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03/26/2008

Gee, why would queer youth want an escape?

by Jeremy Hooper

"You're a f*ggot!" "Your feelings are sick and wrong!" "Gay people are fun to shop with and plan weddings and stuff, but you don't want to become one!" "Unless you 'change,' you're going to Hell!" "Don't look at me again or I'll kick your ass!" "Why can't you just be 'normal' like you're brother and sister?"

A new University of Pittsburgh study indicates that lesbian, gay, and bi youth are on average 190% more likely to use and abuse substances than their heterosexual peers. And while those who keep gay bias alive and (un)well under the mask of "pro-family" compassion would never cite the above phrases and mindsets as the key reasons why gay kids are often in desperate search of an escapist outlet, those of us who've actually had the queer experience know the truth behind these findings:

Gay Youth Report Higher Rates Of Drug And Alcohol Use - University Of Pittsburgh Researchers Report Findings In Journal Addiction [Medical News Today]
(h/t: Queerty)

The very easy solution to this? Well...

"You're part of the spectrum of the world's normalcy!" You're fine just the way you are." It's absurd that you would 'choose' this." "You're as entitled to love and happiness as your brother and sister." "Homosexuality is and has always been part of the human condition." "You can take whoever you want to prom." "Homosexuality is not something with which you should 'struggle' anymore than one struggles with heterosexuality -- biology should not be a mindfuck."

...it's even more simplistic than the Reagan era "just say no" campaign.

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Your thoughts

But if you do that, you'll be recruiting kids into a destructive lifestyle!!!!

Posted by: Lilo | Mar 26, 2008 1:39:46 PM

I'm sure it doesn't help that 'fag' and 'gay' have become synonymous with 'dumb' and 'stupid' in schools. Now even people who are supposedly non-homophobic are saying 'Stop being such a fag.' 'That shirt's so gay.' Teachers don't care at all, yet I doubt they'd allow 'Stop being such a N----r', 'Stop being such a Jew.'

I won't abuse substances, it's not a good outlet for me. I'll just stick to internalizing it and feeling depressed.

Posted by: | Mar 26, 2008 2:25:03 PM

I think you want to be a little careful about how you state their findings. They say the *odds* are 190 percent higher

The way you have it stated, "on average 190% more likely", would mean that if I have 10 GLBT youth, 19 of them are going to use drugs and alcohol?

The way they have it stated (arbitrarily, I don't know the exact numbers) 1/10 hetero youth will use drugs and alcohol whereas 2.9/10 GLBT youth will use drugs and alcohol.

Its been a while since I had Prob & Stats, so please correct me if I'm wrong. But that 190 percent figure is terribly misleading IMHO

Posted by: spalding | Mar 26, 2008 2:43:00 PM

To be clear in my last post, I'm not trying to diminish their findings.

And really, since you do say "more likely" and not 190 percent *of* GLBT... you probably are correct in your statement. I'm just anal and quoting 190 percent, 300 percent, etc. makes me terribly uncomfortable.

Posted by: spalding | Mar 26, 2008 2:52:16 PM

If you encourage gay youth, you're encouraging the destruction of civilization!

But honestly, I can see some truth to this in my own experiences. When I look at everyone I know, most of the people who smoke cigarettes or pot, drink, and try other drugs are gay. That's not to say straight people don't fall into the same thing. Everyone has stresses and pressures in life, and substances can seem like an easy way out. However, I think that pressures are different for minorities, especially GLBT people, because they do not have the same kind of legal protections as other groups. I myself have been tempted, and if not for family history, I might have tried out these "escapes." Despite homophobia and other discrimination i've faced, I have been lucky enough to have family and friends who support me. It's very unfortunate that everyone doesn't have the same support system, and I hope that someday, everyone does.

Posted by: Steve | Mar 26, 2008 3:06:13 PM

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