For a while now, it’s been interesting to watch as scientists have learned about the connections between physical and emotional/mental well-being, so here’s another one to add to the pile:
Being bullied for being gay or lesbian can lead to a hormonal disruption that can boost suicide rates, memory loss, cardiovascular problems and bone density depletion, a study by a Concordia University graduate shows.
“This shows that homophobia is bad for your health,” said the study’s author, Michael Benibgui. The newly released study is the first to prove a biological link between homophobic bullying and long-lasting physical and psychological conditions, he said.
The study involved 63 Montrealers between the ages of 18 and 25 who answered questionnaires and provided saliva samples in 2003 and 2004, said Benibgui, who was doing his doctoral thesis at the time. Part of the study was made public in 2005, but Benibgui didn’t get around to releasing the rest until now.
The results showed that victims of homophobia had disruptions in their output of cortisol, a hormone released in the brain as a response to stress. Normally, cortisol levels are highest in the morning and lowest in the evening, but those facing homophobic bullying consistently produced higher levels throughout the day, Benibgui said.
And yet parental, family and peer support for a person who is lesbian, gay or bisexual was the greatest countermeasure to cortisol disruption. Such support also strongly affected the person’s resiliency.
How interesting! It’s not surprising, though, since the gay people I have known throughout my life who have been the healthiest all around are those who were accepted and loved by their families, friends and yes, churches.