Letter: Suffering in a society hostile to homosexuals

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The Independent Online
Sir: Members of Parliament can directly help cut the numbers of young gay men killing or attempting to kill themselves if they vote to lower the age of consent to 16 ('Consenting adults who love in fear of the law', 12 January).

Almost one in five young gay men and lesbians in one London study had attempted suicide. Research in the United States has found that they were two or three times more likely than other young people to attempt suicide and account for 30 per cent of teenage suicides. One of the main reasons for these suicides is the overpowering sense of isolation they suffered when trying to come to terms with their sexuality in a hostile society.

One of the Government's own key aims in its public health strategy is to reduce the numbers of suicides - set out in The Health of the Nation document. This document recognises that social policies can have an impact on health. Indeed, it specifically recognises that lesbians and gays are among those who 'may feel disenfranchised or alienated'.

It's hard to feel anything but alienated from society if society tells you your feelings are illegal. It creates enormous difficulties when seeking support and leaves young gay men vulnerable to the deep despair which can lead to suicide.

Yours faithfully,


National Director


London, W1