Risk Factors for Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual Youth Suicide


Awareness/identification of homosexual orientation at an early age.

Self-acceptance of homosexual orientation.

Conflicts with others related to homosexual orienation.

Problems in homosexual relationships.


Discrimination/oppression of homosexuals by society.

Portrayal of homosexuals as self-destructive by society.

Poor Self-Esteem

Internalization of image of homosexuals as sick and bad.

Internalization of image of homosexualas as helpless and self destructive.

Identity Conflicts

Denial of homosexual orientation.

Despair in a recognition of a homosexual orientation.


Rejection of child due to homosexual orientation.

Abuse/harassment of child due to homosexual orientation.

Failure of child to meet parental/societal expectation.

Perceived rejection of child due to homosexual orientation.


Child's homosexual orientation seen as incompatible with family religious beliefs.

Youth feels sinful, condemnd to hell due to homosexual orientation.


Abuse/harassment of homosexual youth by peers.

Lack of accurate information about homosexuality.

Social Isolation

Rejection of homosexual youth by friends and peers.

Social withdrawal of homosexual youth.

Loneliness and inability to meet others like themselves.

Substance Abuse

Substance use to relieve pain of oppression.

Substance use to reduce inhibitions on homosexual feelings.

Professional Help

Refusal to accept homosexual orientation of youth.

Refusal to support homosexual orientation of youth.

Involuntary treatment to change homosexual orientation of youth.

Inability to discuss issues related to homosexuality.

Residential Programs

Refusal to accept/support homosexual orientation of youth.

Isolation of homosexual youth by staff and residents.

Inability to support homosexualyouth in conflicts with residents.

Relationship Problems

Inability to develop relationship skills like heterosexual youth.

Extreme dependency needs due to prior emotional deprivation.

Absence of social supports in resolving relationship conflicts.

Independent Living

Lack of support from family.

Lack of support from adult gay community.

Involvement with street life.

AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome)

Unsafe sexual practices.

Secrecy/unplanned nature of early sexual experiences.

Future Outlook

Despair of life as hard as the present.

Absence of positive adult gay/lesbian role models

U. S. Department of Health and Human Services Report by Gibson, 1989, pp. 137-138