STATES CHRONICLE – A new study proves that teen suicide rates declined since the legalization of same-sex marriage. This has reduced about 134,000 suicide attempts every year in high school student, bisexual, lesbian and gay adolescents. The study indicated that social policies could affect the behavior of people.
Based on the data provided by the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System in 2015, about 29% of lesbian, bisexual and gay high school students reported attempting suicide a year before. Only 6% of the heterosexual high school students reported attempts of suicide. Julia Raifman, the lead author of this study and a postdoctoral student at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Maryland, US, claimed that considering the fact that they are teenagers, they might not get married soon.
Nevertheless, allowing same-sex marriage annihilates the structural stigma which was associated with sexual orientation. Raifman also noted that this might have to do with the idea of having equal rights. It does not matter that these same-sex couples do not necessarily have immediate plans concerning marriage.
The simple idea of the legalization gave back teenagers their peace of mind and confidence, without being afraid to express themselves, being able to stand for themselves. They need to know that they could find support when needed. The legalization of gay marriage made students feel more hopeful and less stigmatized.
The study was recently published in the JAMA Pediatrics magazine. Researchers have compared information from 1999 to 2015 regarding about 763,000 teenagers from 32 US states which passed the same-sex marriage law. They had also analyzed the behavior of teenagers from the remaining 15 US states which did not pass the law before the Supreme Court legalized this nationwide.
The results of the research indicated that there was 7% decline in the number of suicide attempts among teenagers in those 32 states which legalized same-sex marriage. Nevertheless, the records suggested a 14% decrease in the number of bisexual, lesbian and gay high school students. What is more, the states which did not yet pass that law proved that there was no decrease in the number of suicide attempts among teenagers.
Raifman stated that adults should struggle to understand adolescents because for them is not at all easy. It is even harder to cope with others for those who realize that they represent a sexual minority.
Image source: wikipedia