advertisement
11 October 2011

Stigma still affects gays and lesbians

The stigma and inequalities that lesbian, gay and bisexual people face on a daily basis can increase their stress levels and affect their well-being, according to a new study.

0

The stigma and inequalities that lesbian, gay and bisexual people face on a daily basis can increase their stress levels and affect their well-being, according to a new study.

"Imagine living life anticipating exclusion from your friends, family and professional circles simply because of who you are and who you love - that resulting stress takes a toll on one's life and health," said the study's co-author, Ilan Meyer, of the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law.

The researchers set out to determine how stress resulting from daily, non-traumatic events, such as isolation at work and estrangement from families, affected 57 lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) people. The researchers were interested in everyday occurrences, rather than overt abuse or hate crimes.

Black and Hispanic study participants reported the stress from homophobia, racism and sexism led to certain missed life opportunities, including educational advancement, and less self-confidence.

"For members of minority groups, day-to-day life experiences that may seem minor to others can and do have significant and lasting impact on one's well-being," said Meyer. "The idea that simply walking out your door will expose you to societal rejection and stigma creates a climate of stress that can lead to detrimental, long-term consequences."

The study was recently published online in Sexuality Research and Social Policy.

Defining moments

If a silver lining is to be found, some of the participants reported that being stigmatised helped to define them as individuals and forced them to explore new and more positive avenues they might not have considered otherwise.

The researchers concluded the findings could help shape public policy by shedding light on the less obvious effects of social inequality on lesbians, gays and bisexuals.

"The study's results show policymakers need to think more broadly than simply reducing extreme forms of abuse through measures like anti-bullying policies," said Meyer in a journal news release.

"Although reducing abuse and violence should be a primary focus, policy measures that enhance positive aspects of gay identity, like interventions that connect LGB persons to their communities, could help reduce the stress caused by social exclusion," Meyer said.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides more information on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender health.


(Copyright © 2010 HealthDay. All rights reserved.)

Read more:

Gay, lesbian and bisexual expert

Gay, lesbian and bisexual community

 
NEXT ON HEALTH24X

More:

StressNews
advertisement

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Watch out! »

Gross fungal infections you can pick up at the gym

You go to gym to exercise. But make sure the only thing you pick up is a dumbbell and not one of these gross fungal infections.

Holiday health »

Your 10-step asthma holiday checklist

Don’t let asthma ruin your summer holiday. Whether you are travelling or embracing the summer at home, make sure you plan ahead.