Panel discusses suicide in LGBT youths
Published: Friday, September 27, 2013
Updated: Friday, September 27, 2013 01:09
As the Rev. Hilary Greer addressed the issues of sexuality, religion and suffering, the reason of Suicide Prevention Week was shown more clearly.
“One of the most troubling questions we can ask is: why is life so difficult? Looking at the world, and our own lives, the reality of human suffering can at times [is] overwhelming – and the responses to suffering can seem flat and hollow. But despair or pat answers are not our only options,” stated on the Suicide Prevention Website.
A national study done by Joyner K Russell ST in 2009, found that LGBT students are more than twice as likely to commit suicide compared to their heterosexual peers.
“I think the tendency in our society is to try to put distance us and suffering and act like something rare or that it happens to other people,” Greer said. “When we do suffer, there is a sense of isolation that other people aren’t suffering the way I suffer.”
The focus of the talk that was held yesterday at the Rainbow Center was about the suffering that is sometimes felt in life in relation to religion and gender roles.
“Religion plays a huge effect into [Suicide Prevention Week], and I know a lot of kids can struggle with that. It can be hard to contemplate serious actions,” said Geena Russo, 7th-semester social justice major.
It can also be a very personal experience because when talking about suffering, everyone has been through something terrible as discussed within the group.
“Suffering is a personal question,” Greer said, the Priest in Charge who runs of St. Mark’s Episcopal Chapel on campus. “That as much as we cognitively will try to think through things, the questions that come up are, ‘why did my grandfather die?’ or, ‘why did this person that I love get cancer?’”
When looking at suffering, the discussion talked a lot about how to act when something terrible does occur and knowing that it is not “meant to be.” The world is sometimes a horrible place when things just happen, they are not really “meant to be.
When Greer was a chaplain at a hospital, she had a case with a boy who died at the age of 5. Now, for her, it set up a decision to say that it is not “meant to be,” as sometimes people say.
The discussion focused on how all the sufferings leads to things such as abolition, isolation and sadness and how the church views the LGBT community as a whole.
“It was more of a dialogue, and it was interesting from a religious perspective,” Russo said.
The overall experience of the talk was full of discussion about issues that directly related to Suicide Prevention Week. It addressed topics that related directly with that in regards to LGBT community holistically and here at UConn.
The group was very diverse. Professors, students, LGBT or not, religious or not and it helped to facilitate an engaging talk about pain and how to deal with it. As one transgender in the group stated, “As an atheist, I have to find my moments of spirituality.”