LGB individuals living in anti-gay communities die early, study shows

Moving to a tolerant community might be irksome, but you'll probably live 12 years longer.

In the first study to look at the consequences of anti-gay prejudice for mortality, researchers found that lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals who lived in communities with high levels of anti-gay prejudice have a shorter life expectancy of 12 years on average compared with their peers in the least prejudiced communities.

... the authors were able to examine whether mortality risk differed for LGB individuals who lived in communities that were characterized by high versus low levels of prejudice. By the end of the study, 92% of LGB respondents living in low-prejudice communities were still alive; in contrast, only 78% of the LGB respondents living in high-prejudice communities were still alive.

LGB respondents living in high-prejudice communities died of suicide on average at age 37.5, compared to age 55.7 for those living in low-prejudice communities, a striking 18-year difference. Homicide and violence-related deaths are one of the most direct links between hostile community attitudes and death, and results indicated that homicide rates were over three times more likely to occur in high-prejudice communities than in low-prejudice communities. Of the deaths in high-prejudice communities, 25% were due to cardiovascular disease, compared to 18.6% of deaths in the low-prejudice communities. [emphasis mine]

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Replies to This Discussion

Well! that is clear enough! Living in homophobic communities is bad for ones health. As usual, the burden is on the one being ostracized to take action, instead of making and enforcing laws against discrimination. We know the health problems occur when race is concerned, I suppose it could be true for other attributes as well. 

I had a little trouble when my neighbors first discovered I was atheist and some dirty tricks occurred. That has been years ago and no problems once they realized I am not a devil. 

I'm no Harvey Milk. It's easier to move than to force an anti-gay community to liberalize. That takes heroes.

Thanks for pointing out the difference in cardiovascular disease! It's not just the "obvious" effects of violent crime and psychological pressure.

Now... how do we turn every community into a low-prejudice community?

Thats exactly what I did 30 years ago. I probsbly would already be dead if not for that move. One can only tske so much.

The good news is, many more people reveal their true attributes and claim them as something in which to be proud. More exposure and discovery of what diversity means and the values of it, there will be less bigotry. I hope to live long enough to see it happen. 

There are many possible confounding factors in this situation, because anti-gay attitudes are linked to so many other things. 

It would be interesting to see a list of communities in the high-prejudice and low-prejudice categories, and see what patterns stand out. 

A perfect question for a dissertation! All you aspiring people making sense of an insane world, take this one on!




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