Black gays have fewer mental disorders
African-American lesbians, gay men and bisexuals have significantly fewer mental disorders than their white counterparts, a U.S. study found.
Based on the theory that stress related to prejudice would increase risk for mental disorders, researchers expected that black lesbians, gay men and bisexuals face prejudice related to both racism and homophobia and would have more mental disorders than their white counterparts. These researchers must have been WASPs. The named expectation is biased, turning a blind eye to racism in society: it overlaps race pertainance and sexual orientation like they were additive. A child instead finds out about himself being different in race years before sexual orientation comes into play.
Accordingly, researchers at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in New York found coloured groups may have effective ways to cope with prejudice related to racism and homophobia. However, they also found more black and Latino gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals than whites reported a history of serious suicide attempts.
“Because these suicide attempts occurred at an early age, typically during the teenage, we can speculate that they coincided with a coming-out period and were related to the social disapprobation afforded to lesbian, gay, and bisexual identities,” study leader Ilan H. Meyer said in a statement. This is surprising only if one were to assume, that different racial communities had a homogenously shaped approach towards gender role and sexual orientation. On the other hand side, social pressure on identity development and sexual orientation might select for powerful coping mecanisms in coloured young adults that could explain racial differences in emotional problems later in life.
The study found across all race/ethnic groups, younger cohorts of lesbians, gay men and bisexuals — ages 18 to 29 and 30 to 44 compared with 45 to 59 years old — had lower prevalence of almost all mental disorders categories, and the difference was statistically significant for mood disorders. Statistical significance applies here to differences in the checked parameters, not to the soundness of the study. 388 assessed individuals are certainly not enough to draw consistent conclusions of such a complexity about interaction between society and individual!
On the other hand side, being victimized because of sexual orientation is a chief risk factor for suicidal behavior among gay, lesbian and bisexual U.S. college students, as University of Washington researcher Heather Murphy desribed. (Murphy had more than 500 students answer questionnaires containing 86 questions and found 56 of the students said they had seriously considered suicide in the previous 12 months, while a dozen of them attempted suicide.) The study also uncovered a group of students who previously had not been studied and are at increased risk for suicidal behavior — students who identify themselves as heterosexual, but also report being attracted to people of the same sex or engaging in same-sex behavior. This group was three times as likely as heterosexuals to have made a plan to commit suicide in the past year and six times more likely to have actually attempted suicide in the same period, Murphy said.
Gay, lesbian and bisexual students also were twice as likely as heterosexuals to have planned and to have attempted suicide in the previous year.
The study found gay, lesbian and bisexuals and the same-sex attracted heterosexuals, experienced significantly more verbal and physical victimization than did heterosexual students.
Am J Public Health. 2007 Sep 27; [Epub ahead of print]
Past studies have reported little about variability in mental disorders among lesbians, gay men, and bisexual individuals. We assessed the prevalence of psychiatric disorders in 388 lesbian, gay, and bisexual Black, Latino, and White individuals. Black lesbians, gay men, and bisexual individuals had lower prevalence of all disorders than did Latino and White individuals; younger cohorts had fewer mood disorders than did older cohorts; bisexual persons had more substance use disorders than did gay men and lesbians; and Latino respondents attempted suicide more often than did White respondents.