Homophobic neighbors lead to health decrease, study shows

Researchers in Australia have published findings showing a demonstrable link between discrimination and low health rates in LGB persons. The study was devised by two academics from the University of Queensland: Francesco Perales and Abram Todd.

The Perales and Abrams paper relied on data from the country’s recent same-sex postal vote. As The Guardian wrote in 2017, Australia took “a decisive step towards legislating marriage equality by Christmas after 61.6% of voters in an unprecedented national postal survey approved a change to the law to allow couples of the same sex to marry.”

While anecdotal information has long argued that prejudice leads to poor-quality-of-life metrics, the Australian study is scientific demonstration of an intuitively-accepted truth.

The same-sex postal vote did not just usher in social change; it allowed research groups to tap into large amounts of demographic information. The Perales-Abrams project was first such research endeavor of this kind in Australia.

The academics measured community-based LGB-phobia by analyzing communities with high percentages of “No” votes, according to postal vote. In other words, those zones were the parts of Australia that reliably opposed same-sex marriage in the 2017 mail survey.

This data was then compared with general information from the HILDA survey–the Household, Income, and Labour Dynamics in Australia study.

HILDA’s data set is comprised of 15,986 respondents. Of these, 554 self-identified as gay, lesbian, or bisexual; trans, queer, and intersex individuals were not included in the study. HILDA allowed researchers to draw conclusions regarding the physical and mental well-being of LGB respondents, versus heterosexual respondents.

In Gay Star News, Perales was quoted as saying “‘Even within a relatively progressive country such as Australia, the lack of acceptance of LGB people and the dearth of social support that they receive are to a large extent responsible for their overall poor health and wellbeing,’

Surprisingly nobody, the “No” zones showed a notable lack of LGB quality-of-life metrics. The researchers concluded that community support for LGB individuals was low in these areas.

The authors said that pro-LGB legislation can (and does) bring about positive health outcomes for people in the gay community.