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October, 1996

An Article written by David Dewey about Gay Teens Committing Suicide and I think it is EXCELLENT!!!!

Last time, I asked readers to write me their thoughts on the subject of teenagers committing suicide because they are gay. This was a subject I was not sure what type of responses and thoughts I would receive from people. Here is a sample of the hundreds that I received

Jill from Phoenix wrote, "I had a brother, who is no longer living. If only there had been someone there for him to talk to. My parents certainly were not."

Bob from Atlanta wrote,"A gay person, whether a teenager or an adult has a sickness of the spirit. It is the evil of this thing that leads them to kill themselves."

Marilyn wrote from Denver,"Being a teacher, we hear of a young person killing themselves because they could not cope with being gay, because of the social taboo that society has placed on it."

The above is a general consensus of what I received. However, the type of responses that showed some sort of compassion to try and help these young people out weighed the other responses such as Bob's. Personally folks, I was pleased to see that, and here is why.

Over the last two years, here has been a thirty percent increase in teenagers committing suicide because they are gay. Estimates are that possibly twenty five to fifty teenagers a day nationwide are committing suicide because of this. This in my opinion is one too many. And these are only rough estimates. There are probably hundreds more that we do not know about because the suicide and the reason why is kept hush hush by the parents. What I am about to share with you is based on fact.

Parents are also committing their teenage children to mental hospital facilities to be "cured" of being gay. One example is Lynn Doss from Utah. When she was thirteen, her parents had her committed to Ribbon Dale Mental Hospital in Utah. She remained there until she was eighteen until the ACLU intervened, brought a lawsuit against the facility that was still holding her against her wishes for she was a legal adult. The court system in Utah had approved a petition from the mother to have her daughter even at the age of eighteen, declared mentally incompetent because she was gay. Declaring her incompetent was their way to keep her in the mental hospital. During her stay there, Lynn was required to attend classes. The curriculum was to teach teenagers how to "hate" gays and the lifestyle it represented. Lynn by the way has written a book about her experiences and it will shortly be published.

There are hundreds of thousands of cases like this across the country according to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance and ACLU. Are we still living in the dark ages? If I remember correctly, the sexuality identity of being gay was taken out of the definition of being a mental illness sometime in 1980 by the psychiatric profession. How can people, and even court systems anywhere in this country allow this to occur. How can anyone be committed to a hospital because they are gay. I'm sorry, but this reminds me of nothing short of what Hitler did to the Jews. Persecution of a class of society because one part of society does not feel they are normal.

In numerous studies recently, they strongly show being gay is a genetic condition. It has nothing to do with not being raised without a father or mother. It does not mean that gays have demons in them. Simply, they are born that way. Studies with twins show a high percentage. Usually, when one twin is straight, the other is also. However, it also showed that when one twin was gay, the other one usually was also. What does this show? Does this not have something to do with the genes. I believe so. Researchers have found definite differences with the hypothalmus in the brain of gays. This is the gland in the brain which also produces hormones for sexual identity and desires.

There is a sickness in this country and it is not about being gay. It is this. The sickness is when parents, who are suppose be there for their children when needed are not there for them. Why is this? Is what the major religions are teaching about family values missing something? Something called unconditional love? Otherwise, these teenagers would not be killing themselves. Another sickness is religion. There is a difference in my opinion between religion and being spiritual. We can learn all the rituals of any particular religion, but does it truly teach us the one thing that Christ represented and taught? tried And one thing was unconditional love. I don't believe they teach this in the major religions. They never have. If they had, we would not have seen the racial injustice in this country. We would not even today, see the injustices that one particular group of society does to another. How many more possible Einstein's do we have to loose before we see this. How many more beautiful young lives have to lost because of narrow minded people?

Religion says that being gay is a sin. Is it a sin to love someone? A sin to be faithful to only one and love that person with all your heart. I don't believe so. If being gay is such a sin, then there sure are going to be allot of straight people going to the fire and pit (that certain religious groups teach and if it really does exist) because of the adultery they commit during their married. Is that sin any greater or less than being gay? The religious right needs to realize that they cannot and do not have the right to dictate how anyone should live. And especially what they should believe in or who their maker or creator is. This is a private matter between every individual. Religion has been the opium of the masses for the last two thousand years. It has been used to control the politics, economics and social structure of every nation on earth. A prime example is this. The political mess that continues to tear America apart is because religions have again divided the masses on issues. They use the masses as their religious/political warriors. The abortion issue is another example. Different religious groups have crossed into the arena of politics, trying to make this a state of law issue. It is simply the religious rights attempt to control the masses once again.

