Dear Trevor's Friends
I send you a high-five back for your support and words and encouragement! (:
I understand when you say that the phrase "that's so gay" is a form of slang or a simply misued sentence. To be honest, I wasn't even sure if anyone knows the answer, so I wasn't expecting a true definition but yours was sufficent enough for my knowledge. I never thought of viewing it like a slang or just a vernacular phrase that some people use.
Also, with AIDS/HIV, you brought up the 1980's. That reminded me of the movie, Philadelphia, because that is a story that takes place mid 70's of how a man contracted HIV through various blood transplants but everyone believed he got HIV from his boyfriend. And with that story we begin to see how people believe it becomes a "gay disease."
So a few days ago, in sociology we did projects about ourselves and soceity. And today we recieved our grades. Almost everyone got a B or higher. I earned an A for a grade. (I was thrilled to get a 100)
So during class, we started to talk about the early principles of sociology, and some of the founders.
Auguste Comte was the first talked about since he gave sociology its name. Comte focused on the "why's" of society. Why people did this or that, or why people reacted like this or that, and so on. Comte focused on the suicidal rates during his time. Now men were killing themselves due to their high stress from their jobs.
Nowadays, life can be seen as a "chore" for some people so they believe suicide is the way out or they feel like they don't belong where they are. Or other reasons like the abuse of drugs or alcohol.
There was one point in time (few months ago), where I had thoughts about suicide because I felt as if I didn't belong to this world. But I told myself, I'll be running away from my problems if I commit suicide. I don't like to back down without a fight, and this one fight I have to win. This is a problem I will solve because I'm not going to quit.
But I thought of why do I need to live? I said, I want--no-- I need to live because there will always be someone who will care for me and I can't leave them this soon. They never quitted on me so I'm not gonna quit on them or myself. I need to live because I want to help other people and live a good life with the people who care about me. I don't need everyone in the world to care for me, just those closest need to care about me.
I don't know how, but I soon convinced myself that I was a strong person, who is indeed loved by people. I dropped the idea of suicide quickly becasue I have people who do care about me. And I think we all need to be loved by someone, and not everyone gets that.
Plus, life is already too short. We need to make the best of everyday, we need to greet everyone with a smile and be willing to forgive other people. However, suicide is not the easy way out, its like your giving up on yourself. But, is it natural to have thoughts of suicide for humans?
So my question is, What is the biggest reason people commit suicide, it is because of bullying? How can I help people who have suicidal thoughts or feelings?
Well, I must say your sociology class sounds really fascinating, and it seems to be covering some pretty important ground. I tend to think of sociology as psychology of the masses. Where psychology concentrates on the mental and spiritual life of an individual, sociology groups those individuals together for demographic analysis, generalizing about attitudes shared by "communities." So, your question about the most prevalent causes of suicide would seem a natural fit for such a class.
And it turns out that there are a number of characteristics shared by people who kill themselves. Most suffer from depression or mental disorders, and many have a history suicide attempts, either personally or within their family. Family violence, including physical or sexual abuse, play a role, as does exposure to the suicidal behavior of others. Suicide was the seventh leading cause of death for males and the fifteenth leading cause of death for females in 2007, with men killing themselves four times more often than women. Suicide was the third leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 24. Among young people, gay youth are significantly more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers, and bullying plays a significant role in that higher rate.
How can you help? This is a tough question because the answer has everything to do with how you see yourself as an individual and where you are on your journey toward becoming the person you ultimately want to be (whoever that is). The best way to help, I think, is to be supportive of others, especially others who are struggling with issues of bullying. You might do this by simply being a friend and a sympathetic ear, by listening to those who are struggling and helping them come up with constructive ways of dealing with the issues they're facing. Gay/Straight Alliances (GSAs) in high schools across the country provide a forum for this kind support. If your school has one, you might consider getting involved. If it doesn't have one, perhaps you and some of your fiends might consider starting one.
You don't need a GSA, though, to be supportive. All you really need is a bit of imagination and a dedication to making things better for yourself and your classmates. What you're doing in your sociology class is a great example of how you can help. By asking the questions you ask, and taking the positions you have on issues such as AIDS, you're coaxing your classmates out of their complacent assumptions by forcing them to actually think about issues they've never confronted before. There is no gay disease; a cold is a cold is a cold. From discoveries like these tolerance is born, and tolerance is what healthy societies are built on - sociologically speaking.
So, I guess my answer to your question about how you can help those who may be thinking of suicide is to be a friend to them, to help them deal with their individual struggles. At the same time, continue to look for ways to challenge the assumptions that society makes that cause individuals to struggle in the first place.
Hope this helps, Ashton. Good luck in Sociology, and congratulations on getting that A grade!