A couple of weeks ago, the Campaign for Southern Equality, in partnership with Western NC Community Health Services, released results from their 2019 Southern LGBTQ Health Survey.
Both groups are based in Asheville, N.C., and say that this is the most extensive study of its kind on the LGBTQ community in the southern U.S. The research took 18 months to complete and according to the Asheville Citizen-Times, “spotlights unique struggles in mental health, HIV, and access to medical care” for LGBTQ citizens.
The report states some disturbing findings:
- “Respondents reported higher rates of living with HIV when compared to the general population; rates are significantly higher for respondents who are Black or African American, older, gay men, or transgender women of color.”
- “Respondents reported significantly high rates of poor mental health, with pronounced disparities for individuals who are bisexual+, transgender, 18-24 years old, or those with lower incomes.”
- “Respondents reported alarmingly higher rates of suicidal ideation than the general population, with the rate particularly high for transgender and non-binary participants.”
- “Respondents reported alarmingly high rates of depression and anxiety diagnosis and symptom experiences, with the rates especially high for respondents who are bisexual+, transgender, non-binary, or who have lower incomes.”
The Southern LGBTQ Health Survey reflects similar studies like the Household, Income and Labor Dynamics Survey in Australia, which was released in 2015. According to the Sydney Morning Herald’s coverage of that report, “Gay people are less fulfilled with their lives than straight people, have more health problems and are not as happy in their relationships.”
The Herald noted, Roger Wilkins, the report’s author and professor from the University of Melbourne’s Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, said, ‘the life experience of gay people had parallels with people living with a long term impairment, such as a learning difficulty, chronic pain or limited use of their limbs.”
In an opinion piece written for Breakpoint two years ago, John Stonestreet highlighted what he called “the most candid piece in Huffington Post history.” The article highlighted by Stonestreet was written by Michael Hobbs, “who identifies as gay,” and “writes about what he calls an ‘epidemic of loneliness.’”
Stonestreet shared that Hobbs complained: “For years, I noticed the divergence between my straight friends and my gay friends. While one half of my social circle has disappeared into relationships, kids and suburbs, the other has struggled through isolation and anxiety, hard drugs and risky (behavior).”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Rev. Mark H. Creech