By expressing my thoughts about these issues, many will think that I am not a Christian. The bottom line is I am a Christian. Christ has taught me to love my fellow human being, period. Stop and think about it. If man truly loved one another and treated each other like they themselves would like to be treated, would we need religion or any other man made laws to dictate how we should live our lives? I don't believe. Man would then have fullfilled his purpose for creation. The beauty of loving others because they are also part of Gods' creation.

Across the nation, teenagers are the largest segment catching more venereal diseases and AIDS. It is estimated that unless something is done immediately within the next three to five years, approximately forty five percent of the teenage group will have contracted some sort of venereal disease. Twenty percent will have AIDS. This must change. School boards must allow sex education to teach birth control measures. Teenagers need to learn about AIDS. The attitude that sex is not talked about must change. We are not living in the 15th century of religious persecution, or are we? The religious right needs to understand that they can't keep teenagers from exploring their sexual identity with others. And it has nothing to do with being straight or gay. Teenagers have been exploring their sexuality with one another for thousands of years and will continue to do so. Parents should remember their teenage years and what they did when it came to sex. That would answer that argument if they did.

Maxine from San Jose wrote, "I was such a staunch religious person, that the subject of being gay made me sick, One day I discovered that not only my best friend was a lesbian, but my brother was gay also. My best friend is a professor at a college who has inspired thousands of young minds, and my brother is a doctor who saves lives. I suddenly realized because God touched my heart that I could no longer hate or despise these people, they were children of God also. I also realized that I could not judge them either. Most importantly, I realized that God has a purpose for them also, otherwise they would not be here on earth and that all I needed to do was to love them."

There is a segment of America that needs to walk out of the dark ages. Gays and lesbians are not sick people. They are in every aspect of our society and are productive human beings. Many are teaching children. When I hear someone that is from the religious right say that gays and lesbians are child molesters I read them the riot act. In documented legal cases of child molesters across the country, ninety seven percent of all child molestation cases are committed against children by "straight" people.

It is sad that in this country we still have people hating one another. They hate because of their color, sexual identity and many other things. What bothers and concerns me the most is that teenagers are being left out in the cold. They have no one to talk to or feel they can talk to. If you know of a teenager that is looking at suicide for any reason, please, I implore you to guide that teenager to a counseling line in your area or this toll-free number, 1-800-953-6745. This is a 24 hour crisis number that anyone can call. The person will then be connected with someone locally in their area to talk to. There are also local crisis numbers listed in your local phone book. Some will say that I am trying to promote the gay lifestyle by not getting a teenager to speak with counselor at a church or religious group. That is the last thing a teenager needs that is thinking about suicide. They do not need someone else's religious beliefs thrusted upon them. If by trying to get a teenager to someone without any religious ties, is promoting a lifestyle, then all I can say is by not doing anything, we giving them a death sentence by not reaching out. We are promoting of the death of a young person because of religious beliefs.

In closing, this subject needs attention by many. Will it get it? The answer rests in the spiritual hearts of people. A choice is before mankind. It must decide is for once it is wants to truly grasp and practice unconditional love. I hope mankind will allow that part of God within. And allow it to grow in such a way that it will clearly be seen that everyone is truly a special person and needs to be loved regardless of their color, sex, sexual lifestyle, and most important for simply being a beautiful creation of God.

My next column is going to be about the upcoming election. I would like to hear from my readers your thoughts on the recent President and Vice President debates. Did the candidates answer the specific questions put before them or did they skip around the questions of the real issues at hand? Which of the candidates made more sense about the issues at hand? Did any of the candidates attack the other beyond what would be considered honorable? And if the election were held tomorrow, who would you vote for? Thank you all for your responses on this current column subject. It was uplifting to read all the letters that showed such compassion. I would like to apologize at this time that I have not been able to reply to everyone. Due to the volume of email letters I have received, I am behind in answering everyone. Hang in there with me, I will get around to it.

God Bless and have a terrific day!
~ David Lawrence Dewey ~