A recent study highlights a strong link between “religion and suicide for queer youth.”
While religion decreases the likelihood of attempted suicide amount youth who do not identify as LGBTQ, the exact opposite is true of those who identify as LGBTQ+. The article in the Huffington post notes the following:
The study authors found that religion may have acted as a protective factor against suicide attempts among heterosexual youth. Each increase in the level of importance of religion among straight youth was associated with a 17 percent reduction in recent suicide attempts.
On the other hand, for lesbian and gay youth, increasing levels of religious importance were associated with increased odds of recent suicidal ideation. In fact, lesbian and gay youth who said that religion was important to them were 38 percent more likely to have had recent suicidal thoughts, compared to lesbian and gay youth who reported religion was less important. Religiosity among lesbians alone was linked to a 52 percent increased chance of recent suicidal ideation.
We, as churches and campus ministries, need to talk about sexuality – not only because it is a huge part of our lives and our relationship with God – but also because talking about sexuality well saves lives.