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Ramon Johnson

Has suicide become the high cost of being gay?

By March 1, 2010

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Sadness, depression, loneliness. These are common feeling shared by those that attempt suicide and, frankly, not unfamiliar calls from many LGBT people. In fact, LGBT kids are up to 8 times more likely to report having attempted suicide. And, for every completed suicide by a young person, it is estimated that 100 to 200 attempts are made.

Last Friday, Marie Osmond's 18-year-old son Michael Blosil lost his battle. He left a suicide note for a female friend just before jumping from the eight floor of his apartment building. The note reportedly said he was very unhappy and that the woman was his only friend in LA. Blosil is the second public figure to commit suicide in the last month. On February 11th, famed designer Alexander McQueenwas found dead in his London apartment.

Far too many LGBT people continue to suffer in silence, sometimes without words to express their pains. Have we come to accept, if only to the smallest degree, sadness and loneliness as residuals of our gay lives? As if the payment for our openness is the uncertainty of our place in this world. The beauty of the new relationship we develop with ourselves can too easily be thwarted by the lack of closeness elsewhere. But the deal doesn't have to come at such high cost.

If you feel sad, lonely, depressed or are having thoughts of suicide, there's help available at Trevor Project, the Suicide Hotline (1-800-784-2433/ 1-800-273-8255) or Hopeline.

Although we do not offer counseling, the Gay Life forum is a safe space where many gay, bi, and questioning men and supporters have gone to talk through their struggles. Many have found affirmative ways to navigate through their lives.

Resources:
How To Help A Suicidal Friend
Comments
March 1, 2010 at 10:48 pm
(1) Dan says:

Michael Blosil was gay?

March 2, 2010 at 12:03 pm
(2) gaylife says:

@Dan: His sexuality hasn’t been confirmed. I made a correction in the post.

March 2, 2010 at 1:22 am
(3) Nick says:

I did not know he was gay either. I get what you are saying Ramon. We all have an aspect of this in our lives, at least in America. I wonder if gays feel different in places like Canada and Amsterdam. Hell, even Israel for that matter.

I know that I live alone and get real lonely sometimes. I’m a good-looking boi, but I have found relationships very difficult in this culture where our relationships are challenged, degraded and illegitimate in society. It put a whole lot of pressure on a relationship.

So for the moment, I stay alone. Not wanting to endure the heartache of another failed relationship and yet so lonely sometimes it is nearly unbearable.

And the Paxil keeps me from getting suicidal. Such is our lives.

March 2, 2010 at 12:10 pm
(4) gaylife says:

@Nick: The gay Twitter community was on fire yesterday when the news broke. I think the LGBT connection has more to do with Marie (icon) than her son’s sexuality. Feelings of loneliness within the lgbt community are universal. There’s so much pressure, as you said, to find and maintain relationships. We come to define ourselves and our worth by our ability to partner. Ironically, not unlike heterocentric models. And our sense of self-worth is often unfairly linked to our relationship status. We focus so much on coming out, that we’re often plagued by the “now what?” feelings that come after. We have to start nurturing ourselves, independent of relationship status. Our sexuality is a mere part of us. The rest of ourselves need equal attention and care.

March 3, 2010 at 2:50 pm
(5) Dave says:

I used to do volunteer work for the Samaritans. We were the 2nd busiest chapter in New England. We all felt like we were doing the right thing but in the background of our pride we also knew that the people who were really going to commit suicide were not calling a suicide hotline. Member of our community are masters at concealing since there is a high price often paid for being out. So when other issues surface we already know how to suffer in silence.

Coming from a religous right faith tradition the poor kid possibly thought he didn’t have a chance. Who knows.

March 3, 2010 at 2:54 pm
(6) Skid says:

Since when has suicide *not* been “the high cost of being gay” ??

I’ve only been out for a short time (since ’00), and the thought has crossed my mind on more than one occasion. I’m past these moments now, thankfully, but there *are* still moments of depression, based largely on the concept disucssed in #4: my bad times are absolutely related to my (non-) relationship status.

Regardless, it is difficult to read of a life cut short, no matter how it happens.

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