LGBT-b634a01646319ff9e9128628fa59bc985523f43d

This post is brought to you by the FairMormon Blog. View the original post here.

Every individual lost to suicide is a tragedy, and there should be no room for excluding or ostracizing anyone because of their sexual orientation, including and especially within families. As of 2015, Utah ranks 6th in the nation in suicides of people ages 10 to 24 (at a rate of 16.66 per 100,000), so clearly there is a problem in our state that needs to be addressed. (Full data here in Excel format.)

And yet I’m concerned about statements that continue to push the unproven claim that gay youth commit suicide in Utah at rates higher than other states because of Utah’s religious culture. To the best of my knowledge, there is no data on the reasons for suicides, so claiming that there’s something unique about gay youth in Utah is an assertion without evidence.

If it’s true that Mormonism is driving youth suicides in Utah, then we should see a similar suicide rate among youth in other states dominated by religions that are similarly opposed to gay identity, gay lifestyle, and gay marriage. But we don’t: The suicide rates for ages 10 to 24 in Georgia (9.18, #33), South Carolina (9.91, #29), West Virginia (8.88, #37), Alabama (9.56, #32), and all other Southern states as well, are all lower than Utah’s rate. Religious acceptance of homosexuality is at least as low in those states as it is in Utah; why the dramatic difference in youth suicide?

And the reverse must also be true: States with broad acceptance of gay identity, gay lifestyle, and gay marriage must have lower rates of teenage/young adult suicides than Utah; right? Then why does fairly liberal Colorado (16.69, #5) rank just barely ahead of Utah? And why does South Dakota (25.22, #2) differ so much from North Dakota (7.81, #42), when the two states have nearly identical cultures? And why has Utah seen teen/young adult suicides increase by 66% between 2001 and 2015, but Oregon (+78%) and Washington state (+68%), where gays are supposedly warmly embraced, have had higher rates of increase in youth suicide in the same time period?

And, most telling of all, why has the national suicide rate for teens/young adults gone from 6.95 in 2001 to 9.15 in 2015 (an increase of 32%), when acceptance of the gay identity, gay lifestyle, and gay marriage have increased dramatically throughout the United States during the same period? Wouldn’t we expect to see a decrease in the nationwide suicide rate of youths, including gay youths?

The problem here is that suicide is complex, and rarely boils down to a single issue. The narrative that Utah culture and religion are a significant cause of teen suicides in the state isn’t backed up by the evidence, does a disservice to the people of the State of Utah, and does a disservice to people of faith.

Are you or someone you know struggling with thoughts of suicide? Call 800-273-8255 or text “HELP” to 741-741 to get help immediately.

The post Gay Youth Suicides in Utah appeared first on FairMormon.



Recently Posted

question-mark-1872665_960_720-03a4e8762178b5db0000e31bb446cbf944064788

Helping Doubters in the L.D.S. Church

  “…first doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.” – Dieter F. Uchtdorf  Most members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have a friend or a loved one ...

Luz-de-las-Naciones48-2018-2627188ab8f482c0f76f2cb82ecd3fad121ca7d2

Family History Enthusiasts to Gather in Utah for RootsTech 2018

SALT LAKE CITY | Saturday, 24 February 2018 | Thousands of family history enthusiasts will meet in Salt Lake City for the largest genealogy conference in the world. ...