Suicides among the third-sex population in the Philippines have
increased dramatically lately.
Dr. Corazon Raymundo, project coordinator of the
Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Studies (YAFSS), said local
adolescent medicine experts are seeing an increase in suicide
incidents among Filipino gays and lesbians.
“Among practitioners, we cannot deny the fact
that there has been a continuing rise in suicide incidents among
gays and lesbians in the country,” she noted.
Local experts believe the trend could be blamed
on the conservative Filipino culture that impels families to
prohibit their homosexual children from “coming out of the
closet.” This conservatism clashes with the increasing liberalism
in society, particularly in the expression of one’s sexuality.
The frustrations and the lack of acceptance of
gays and lesbians in their respective families and their immediate
social milieu trigger their decision to commit suicide, experts
International studies have shown that there is
an inverted relationship between psychosocial problems and the age a
person comes out of the closet to declare his or her individual
The studies suggest that the younger a person
is, the harder it is to cope with being a homosexual.
Other risk factors identified include atypical
gender behavior (femininity), abuse of drugs or alcohol, poor
self-regard, family conflicts, rejection by family or friends,
depression and low socioeconomic status.
It also showed that young homosexual men are
more prone to suicide attempts than young lesbians.
So what predisposes young lesbians and gays to
Interestingly, it is the support our culture
gives to the heterosexual development of young persons through
various customs, rituals and guidelines.
Simply put, “the sexuality of the heterosexual
child is reflected on, idealized and developed, while the sexuality
of the homosexual child is not.”
A YAFSS study showed that a stunning 12 percent
of the Filipino youths have had at least one suicide attempt.
Even with this pronounced level of suicide
already reported, the study stressed that there is a great
likelihood the figures are understated based on what have already
been established by previous studies.
“This is because suicide is not something to
be proud of and easy to talk about,” the report said.
In most cases, it continued, nonreporting of
suicides is due to nonacceptance by their religion, sensitivity to
its impact on the family, as well as social and business reasons.
Young people with higher suicidal tendencies,
the report cited, are those in unstable unions, whose parents broke
up at an early age, in conditions such as being out of school, low
educational attainment and those who have experienced working and
earning but currently idle and unproductive.
Dr. Erlinda Cuisia Cruz, program secretary of
the Philippine Society of Adolescent Medicine Inc., noted that many
young people who attempted or committed suicide only want “to
attract attention and not really die.”
Unfortunately, the drug combination that a young
adult normally ingests to “attract attention” oftentimes leads
More males are successful in committing suicide
while most females who attempt suicide, fail, the study said.
Dr. Randy Misael Dellosa, counselor for the Life
Change Recovery Center, advised that people should take seriously a
family member or friend who tells them of wanting to commit suicide.
Dellosa also noted that when a “popular
student” commits suicide, a cluster of suicide attempts among
other students might follow.
Based on the data obtained from the World Health
Organization (WHO), only 2.5 males out of 100,000 commit suicide
while the female ratio is lower at 1.7.
These statistics roughly translate to about
2,000 Filipino males and 1,360 females committed suicide based on
the 1993 WHO mortality data on Filipinos.
A WHO report also said the most common
behavioral disorder leading to suicide is depression, although the
rates are also high for schizophrenia.