WA Prof queries role of legalising gay marriage in reducing gay suicide

In an article HERE at Online Opinion, just brought to AMF's attention by a supporter, Associate Professor Rob Cover (pictured) of the University of WA casts doubt on the simplistic political spin (or political blackmail might be more accurate) which says Parliament must legalise gay marriage or be culpable for gay suicide. Some highlights:

The relationship between the legalisation of marriage and GLBTIQ youth health and wellbeing is more complex and it is important not to assume that legislative amendment leads directly by itself to a reduction in youth suicidality... [GLBTIQ youth suicide and self-harm] has not dropped significantly despite a whole host of other legislative changes and protections.

While the actual rate of GLBTIQ youth suicide and self-harm is not fully known (as sexuality can often remain hidden and as not all suicide attempts are disclosed) it has not dropped significantly despite a whole host of other legislative changes and protections, from de-criminalisation of homosexuality, to anti-vilification laws, to institutional anti-discrimination policies in schools and youth recreational organisations.

However, it's worth bearing in mind that there are downsides to marriage that can impact on non-heterosexual persons in other ways by creating new discriminations: those who do not or cannot find a partner for marriage are further marginalised, often increasing shame.

There is also a question as to the number of GLBTIQ persons who actually desire the right to marry. My own partner of seven years and I find the idea of marriage a tad distasteful, and of all our coupled friends and colleagues none have stated they would marry given the opportunity.

An article HERE in WA News referred to his academic research and new book on the subject:

University of WA's Rob Cover recently released his book, Queer Youth  Suicide, Culture and Identity: Unliveable Lives?, based on research  believed to be the first of its kind in a decade.

Associate Professor Cover said initiatives such as same-sex marriage and  anti-bullying policies would not help to reduce suicide rates among gay  youth.

"There is no clear indication that same-sex marriage will legitimise queer  people in the minds of others, even if it gives a much-needed political  legitimacy," he said.

"There is greater danger in hoping that it will be a cure-all – and directing  resources to this one form of legitimation falls far short of what is needed,  when there are other policy and service areas that require resources."



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