Thursday, September 10, 2009

Queer thoughts

Unsurprisingly, yet another team of researchers has found that gay people are more likely to seek treatment for mental health disorders. This is not exactly news (in that it's not new information) but it bears repeating for two reasons.

First, the plight of homosexuals with regards to mental health bears the double taboo of homosexuality and mental illness. Both of these topics tend to make people skiddish, particularly when speaking in public. But this issue needs to be discussed publicly, not least because LGBT people have higher rates of suicide and suicide attempts than the general population.

Secondly, the old mistake of equating correlation with causation plays into the hands of anti-gay activists. They consistently take these types of findings and twist them to make it seem as though being gay is inherently detrimental to one's mental well-being. This will likely also happen with this study, despite the authors' own statement that:
"The pervasive and historically rooted societal pathologizing of homosexuality may contribute to this propensity for treatment by construing homosexuality and issues associated with it as mental health problems."

The truth needs to be trumpeted, loud and clear.
Alvin McEwan does an excellent job of cataloging and dismantling these anti-gay attacks at his blog Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters.

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