Is There a Gay Teen Suicide Epidemic?

LiveScience 8 October 2010
In the wake of the suicide death of Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi, the nation’s attention has been focused on what many have called an epidemic of gay teen suicides.

For example, Ciara Thomas, a writer for the website (“America’s Mental Health Channel”) states that, “For a number of years, researchers have known that one-third of all teenagers who commit suicide are gay. In one sense, this statistic is incredibly shocking…This means that they are 300 percent more likely to kill themselves than heterosexual youth.”

Indeed, that statistic has been widely repeated over the past few weeks, including by Unitarian Minister Debra Haffner in a piece published in the Washington Post a few days ago: “We have known for more than thirty years that at least one third of all suicides to teens are to gay youth,” Haffner told the newspaper.

That one-third of gay teens may be killing themselves is indeed a shocking statistic.

But it’s not true.