A stunning 43 percent of Black gay youth have considered or attempted suicide as a result of issues related to their sexual orientation. Those are the preliminary findings of the first of three to surveys to be released this year by Youth Pride Services, a Chicago-based non-profit that works with at-risk Black LGBT youth.
Black gay youth under the age of 25 are encouraged to take the survey HERE.
Also: Over half of the respondents fear or have experienced family rejection as a result of coming out. Eleven percent reported being HIV positive. Seven percent do not know their status. Young Black men who have sex with men aged 13 and 29 have suffered the brunt of the national HIV/AIDS crisis, with new infection rates soaring by over 48 percent. See our recent print/digital series "Reversing the Alarming HIV Increase Among Black Gay Men Part 1" and "Part 2".
Other stats: 26 percent experienced anti-gay bullying. 8 percent have been homeless. 9 percent have been sexually abused. 10 percent have been physically abused. YPS Director Frank Walker said that many of the results are not surprising, reports Windy City Times.
It really does show what it is like to grow up Black and gay in the U.S.," said Walker. Walker wants parents who have struggled to accept their LGBTQ children to see the report. "If they could take a look at their own child and look at all the issues that this survey reveals and put their own child in their minds… I think it would allow some Black parents to look at it from a different angle."
Walker said that Illinois youth also prioritized family acceptance, but second on the list, he said was "race related issues." Nationally, youth prioritized race issues at number eight, suggesting that youth in Illinois might be struggling with racism more than their peers in other parts of the country.
The survey results come only three weeks from the debut of For Colored Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Still Not Enough, a new anthology edited by New York Times bestselling author and television commentator Keith Boykin. The anthology will publish the writings of more than 3 dozen Black gay writers, media personalities, activists and other thought leaders. The book was launched in the wake of numerous "young Black men literally committing suicide in the silence of their own communities" such as Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, Jaheem Herrera, Raymond Chase, Joseph Jefferson and others reported on R20.
Boykin adds: "Although some assume that suicide is not a major problem in the black community, a study published in April 2008 found that young black men aged 13 to 24 were more likely to commit suicide than their white counterparts. Unfortunately, recent news events have confirmed that suicide does affect the black community.
R&B recording artist Marsha Ambrosius and her "groundbreaking" music video for Far Away has also been credited with helping to raise awareness on the issue. The video presents two Black gay men in love and explores homophobia, gay bashing and LGBT youth suicide in the black community.