at 6:56 am

    Civil Unions for everyone! It's the only answer!

  • 75. Ronnie  |  October 22, 2010 at 7:08 am

    No it's not…I want a marriage…call it Civil Marriage..fine…as long as i'm not denied my freedom of speech & expression to call it marriage both verbally & on paper….<3…Ronnie

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