“In the last decade, acceptance of transgenderism has increased, while suicide rates for kids–especially girls–has skyrocketed,” said US Senator J.D. Vance, the Ohio Republican elected last year with the financial backing of billionaire Peter Thiel. “Perhaps it’s time for all of us to ask whether ‘affirmation’ solves the problem, or simply makes it worse.”
Vance posed the question after NewsBusters Managing Editor Curtis Houck falsely claimed that White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre accused “all Americans who opposes pro-LGBTQI+ measures of contributing to” considering suicide.
NewsBusters has commonly subjected transgender people and activists to a rhetorical frenzy, railing against their personal liberty and “refusing to indulge the fantasy that one’s biological sex is based on personal belief.”
The lie was asserted after Jean-Pierre faulted Republican lawmakers who continue to refuse to take action on stronger gun laws and said that the previous week was one of the worst weeks of 2023 so far in terms of anti-LGBTQ bills becoming law in states across America.
New Jersey progressive Democrat Lisa McCormick set Vance straight on the facts but hinted that he may not be ‘straight.’
McCormick suggested that the Ohio lawmaker might be bisexual or intersex, since he apparently —albeit wrongly— believes that people have a choice about their sexual orientation and gender identity.
“Sexual orientation and gender identity are not the same thing—they are distinct aspects of being a person,” said McCormick. “Children have a sense of their gender from about ages 3–5, and people develop a sexual orientation as they mature, but for most of us, we are what we are.”
“People who are straight or gay are not confused about who they are. Cisgender people have no doubts and would not imagine that they are able to pick and choose,” said McCormick. “The confusion comes only when someone is fluid about sex and sexuality, or when a person is subjected to social influences that make one feel guilty, ashamed, or embarrassed. The whole point of affirmation is that everyone deserves emotional support instead of falling prey to cultural insensitivity, bigotry or the kind of judgmental busybodies who we would all be better off ignoring.”
McCormick also said that the reason there is so much gun violence in America, including suicide, is because of the easy access to an unnecessarily abundant supply of deadly firearms and the acceptance of violence in our culture.
“Monthly U.S. gun sales have almost doubled, rising from about 1 million guns in 2019 to nearly 2 million a month. The number of guns made in the U.S. also increased substantially in the past decade,” said McCormick. “Affirmation makes kids feel better, guns simply make them dead.”
“Suicide is a complex behavior that results from a complicated interaction of biological, psychological, cognitive, and environmental factors,” said McCormick. She explained that “Being bullied or made to feel ashamed could inspire a person to kill oneself but it is unlikely that emotional support or affirmation would trigger such a reaction.”
“A lot of bigoted people who are most hostile toward gays or transphobic should consider a little self-reflection, since studies found many such individuals themselves have same-sex desires, albeit suppressed and unrecognized ones, which may not yet have been explored, but if he did not have a stake in this, he probably would not hold strong anti-gay views,” said McCormick. “People do not a lot of pay attention to things in which they are disinterested. Except for latent homosexuals, when it comes to sexuality of others, most people mind their own business.”
An analysis of implicit bias and explicit sexual orientation statements explained the underpinnings of anti-gay bullying and hate crimes rested in sexual attraction. The prejudice of homophobia may also stem from authoritarian parents, particularly those with homophobic views, the researchers found.
McCormick said Vance should contact the American Psychological Association to seek more satisfaction in life but at a minimum, he should let people be free to do what they want when it does not hurt anyone else.
“Its funny that people who always rant about freedom can’t figure out how to mind their own business when it comes to other people’s sex, sexuality, or sexual identity,” said McCormick. “If you love freedom then you must also love minding their own business to let others be free.”
When researchers looked at the characteristics such tragedies, they found the most common way children died by suicide was by hanging (78.4%), although a significant number of children died by suicide using a firearm (18.7%).
When researchers investigated deaths by firearm, they found that more than half of these deaths involved a handgun (52%), and in all cases in which the details of gun access were known, the firearm used was not stored safely (for example, a gun and ammunition stored in an unlocked nightstand or a loaded gun stored in a common living area).
In more than half of cases (58.4%), a parent was home at the time of the child’s death.
The suicide attempt rate among transgender persons ranges from 32% to 50% across the countries.
Gender-based victimization, discrimination, bullying, violence, being rejected by the family, friends, and community; harassment by intimate partner, family members, police and public; discrimination and ill treatment at health-care system are the major risk factors that influence the suicidal behavior among transgender persons.
“There is clear and compelling evidence that ‘affirmation’ does not make suicide attempts among transgender persons any worse, but the social stigma and rejection that Vance seems to prefer has definitely contributed to a rise if youth suicides,” said McCormick.
In spite of facing a number of hardships in their day-to-day life, the transgender community holds a number of resiliency factors.
Further, this community needs to be supported to strengthen their resiliency factors and draw culturally sensitive and transgender-inclusive suicide prevention strategies and increase protective factors to tackle this high rate of suicidality.
McCormick said anyone who needs help can access the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, by dialing the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, with the new, easy to remember three-digit access code, 9-8-8.
In order to understand what transgender really means, it is necessary to know the difference between sex and gender.
Sex is a combination of our bodily features, such as chromosomes; hormone production; fat distribution; genitals; hair growth and more. When a person is born they are usually assigned male or female based on these characteristics. When someone falls outside of this sex binary of male and female, they are referred to as intersex.
Gender is often expressed in terms of masculinity and femininity, gender is largely culturally determined and is assumed from the sex assigned at birth. The gender binary has been socially constructed based on the sex binary i.e. man and woman. Anyone who identifies outside of this binary is referred to as non-binary.