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UC San Francisco Study: Gay Male Suicide Rate 3-Times Higher Than Straight Males

“That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.  But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” – 2 Peter 3:1-18

By Jeff Sheehy, UCSF, 8/5/2002

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UCSF researchers have found that twelve percent of urban gay and bisexual men have attempted suicide in their lifetime, a rate three times higher than the overall rate for American adult males.

“These rates are staggering, and highlight the cost of pervasive anti-gay stigmatization and victimization,” said Jay Paul, PhD, a specialist at UCSF’s Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS) and lead author of the study published in the August issue of the American Journal of Public Health. “We cannot take these suicide attempts lightly, as almost half of the men in our study reported multiple attempts. Furthermore, a study such as this can only report suicide attempts; we can never enumerate the lives lost through completed suicides. “

A particularly troubling trend was found in this study. Looking retrospectively at different age groups of gay and bisexual men, there has been a shift whereby initial suicide attempts are happening at a younger age, the researchers found. For most of those men who were at least 25 years old in 1970, the suicide attempt took place after they were 25 years old. For younger men, who did not reach 25 years old until after 1990, most of them made the suicide attempt before they turned 25 years old. This has occurred despite no apparent change in the rate of attempted suicide, which has remained a constant twelve percent.

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