Sunday, 29 May 2011

Blame the Victim

Apologies for the quick second post, but I've been reading LifeSiteNews again and I've stumbled across another huge non-sequitur on one of their articles. The LGBT articles are swamped with straw men of varying shapes and sizes and I think I've found a particularly nasty one courtesy of Peter Sprigg.

The article itself addresses the sad reality that LGBT teenagers are far more likely than our straight peers to commit suicide. The trouble is that the site is highly homophobic and eager to present homosexuality and bisexuality as illnesses or sinful defiance rather than neutral variations of sexuality. Even so you'd think the author in question would show more compassion towards those affected - all the article contains is selective quotations from psychologists who seem to refuse to take social pressures into account. And believe me, there are many.

The first study notes that LGBT teenagers are 20% more likely to commit suicide in an unsupportive environment than in a supportive one. But the fact remains that we are 5 times more likely to commit suicide than straight teenagers. What solution does Sprigg offer? Discourage teens from self-identifying as gay, lesbian or bisexual and don't bother creating a supportive environment.

Not only is this attitude victim-blaming, it also flies in the face of the evidence given - the earlier study mentioned that the rate of suicide was reduced by a supportive environment, why does the article fail to comment on this with regards to Sprigg's final recommendations? Support has already been shown to help, I'm not sure why this man is opposed to pursuing that and happier blaming the victim.

Actually, I do know the reason. Peter Sprigg works for the Family Research Council, a Christian group with a penchant for homophobia and sexual repression in general. If you want a laugh here's Peter being skewered by his mild-mannered opponent (and the newsreader) in a debate about homosexuality and the military. He eventually reveals that he wants all "homosexual behaviour" banned and illegal in the US - I might warn him that handcuffs are likely to turn us on, being deviants and everything. I wonder how he'd react?

I'm aware the plural of anecdote is not data, but from my personal point of view I can confidently say that it was not my attraction to both genders which caused me to despair. It was being violently threatened by bullies in a sustained campaign of abuse for an extended period of time.

So I ask you this, Peter: if a group of people threatened to throw you down a stairwell or stab you between the eyes, would we be justified in blaming your reaction on your sexuality? Likewise, would my reaction to these threats be as a result of my attractions? Of course not - this line of argument is nonsense on stilts.

Homophobia causes this increased rate of suicide, not homosexuality. The sooner people like Sprigg and the LifeSiteNews crew begin to realise that, the sooner we can begin to reduce this dreadful statistic. Shame on you all.

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