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It’s hatred that makes gays feel suicidal

September 27, 2012
The Journal

To the editor:

Given limited space, I doubt I can refute all the proselytizing in James J. Joyce's latently homophobic screed in the Sept. 26 Letters to the Editor, but I can sure try. Within his sanctimonious diatribe, Joyce equates homosexuality with compulsive eating, drinking, gambling, shopping, smoking, and finally, sex addiction. In order to combat this "disordered passion," he suggests that gays and lesbians who are feeling hopeless seek out the Catholic organization, Courage.

The implication of Joyce's letter seems to be that this hopelessness that many gays and lesbians feel is a direct result of their "disordered passion," and he cites a study that noted increased rates in suicide attempts for young men who have sex with men. The fact that there is a higher rate of suicide among gays and lesbians is by no means new information, and young gay men and women are especially at risk. However, Joyce confuses correlation with causality. The hopelessness that gay people feel has less to do with their sexual impulses and more to do with hatred, especially that which hides under the cover of compassionate religiosity. If Joyce wants gay people to feel less hopeless, maybe he should stop referring to their sexual orientation as "disordered passion."

So, for anyone who is feeling hopeless because they are gay, here is the hope I can offer: it's not you, it's them. You do not have "disordered passion" but rather the less exciting trait of being gay. This is something you CANNOT change, as I and every other ex-Catholic adult gay man can attest to (if we could have prayed ourselves straight, we would have). Don't resign yourself to a life of misery, and don't let the bigotry of others turn into self-hatred. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you, and the sooner you accept that, the better.

If you are contemplating suicide and cannot find someone in your life to reach out to, I recommend contacting The Trevor Project (

Matthew Sweeney

New Ulm



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