Suicides rise as LGBTQ groups are bullied

Posted: Oct. 17, 2018 2:05 pm

To The Herald-Whig:

In response to Gary Wallace of River of Life Church:

As a local member of PFLAG, I am very troubled by your denunciation and marginalization of members of our community who are LGBTQ, an especially egregious action for one who claims to be the leader of a church.

I applaud Quincy Public Schools for working with the "Queer Eye" show, for honoring one of their graduates and one of their teachers, while providing a lesson in tolerance and diversity. In an increasingly globalized world, our children will have opportunities to interact with people from many countries who have differing lifestyles, beliefs and religions as they progress through college and careers.

These lessons in diversity and tolerance are especially important for our LGBTQ youths who are harmed by unwelcoming attitudes such as yours and who face higher rates of suicide attempts and successful suicides when they lack family and community support. The Trevor Project reports that LGBT youths who come from highly rejecting families are 8.4 percent more likely to have attempted suicide than LGBT youths who reported no or low levels of family rejection. Each episode of LGBT victimization, such as physical or verbal harassment or abuse, increases the likelihood of self-harming behavior by 2.5 times on average. An article in Psychology Today explains perceived burdensomeness and thwarted belongingness have also been shown to increase one's risk of suicidal ideation and death by suicide.

Your comments are an assertion that there is no place for LGBTQ people in Quincy. This is simply not true. I encourage you to educate yourself. There are a number of resources available -- PFLAG, the Trevor Project, the Human Rights Commission, the National LGBTQ Task Force, the Matthew Shepherd Foundation and the It Gets Better Foundation.

My LGBTQ friends and community members are too important for you to victimize, and I am calling on you to stop persecuting these people with your intolerant attitude.

Ruth Cuthbertson