Suicide by liwenting


									Sarah Spellman
Teaching & Learning
November 8, 2010

                               Health Integration Paper

       We are losing too many of our precious children. It seems like it is the top

story in the news lately. Suicide. What a heart-breaking choice for someone to make.

They have reached their limit, and see no other way out, except for death. How does

this happen? How can we allow our children to feel so alienated or ostracized that

they see no other option than killing themselves?

       It is deep-seeded discrimination that allows this horrible avenue to thrive.

Much of the teen suicide that we hear about in the news seems to be connected with

homosexuality. Now don’t get me wrong. I am not trying to say that because

someone is homosexual they will commit suicide. All the issues that go along with

being gay though do have effects on a teenager’s self-esteem and self-efficacy. When

they struggle with feelings of liking someone of the same-sex, when they “come-out”

to their family and friends, and when they deal with all the after-effects of now living

a gay lifestyle, teenagers are stricken with monumental stress that leads to the high

association of suicide with homosexuality.

       My question is, how can we put a stop to this? Foucault would have described

how power is having a major impact on these children. In this country currently,

same-sex relationships are still not accepted. Most states have anti-gay marriage

laws, and we just had a president who was very publicly against the entire topic of

homosexuality. This is where the discussion of power comes into play. While this

country still lives under the ideology of negativity towards gays, there will be
discrimination and hate towards them. No matter who or what is being talked about,

there is always someone out there who doesn’t like them. But, if the government

was to take a more progressive stance when it comes to homosexuality, I believe

there would be a great reduction in these types of awful tragedies. Getting the

country’s acceptance is the first step. Then we can begin to work on the individuals.

However, we are nowhere near that point yet.

       It is stated how even currently in the medical field it is not ok to be openly

gay. If a doctor “comes-out” it may have a negative impact on their career. It is also

discussed how gay teenagers experience more violence than non-gay teenagers (Li

Kitts 2005). Again Foucault would talk of power and discipline. People seem to

believe that be acting violently towards someone that is different it may cause a

change in behavior. The people who are acting violently and the government are

showing these traits. By denying homosexuals the same rights as other citizens, they

are in fact handing out a type of punishment. We will not allow you to be happy by

making it ok for you to get married. We will not allow you to be happy by making

your everyday life scary and unsure.

       Kohlberg would stress how the children’s moral were affecting their

decisions to hurt those that are different. Those that would hurt people just because

of their sexual orientation would be categorized in the early stages of moral

development. They were taught a certain viewpoint by their parents, and never

developed their own ideas. These individuals only recognize that homosexuality

disgusts them; they show no thought for the feelings of others or the greater

community at large.
       One aspect of this topic that I found to be interesting was the discussion of

how risk markers for suicide may be different between gay individuals and non-gay

individuals. This may be due in part to the idea that gay people see suicide

differently than non-gay persons (Silenzio et al, 2007). This means a lot for suicide

prevention. If there are differences in how people view suicide based on their

sexuality, then different methods of prevention may be needed for each.

       This is related to Foucault’s idea of freedom and control. People believe there

is a certain viewpoint when it comes to suicide. They have not begun to question

whether or not there really is a difference for those that are gay. Homosexuals may

be searching for the one way that they can have some resemblance of control in

their lives, when every aspect of their personal relationships is being controlled.

Ultimately they may be finding freedom when they take their own lives. This is truly

devastating for me to even think about. I cannot imagine myself in the same

situation. I don’t know if I could deal with it either.

       Kohlberg would classify this under stage five of his moral development. Here

individuals are not so worried about whether society approves, they are more

interested in overall principles and values that are right. They may look at society

and think of not so much the continued flow of the everyday life. Instead there

would be a focus of what is the right thing. Those who have reached their end

though, would have seen how the democratic procedures in this country have failed

them, and therefore there is no hope.

       People continue to disappoint as well. Of course there are the patriots that

stand up for what is right, and scream it at the top of their lungs. There is also the
media. Their portrayal of the situations that are currently at the forefront can be

extremely impactful.

       For instance, when a teenager commits suicide, and the immediate reaction

is, it was because they were gay, does not help the overall situation. Instead they

should focus on why being gay caused this person’s life to spiral out of control to the

point where committing suicide seemed to be the best choice. The media could focus

on how current society effects gay teenagers and how it can cause them to become

depressed and eventually suicidal. However they do not. They just keep a running

tally of how many children are taking their own lives, and how again it is connected

with being gay. The media likes to make big statements saying they have “proved”

something without having enough data to back it up. They also make generalizations

from studies that may not have shown those findings at all (Saewyc 2007).

       It all stems back to control. Foucault could have described how the media is

trying to have sway over the minds of the public they are airing for. They don’t want

to help find a solution for the problem; they just want to escalate the issue by

making it more public. Public attention can be useful if treated carefully. However

that is not the case in today’s society.

       Kohlberg would be urging us as people to see through the veil that the media

has thrown over us. He would argue for people to develop their own moral

viewpoints on the issue, and to take into consideration other people’s feelings and

how they would be affected. This would be in his final stages five and six. Believing

that people, all people, are born with certain rights that cannot be taken away is

fundamental. The institution of marriage is one of those rights. Being able to love
whoever you want, and not be discriminated for it. You don’t have to think its right

for you personally, but you should be able to accept that a person is entitled to love

anyone. And a country should not be able to dictate who a person is allowed to love

based on gender. It is just not right.

       Love is something that is deeply personal to each individual. It is beautiful

and scary all at the same time. We should not be adding to the burden of love by

telling some people that whom they love is wrong. Love is tough enough without

having to deal with the loss of family and friends, career options and overall social

status. I hope for a future when it doesn’t matter who people love, and children

won’t feel like suicide is the path they need to choose. Maybe then there won’t be a

tally of how many children have killed themselves because of the repercussions of

being gay.

Works Cited

Li Kitts, R. (2005). Gay adolescents and suicide: understanding the association.

       Adolescence, 40(159), 621-628. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier


Saewyc, E. M. (2007). Contested conclusions: claims that can (and cannot) be made

       from the current research on gay, lesbian, and bisexual teen suicide attempts.

       Journal of LGBT Health Research, 3(1), 79-87. Doi: 10.1300/J463v03n01_09

Silenzio, V., Pena, J., Duberstein, P., Cerel, J., & Knox, K. (2007). Sexual orientation

       and risk factors for suicidal ideation and suicide attempts among adolescents

       and young adults. American Journal of Public Health, 97(11), 2017-2019.

       Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database

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