Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Study About Suicidality of Gay Kids Hurts Feelings of Intolerant Parents

A study published in the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Pediatrics, has found "a clear link between specific parental and caregiver rejecting behaviors and negative health problems in young lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults." In other words, lesbian, gay, and bisexual children whose parents reject them are also more likely to experience negative health problems.

As with any social science study, this study has its limitations. For one, correlation does not imply causation. Other factors, such as bullying, harassment, and living in a homophobic society, could have very well accounted for some of these negative health outcomes too.

What is expected and unfortunate is that the ex-gay movement has been utterly dismissive of this academic study and has not expressed the least bit of concern for the potential harmful impact of rejection on lesbian, gay, and bisexual children. After having just watched the based-on-a-true-story Prayers For Bobby, and seeing the real human impact of parental rejection, I am saddened that the anti-gay agenda, for some, will always trump the well-being of gay kids.

Ironically, ex-gay group Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX) suggests that it is scientists who are out to impose their agenda on others through their research. For instance, PFOX claims that the study "involved" "homosexual activists" who were out to promote "gay affirmation." I'm not even sure what PFOX means by such a vague non-claim, but I'm pretty sure it's nothing more than a Weapon of Mass Projection-y way of saying We're not the ones who use flawed, biased research, it's teh homosexual activists who do!!11!!

For instance, Regina Griggs of PFOX claims:

"So what [they're] doing is [they're] telling young people and [they're] telling their parents, 'You must accept those feelings. Who cares where they come from? It's a gay lifestyle -- endorse it!' ....and [then] they threaten parents and frighten them by saying, 'If you don't, then your child may commit suicide.'"

In spite of the fact that this study gathered and analyzed real actual data on children's experiences with parental rejection, PFOX is claiming that the study is really some sort of homosexualist master plan to guilt and frighten parents into accepting their gay kids.

This blatant dismissal and utter lack of concern about the health and well-being of gay kids coming from PFOX is scary. Their response to this study is pretty much them doing the equivalent of closing their eyes, sticking their fingers in their ears, and screaming "we love kids we love kids we love kids" as loudly as they can as though we'll all just forget that a scientific study just found that their way of "dealing with" the gay problem implicates them in pretty harmful stuff. Furthermore, I think it's pathetic to waive off a legitimate, published study as being part of a homosexual conspiracy rather than to address possible methodological flaws with it. We all notice, after all, that PFOX doesn't actually say what's wrong with the study. I would have a little more respect for PFOX if it made legitimate gripes about its methodology rather than using the trusty ol' it was done by homosexual activists stand-by.

I'm sorry if this study's findings hurts PFOX's feelings or hurts the feelings of parents who reject their gay kids, but it's time to realize that not everything is about the "gay agenda" or the "ex-gay agenda." Sometimes, believe it or not, gay people and our allies really do just want what's best for kids. And sometimes, the evidence suggests that accepting them as they are is what's best for them.

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