Dave Robinson (pictured above), an openly gay Utah man who serves as the Salt Lake County Republican Party’s communication director, recently said the high rate of suicide among young LGBTQ people is because they get laid too often. Yes, really. His explanation for LGBTQ youth suicide is both mega-dumb and avoids his political party’s contribution to the problem.
In a meeting to discuss Republican policies with the Salt Lake Tribune editorial board, Robinson was asked about suicide rates among the LGBTQ community. Youth suicide is a real issue in Utah as its suicide rate for young adults (ages 10 to 17) more than doubled from 2011 to 2015, a rate four times faster than the national average.
LGBTQ youth suicide in particular represents an even bigger problem. A 2016 report from the Centers for Disease Control says that lesbian, gay and bisexual young people are five times more likely to commit suicide than their straight peers. The National Alliance on Mental Illness says LGBTQ people are four times more likely than straight people to have suicidal or self-harming thoughts.
Mental health experts largely agree that this stems from societal queer-phobia and familial rejection. But Robinson has other ideas.
Dave Robinson said he knows gay men who have had sex with over 2,000 partners. As one outlet pointed out, that’s equivalent to having “sex with one person every day for nearly 5.5 years.” It’s doable, but the likelihood that suicidal young queer folks are depressed because of having 5.5 years worth of daily sex is ludicrous.
Still, Robinson persisted. “You talk to some of these people that have had grundles of sex partners and the self-loathing and basically the unhappiness and the self-hatred level is tremendously high.”
He added, “The gay community really needs to start having some conversations within their community, saying how is our lifestyle affecting our mental health.”
Some people, queer and straight, do use sex as an ineffective method of improving their mental health. But his claim is wildly inaccurate, sex-shaming and completely ignores the fact that Republicans and the Mormon Church have both vilified queer people for years through decades worth of anti-LGBTQ policies. Their political speech regularly accuses young queers of being child molesters, sexual predators and enemies of God.
If Dave Robinson’s solution to LGBTQ youth suicide is to blame gay sluttiness, then he makes a great communication director for a Republican Party seeking to disavow its role in making queer lives unnecessarily difficult.
What do you think of Dave Robinson’s explanation for LGBTQ youth suicide?
Feature image by Steve Griffin via The Salt Lake Tribune