does coming out decrease stress

Coming Out As Gay Leads To Reduced Stress

Hey there Guys. Today I came across some interesting research that shows coming out as a gay man or woman leads to decreased symptoms of stress as well as lower levels of stress hormones in the blood.

Release this week in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine:

Researchers affiliated with the University of Montreal, tested the levels of cortisol – a stress hormone – and other indicators of stress in homosexuals, bisexuals and heterosexuals.

“Contrary to our expectations, gay and bisexual men had lower depressive symptoms and allostatic load levels (a measure of body stress) than heterosexual men,” lead author Robert-Paul Juster said.

“Lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals who were out to family and friends had lower levels of psychiatric symptoms and lower morning cortisol levels than those who were still in the closet,” he said.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, gay men have different health needs to straight men.

When a gay man or woman is comfortable with their sexuality, including being open with their doctors, particular health risks can be anticipated.

Australian research shows gay men and women have higher risk of depression, anxiety and suicide. I would be interested to see if these levels reduce after coming out as this recent study indicates.

I think it’s important to note is that this research was conducted in Canada where same sex marriage is legal. Currently Australian gay men and women can not marry.  Does this lack of recognition of commited life partnership lead to additional stress?

From my perspective Australia’s lack of gay marriage does lead to increases in stress.

Firstly I am not allowed to have my relationship recognised, but more important, I can not access the services with the ease married heterosexuals can.  Despite the politicians who claim anti-discrimination laws “should be more then enough”, it’s not.

Watching the face of the medicare staffer when I registered my partner of 14 years to access mutual benefits was “more then enough” to make me realize we have a long way to go.

Don’t get me wrong I whole heartedly agree that coming out can reduce the stress of  hiding homosexuality, however there is clearly many factors that contribute to stress when disclosure of sexuality slams against the wall of discrimination.

What are your thoughts?

Yours in good health.

Dr George



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