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Utah refuses to include sexual orientation question on health survey


bsjkki

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I don't think a student would be traumatized by asking about sexual orientation in an anonymous health survey. Utah has nixed the question because school districts refused to cooperate if the question was included. http://www.sltrib.com/news/5135276-155/utah-school-districts-block-sexual-orientation-question?page=2

Isn't this a little short sighted if you are attempting to study teen suicide? Of course, jezebel.com dragged the church into the story.

“You can’t learn anything from a death certificate about whether (LGB) kids have a higher rate of suicide in Utah,”Fredrichs, an epidemiologist and statistician for the Utah Department of Health said, speaking in favor of the survey. Collecting whatever data they could would make it possible to “generate some known facts.” http://jezebel.com/utah-school-district-removes-sexual-orientation-questio-1794058759

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It does not seem helpful to exclude the question, but maybe I am too liberal when it comes to this type of thing?  

On the other hand, it would seem that nationally the evidence already suggests that gay individuals, young adults or adults, have a much higher rate of suicide than other people.  This also includes those who profess to be transgender.  Given that this appears to be a known fact, I would like to see studies about the gay lifestyle that result in such high suicide levels. 

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8 hours ago, Storm Rider said:

It does not seem helpful to exclude the question, but maybe I am too liberal when it comes to this type of thing?  

On the other hand, it would seem that nationally the evidence already suggests that gay individuals, young adults or adults, have a much higher rate of suicide than other people.  This also includes those who profess to be transgender.  Given that this appears to be a known fact, I would like to see studies about the gay lifestyle that result in such high suicide levels. 

That's like asking for studies of the african-american lifestyle that result in their high rates of incarnation. You're falsely assuming that there exists some materially different "lifestyle" and then compounding the error by assuming the "lifestyle" causes the resulting harm.  A better approach is to drop such preconceived notions, accept that people are who they say they are (i.e., LGBT) rather than just a "lifestyle" and study how society's varying acceptances of these people results in differing levels of harm. For example, study whether LGBT youth living in a supportive community have differing suicide levels from those living in a society that condemns their orientation.

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1 hour ago, Buckeye said:

That's like asking for studies of the african-american lifestyle that result in their high rates of incarnation. You're falsely assuming that there exists some materially different "lifestyle" and then compounding the error by assuming the "lifestyle" causes the resulting harm.  A better approach is to drop such preconceived notions, accept that people are who they say they are (i.e., LGBT) rather than just a "lifestyle" and study how society's varying acceptances of these people results in differing levels of harm. For example, study whether LGBT youth living in a supportive community have differing suicide levels from those living in a society that condemns their orientation.

Buckeye, you are assuming that people, everyone including LGBT, have problems and their problems have nothing to do with their own choices and actions.  The responsible party(ies) are found in society's varying acceptances of each individual.  This is good, but it is completely inadequate and results in creating a distinctly pernicious form of self-perception of being victimized.  More specifically, that suicides within the LGBT community only exist because of the actions of others.  

One helpful thing you proposed is reviewing the acceptance of others and its impact on suicides within the LGBT community.  What happens if suicides still remain higher than all other communities?  Where does the responsibility lie then?  Do we ignore those types of results in our effort to project a positive perception of all lifestyles?  

Your effort is to ignore anything that conflicts with your objective.  The benefit of science is objectivity and in doing objective research we find answers that may assist us.  I don't think there is a need to be fearful of the results of objective research, rather I think the benefits are found in using the information to make better, informed choices to reduce the negative results in life.  

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1 hour ago, thesometimesaint said:

Why do All Indians walk in single file? I saw one do it once.

And what would it tell you if you saw 75% of them do it?  95?  45?  When does it mean nothing and when does it mean something? 

What is absolutely clear is that we are not talking about one suicide among gay youth or adults.

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6 hours ago, Buckeye said:

That's like asking for studies of the african-american lifestyle that result in their high rates of incarnation. You're falsely assuming that there exists some materially different "lifestyle" and then compounding the error by assuming the "lifestyle" causes the resulting harm.  A better approach is to drop such preconceived notions, accept that people are who they say they are (i.e., LGBT) rather than just a "lifestyle" and study how society's varying acceptances of these people results in differing levels of harm. For example, study whether LGBT youth living in a supportive community have differing suicide levels from those living in a society that condemns their orientation.

Actually, it would be appropriate to ask behavioural questions as well as environmental, just as one does in studying suicide in the general population though there is no reason to target a homosexual or heterosexual or other "lifestyle" and much reason not to.  Questions about drug use and criminal behaviour have been found to be tied into suicidal risk, iirc, so it makes sense to include these in any such study.  Nothing should be specific to LGBTQ save for orientation questions, which should include imo experience as well as attitude (one has had homosexual experiences vs one has homosexual thoughts).  Orientation should also be asked about on a spectrum rather than just two or three categories (homosexual/bisexual/heterosexual/other...doesn't really cover everyone's experience as precisely as it should).  One doesn't have to actually ask about orientation if people are leery about labels, but just number or frequency of experiences and thought.  Would be more accurate anyway.  Even asking if they desire to physically alter sexual appearance works for all orientations, given enhancement occurs for both heterosexual and homosexual individuals.

The only reason I would suggest including a specific orientation question is to see if self identification has an effect over and above behaviour linked to the orientation.  Labels can at times be confusing to results if one assumes behaviours are attached to the label when they are not. Sometimes there is confusion between identifying as strongly masculine or feminine and strength of sexuality, I have come across a few who see themselves as very heterosexual, but are probably more asexual given their actual interest in a sexual relationship.  A strong identification as bisexual, for example, could have significant impact on attitudes even if one had never participated in any physical sexual activity and had a limited fantasy life...I know of an actual person in this situation who, possibly was influenced to be more politically liberal due to identification with a group they had absolutely no interaction with; they were actually more asexual at that time in their life from what I could tell by conversation and behaviour).

Edited by Calm
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The articles I read said that officials were concerned about presenting questions that had not been discussed thoroughly.   Most gays I know think it is black and white.   But I've dealt with populations for whom it isn't so clear.  These are kids who may have been involved in same sex play --- even simply p...ing contests, and/or been molested by someone of their same sex and had a physical reaction, and/or who have family members who are gay with whom they strongly identify.   Being asked the question may solidify something that they hadn't resolved themselves in a way that it might not have been resolved without that personal confirmation on the survey.   We tend to discount that as a possibility, but I've seen the utter confusion of this subset of children, and I wouldn't want to have same sex orientation possibility be part of the bathroom discussion when the survey is taken.

The plan is not to rush it onto this year's survey, but plan for the next two year survey.

Edited by rpn
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21 hours ago, Storm Rider said:

And what would it tell you if you saw 75% of them do it?  95?  45?  When does it mean nothing and when does it mean something? 

What is absolutely clear is that we are not talking about one suicide among gay youth or adults.

If Utah doesn't collect the statistic any number is appropriate. Is it a big societal problem when it is for just one person or many more?  BTW it is an old sociological term to demonstrate that ignorance isn't helpful.

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