Dead Boys Can't Dance: Sexual Orientation, Masculinity, and Suicide

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McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP, 2003 - Psychology - 127 pages
Dead Boys Can't Dance is a ground-breaking exploration of the double taboos of homosexuality and suicide and their effect on males from fourteen to twenty-five. North American society has been reluctant to recognize that there is a link between the social stigmatization of homosexuality and the high level of suicide attempts by adolescent boys who are homosexual or are identified as homosexual by their peers. By examining first-person accounts from teenage boys and young men, Michel Dorais and Simon Louis Lajeunesse shed light on why some of them attempt to take their own lives. Dorais and Lajeunesse analyse the adverse ways being stigmatized as homosexual affects personality and behaviour, discerning four types of reaction: the 'good boy', whose perfectionism and asexuality are an attempt to minimize the difference between how he is perceived and what he is supposed to be; the 'chameleon', who attempts to keep everyone from suspecting his secret but constantly feels like an impostor; the 'designated fag', who serves as a scapegoat to his peers, especially at school, and suffers a consequent rejection and lack of self-esteem; and the 'rebel', who actively rejects any stigma based on his sexual orientation and non-conformity .They show that those who are heterosexual but suspected of being homosexual are most at risk of suicide and they make recommendations for suicide prevention.

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Social Factors and Suicide
The Young Men Studied
Two Profiles Four Scenarios
Life Situations
Isolation Shame and Stigmatization
Resiliency Factors
Recommendations for Suicide Prevention
Challenging Homophobia

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About the author (2003)

Michel Dorais has spent many years working with victims of sexual abuse and juvenile prostitution as a clinical social worker and is now a professor of social work at Laval University in Quebec City. He is the author of ten books dealing with sexuality. Patrice Corriveau is assistant professor in the Department of Criminology, University of Ottawa and the author of La r pression juridique des homosexuels au Qu bec et en France.

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