DRHOOK- Gay tragedy: Depression, harassment drive teens to suicide

the handsome doctor John Hong

Kurt Hummel is actually a gay character played by– get this– an openly gay actor (Chris Colfer) on the show Glee! Finally, an openly gay man playing an openly gay character. No bogus in-the-closet actor playing a gay man, which is so Victor Victoria. 

Remember Sean Hayes, who played OMG-so-gay Jack on Will & Grace? Even Sean came out of the closet (for like five seconds), but went back "in" with the closet door hitting his skinny behind. He eventually came out– only to be criticized in Newsweek for playing a straight man in Broadway's Promises, Promises. 

Can a gay person ever win?

You probably heard on the news about Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi, who jumped off the George Washington Bridge after his roommate allegedly posted a video on the Internet of Tyler having sex with another man. 

First of all, it would be humiliating to anyone to have such a tape posted without his/her consent. To make things worse, I bet Tyler was struggling with coming out. 

 Seth Walsh was only 13 years old when he hanged himself in California this autumn because of homophobic bullies. At Johnson & Wales University, an openly gay 19-year-old student, Raymond Chase, hanged himself. If you think gay teenage suicide is limited to just six high-profile cases in September, think again. It's been going on for decades.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the #3 cause of death in people between the ages 15 and 24. The CDC reports suicide as #2 cause of death on college campuses.

Bullying is bad enough to a young person whose brain hasn't fully matured and whose sense of self is yet to bloom. Moreover, when LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) people don't have the support of their own parents and family, there are few places to turn. Who is there to comfort an LGBT child? 

 How many health care professionals are open to help LGBT kids? Wait, I should emphasize that "help" means support them to be happy and healthy, and not curing homosexuality. 

I know some doctors (and you know who you are) who won't take care of LGBT patients. Some pray for them to become straight. (I find it interesting if a person thinks being gay is a choice. That means being straight is a choice for them.)

The Trevor Project reports gay teens are 300 percent more likely to attempt suicide than non-LGBT teens. Nine out of ten LGBT students have been harassed at school. Even straight kids who are perceived to be gay are tormented by peers.

For LGBT people who seek counseling, it is important to find out before the first visit if the counselor thinks LGBT is like leprosy. Trust me, I have run into a few! Antidepressants can help fight depression and anxiety. However, as a doctor, I don't have a cure for bullying. (Teachers, principals, and school bus drivers do, although I have never seen it happen in my life.)

Interestingly, Cindy McCain said, "Our political and religious leaders tell LGBT youth that they have no future ... They can't serve our country openly ... Our government treats the LGBT community like second-class citizens, why shouldn't [the bullies]?" (Wow, I shouldn't have made fun of her makeup during his husband's run for presidency!) 

If you think the LGBT community isn't important, then take away a lot of culture, medical care, education, community projects, family members— you name it– because we are everywhere. 

The Trevor Project (thetrevorproject.org) has a 24/7 crisis line for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth. To all my LGBT readers I say, "There is love and joy out there."


Dr. Hook cracks a joke or two, but he's a renowned physician with an interesting website, drjohnhong.com. Email him with your questions.