Conservative members of my Mormon family vote Republican and support the Mormon church. Pointing out that these organizations wreck fatal havoc in many lives does not help, as that just makes me a bad guy for ‘attacking’ them and their values. They take no responsibility for the collateral damage caused by these organizations they support, largely because they view themselves as not personally anti-gay.

Living in the gay community, the damage their culture inflicts is obvious. San Francisco can feel like a refugee camp where people recover from the hell they lived through in more conservative parts of the US. I am an example, healing slowly over decades from the pain inflicted in the name of “family values.”

While it is obvious to the rest of us that conservative family values do not serve those who do not fit their ideal, we now have stark data from Oregon that proves it:

Gay, lesbian and bisexual teens living in counties with the lowest social index scores [ie, most conservative] were 20 percent more likely to have attempted suicide than gays in counties with the highest index scores. Overall, about 25 percent of gay teens in low-scoring counties had attempted suicide, versus 20 percent of gay teens in high-scoring counties.

Conservative values means 20% more dead gay teens. The more Republicans around, the more conservative the community’s values, the stronger the effect:

Hatzenbuehler’s team found a higher rate of suicide attempts even among youths who were not bullied or depressed when they lived in counties less supportive of gays and with relatively few Democrats. A high proportion of Democrats was a measure used as a proxy for a more liberal environment.

This is not just a gay issue. A more liberal (aka, supportive) environment lead to a 9% lower rate of attempted suicide by heterosexual teens as well. Being supportive of variations applies to everyone who varies. Duh.

I was a miserable gay teen in the 1970s, and even I can barely imagine the pain a teen must be in to view suicide as their only way out. I cannot wrap my head around people who want to continue this misery 40 years later. Conservative family values indeed.

I want family to start meaning family again, and not be a code word for anti-gay.

(Original story from AP here.)