Suicide among LGBT – Early Adolescence
Suicide among LGBT Adolescence
Early adolescence is a stage rather than an age; it ranges from 10-14 years of age. It is the period in a teen’s life which he or she begins to develop his or her self-identity and gain a sense of belonging in a specific social group, in which they earn group conformity. “Conformity is the process of maintaining or changing behaviour to comply with the norms established by a society, subculture, or other groups.”(Murray, p. 107) Conformity brings forth an ample amount of pressure. The youth tend to change their behaviour, beliefs and image in an attempt to fit in which bestows acceptance and favor from their peers. As the stages of adolescence progress, the development towards their sexual identity and orientation come into being; this could be a challenging stage for the bulk of teens’ lives. Many of them can be in question or doubt, essentially because of the norms and values that exist in society. As teens attempt to meet the expectations that society imparts onto them, they become overwhelmed with superfluous stress. LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transsexual) adolescents experience these kinds of predicaments in their lives; gaining respect by the colloquial society (being accepted by neighbors, co-workers, or even random strangers). Attaining conformity can be an immense challenge, substantially because of their sexual identity. LGBT adolescents concern themselves with various social struggles in their lives which can be completely disempowering. It can take many forms of discrimination, stereotyping, and even emotional/physical/sexual abuse. Dealing with these social struggles brings forth grievous results which at the worst case can be suicide. These complications generally result from the pressures and prejudices of society. (Marcus, p. 36) “These added pressures and prejudices can lead to psychological conflicts, depression, alcoholism and drug abuse-all of which put members of these groups, especially adolescents, at greater risk of suicide.” (Marcus, E., p.36) Dealing with LGBT adolescents and heterosexuals can have major controversies. They are three times more likely to commit suicide rather than the youth with typical sexuality. (Woodward, J., p. 19) This predicament occurs because of the many types of discriminations and disrespect LGBT adolescents receive from other people within the society. The sociological perspectives have different views within this social issue; the two main perspectives I will be speaking about will be the “Conflict Perspective” and the “Functionalist Perspective”; I will be related these sociological perspectives towards the social issue-suicide amongst LGBT adolescence. Conflict perspective theory focuses on the big picture of the fact that social problems occur when dominant groups mistreat subordinate groups; it also advocates a form of power. At the Functionalist Perspective “a society comprises interrelated parts, each of which serves a function and (ideally) contributes to the overall stability of society (Murray, p.13). The risk of LGBT adolescents turning to suicide is more severe than non-LGBT adolescents. A recent analysis by Toronto’s Center for Addiction and Mental Health said “Numerous studies suggest that among lesbian, gay and bisexual youth, approximately 32 per cent contemplate or attempt suicide (compared to 7 per cent of all youth)” (Zerbesias, A., 2011). There are many reasons for this proclamation. Initially, family conflict is enhanced in LGBT adolescence families. For example, it is possible for the individual’s family members to disown them, which can lead to him or her becoming homeless. Statistics show “25 to 40 per cent of homeless youth identify themselves as LGBTQ, while in the general population that number is only five to 10 per cent.” (Gay, lesbian youth too often end up on the streets, 2012,...
References: Gay, lesbian youth too often end up on the streets: One-third of homeless youth are gay or lesbian, says study (2012, June 14). CBCNews, p. #1.
Huegel, K. (2003). LGBTQ: The Survival Guide for Queer & Questioning Teens. Minneapolis: Free Spirit Publishing Inc
Kendall, D., Vicki, L.N., & Edward, G.T
Marcus, E. (2010). Why Suicide: Questions & Answers About Suicide, Suicide Prevention, and Coping with the Suicide of Someone You Know. New York: HarperCollins
Murray, J.L, Linden, R.,& Kendall, D
Tjepkema, M. (2008, November 17). Health Care Use among Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Canadians. Statistics Canada, p. #
Woodward, J. (2005). Teen Suicide. California: Thomson Corporation
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