Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Anti-Gay Prejudice Is Killing Gay People

A study just released by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health finds that gay people living in communities entrenched with high levels of anti-gay bigotry, prejudice, and hate, are expected to die 12 years earlier than their peers living in more progressive and accepting environments.

“Shorter life expectancy of 12 years on average for LGB individuals in communities with high vs. low stigma,” a statement on the study reads.
“Our findings indicate that sexual minorities living in communities with higher levels of prejudice die sooner than sexual minorities living in low-prejudice communities, and that these effects are independent of established risk factors for mortality, including household income, education, gender, ethnicity, and age, as well as the average income and education level of residents in the communities where the respondents lived,” the study’s lead author, Mark Hatzenbuehler, PhD, assistant professor of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia, said in a statement. “In fact, our results for prejudice were comparable to life expectancy differences that have been observed between individuals with and without a high school education.”
The study looked at data from 1988 to 2008.
“In order to examine the relationship between prejudice and mortality, the researchers constructed a measure capturing the average level of anti-gay prejudice in the communities where LGB individuals lived… This information on sexual orientation and community-level prejudice was then linked longitudinally to mortality data via the National Death Index, through 2008. Thus, 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.” [Bolding ours]

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