Happy Pride Month?

Happy Pride Month?

It’s June which is known as Pride Month among the LGBTQ* community. It promotes visibility, acceptance and equality. While a lot of people are celebrating and joyfully take part in parades, part of the community is not at all happy, even depressed. 

Studies have shown an increased risk for LGB people to suffer from unhappiness and depressive episodes. Further, they show elevated levels of suicide and suicidal ideation. A common explanation given for these mental health issues is the discrimination that LGBTQ* are confronted with regularly, especially in ways of homophobia. Additionally, homophobia has been associated with decreased self-esteem. A lower self-esteem can be detrimental, since it plays a protecting role against discrimination and therefore depression. 

The present study investigates whether LGB individuals experience more depression compared to heterosexuals. Since the focus of the study was sexual orientation and not gender identity, we only collected data of LGB individuals. It is expected that the effect will be greater for individuals with low self-esteem. Further, it is expected that bisexual individuals will experience more depression compared to heterosexuals, lesbians and gays. This is because bisexual individuals are often perceived as being stuck between the both worlds and not fully accepted by the LGBTQ* community nor by the heteronormative society. 

The study was done by more than 200 University students from Maastricht University which were asked to self-identify their sexual orientation in an online survey. Furthermore, they responded to 3 questionnaires that tested for current levels of discrimination, depression and self-esteem. The findings will contribute to a better understanding of the feelings and mental health of LGB individuals especially at Maastricht University. This study stresses the importance to collectively create a more comfortable environment at University. In addition to that, it is possible to generalize the findings to develop interventions and tailored health support in the future.

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