Yesterday was National Coming Out Day - a day devoted to supporting the members of the LGBT community who are our family, friends, and loved ones. It's an especially good time to affirm that support, given the fact that there have been several recent incidents of teenage suicide related to the broad discrimination and bigotry that gay teens face on a daily basis. Naturally, the Washington Post thought that the occasion called for an editorial from anti-gay bigot Tony Perkins, lest there be one day in which support for the LGBT community go without someone decrying them, for "balance."
The good news is that Perkins does come out against the practice of literally hounding gay teens to take their own life, so if you had imagined he might fail to clear the bar that is, in fact, laying on the ground, worry no more! But really, what's terrible is that organizations dedicated to people not being hounded to suicide because of their sexual orientation seem to want to advocate against the practice, as well:
However, homosexual activist groups like GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) are exploiting these tragedies to push their agenda of demanding not only tolerance of homosexual individuals, but active affirmation of homosexual conduct and their efforts to redefine the family.
Yes, how dare GLSEN speak out against the people who are driving teens to suicide. Why can't they learn to sit back, passively, and accept that teenage suicide is just part of being gay?
There is an abundance of evidence that homosexuals experience higher rates of mental health problems in general, including depression. However, there is no empirical evidence to link this with society's general disapproval of homosexual conduct. In fact, evidence from the Netherlands would seem to suggest the opposite, because even in that most "gay-friendly" country on earth, research has shown homosexuals to have much higher mental health problems.
Within the homosexual population, such mental health problems are higher among those who "come out of the closet" at an earlier age. Yet GLSEN's approach is to encourage teens to "come out" when younger and younger--thus likely exacerbating the very problem they claim they want to solve.
Right away, you're probably wondering why the very obvious causal link is going unmentioned (it's because Perkins is an anti-gay bigot, remember?):
While Perkins is right, "Several studies suggest that gay men, lesbians and bisexuals appear to have higher rates of some mental disorders compared with heterosexuals," he's totally wrong that these rates have nothing to do with discrimination. In fact, the article immediately goes on to report that "[d]iscrimination may help fuel these higher rates." The article reported: "In a study that examines possible root causes of mental disorders in LGB people, [Susan] Cochran [PhD] and psychologist Vickie M. Mays, PhD, of the University of California, Los Angeles, explored whether ongoing discrimination fuels anxiety, depression and other stress-related mental health problems among LGB people. The authors found strong evidence of a relationship between the two." Several other studies back up this finding.
The truly galling thing, of course, is that Perkins is happy to share this opinion on any day of the year, but the WaPo thought that this would be a good thing to run on a day specifically given over to the support of the LGBT community. But then, 2010 has been a banner year for anti-gay sentiment at the paper. When the National Organization for Marriage took on Washington, DC's support for marriage equality, the Washington Post was happy to endorse their chosen emissary, Delano Hunter, in the Ward 5 council race against incumbent Harry Thomas. In a remarkably naive take on the matter, the Post's editors averred:
Mr. Hunter is not a supporter of marriage equality, but he is not the homophobe his critics make him out to be, but rather someone who thinks there is a way to provide equality for gays while respecting the beliefs of religious groups. He said he would not seek to change the law.
Oh, sure he wouldn't! NOM apparently felt very differently. You would think that the Post wouldn't be so easily snowed, but then again, this was the paper that penned a glowing profile of the organization's executive director -- a man who heads a pressure group dedicated to constructing byzantine theories about how the private lives and the desire for equality of the LGBT community is actually a form of tyranny -- "ruthlessly sane."
Maybe homophobes are the only people subscribing to newspapers or something?