LGBT people are two to three times more likely to suffer from chronic psychological problems than their cis and straight peers, according to a study recently released by the University of Cambridge.
The Cambridge study is the largest ever of LGBT people: 2 million people were surveyed, of whom 27,000 identified as a “sexual minority” (a term that apparently includes trans people for these purposes, though it’s unclear where their experiences fit into the figures below). Across the board, LGBT people were more likely than cis and straight people to experience chronic mental health problems like depression, and less likely to trust, communicate with or reach out to doctors.
Some specific stats:
Sexual minorities were two to three times more likely to suffer a chronic psychological problem, such as depression. Whilst only 5 percent of heterosexual men reported such a problem, it occurred within 11 percent and 15 percent of homosexual and bisexual men, respectively.
There was a similar pattern amongst women, as 12 percent of lesbians and 19 percent of bisexual women suffered a long-term psychological condition, compared to only 6 percent of heterosexual women.
General health was also of a lower quality amongst the LGBT community, with 22 percent of gay men and 26 percent of bisexual men reporting poor general health, alongside 25 percent and 31 percent of lesbians and bisexual women, respectively.
Heterosexual men and women displayed a better general standard of health, with only 20 percent of men and 21 percent of women classifying their health as poor.
Discrimination, harassment, denial of basic human rights, and internalized hatred can be linked to depression. Also: water wet, sun hot.
The inclusion of trans people with sexual minority folks seems puzzling and combining the two groups may mask some of the high levels of mental distress experienced by trans and gender variant folks. Although as queer people we often work in solidarity with one another, it’s great when researchers tease out the complexities of our lived experiences rather than treating us like one monolithic “other”.