This post is number one of twelve for the Secular Student Alliance Blogathon. I’m responding to comments in the “Go Ahead, Tell Me What’s Wrong with Homosexuality” thread all day. You can read an explanation of the Blogathon and a pitch for donations (even if you’re religious).
An objection I’ve heard often relates to health. Critics will point to health disparities between gay and straight people (higher depression, suicides, std’s among gay people), and say this is reason to avoid gay relationships.
I think I’ve seen people point to higher rates of other undesired actions, like drug use, promiscuity, and break-up rates among gay people.
It’s definitely true that gay people are at higher risk for depression and suicide, but the data don’t tell us why. Is it because they’re living out of accord with their nature and God’s plan, and the incongruity rankles or is it that gay people are treated uncharitably and intolerantly, and the cruelty, directed at a core part of their identity is intensely destabilizing?
The data fit either explanation, so these findings don’t improve the case against an active, homosexual life.
The kind of data we should probably be looking for instead is longitudinal data from multiple countries and track gay depression/suicide rates against expansions of gay rights and decreasing feelings of repulsion by homosexuals. This data won’t prove causation, but it may be suggestive.
Of course, in all probability, the longitudinal data doesn’t exist or is really misleading. You can’t track gay suicides or gay depression if, in the past, the only queer people out were the ones who got caught.
Better methodological approaches welcome in the comments. This is actually a pretty tricky problem.