In light of the recent news that the Fair Act, which will include the contributions of LGBT Americans in school studies should it pass the State Assembly and is signed into California law by Governor Brown (it’s already passed the State Senate), a Columbia University study came out today which shows that teen suicides are more common in conservative parts of the country. This means, more specifically, that school in such areas, which tend not to have programs supporting gay rights, contribute to a higher rate of teen suicide. The study takes into account already known factors such as depression and bullying, and still, in conservative areas, the suicide rate is higher, even among straight identifying teens.
So when Mark Leno, the author of the current bill weaving its way through California, states that teaching about LGBT Americans can help decrease bullying and teen suicide rates, he knows what he’s talking about.
The study’s social index rated counties on five measures: prevalence of same-sex couples; registered Democratic voters; liberal views; schools with gay-straight alliances; schools with policies against bullying gay students; and schools with antidiscrimination policies that included sexual orientation.
Gay, lesbian and bisexual teens living in counties with the lowest social index scores were 20 percent more likely to have attempted suicide than gays in counties with the highest index scores. Overall, about 25 percent of gay teens in low-scoring counties had attempted suicide, versus 20 percent of gay teens in high-scoring counties.