Last week Focus on the Family published an article in which gender issues analyst and “former homosexual” Melissa Fryrear blames “pro-gay advocates” for high suicide rates among lesbian youth:

The survey revealed that nearly four out of 10 lesbian girls say they have attempted suicide in the last year, compared to 8.2 percent of heterosexual girls.

Melissa Fryrear said there’s a reason why the numbers are so high.

“Regrettably, they think they have to embrace homosexuality because pro-gay advocates told them that they were born gay,” she said. “And that is absolutely not true.”

Wayne Besen called and spoke with study’s author, Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc, an Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia who had this to say about Fryrear’s analysis:

“Nothing in the brief results we presented or in our overall study could lead to such conclusions.”

When contacted about Focus on the Family’s claims, [Saewyc] said she was “disturbed” by what “seems to be an attempt to make their opinions more credible by linking them to scientific research–even though the research doesn’t support those beliefs.” She said Focus on the Family draws conclusions well beyond the study results by claiming that lesbians are suicidal because they are “embracing homosexuality,” as well as other inaccuracies in their article.

“Population surveys cannot determine cause and effect,” Saewyc explained, “they can only suggest possible links. Even so, other researchers have not found these sorts of links, and neither have we.”

She added, “What we have found is that sexual, racial, or anti-gay harassment, discrimination, and violence are strongly associated with suicidal attempts among young people — and that includes heterosexual teens too.” She noted her previous study of Seattle high school students, which found 4 out of 5 students experiencing anti-gay harassment identified as heterosexual, and harassed students were significantly more likely to report suicide attempts regardless of their orientation.

This isn’t the first time Fryrear has peddled this bogus idea. She said essentially the same thing last year responding to a Soulforce protest which featured the story of two parents who lost their gay son.

Update: There have been further developments in the story. Please see our updated post here.

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