Oct. 11 is National Coming-Out Day which is a great day of celebration for all those individuals that made the tough choice to come-out. This day can also be an empowering symbol for those wanting to come-out but don’t quite have the courage to make it through the door. One of the obvious reasons some gay individuals choose to remain closeted deals with fear which is validated through the already recorded homophobia and disdain other Americans have towards the LGBTQ.
Today The New York Times published an article titled “Helping a Child to Come Out” a portion of the work jumps out at you. The part being referred to mentions something called “minority stress”.
“Coming out and coming to terms with being gay is easier now, but it’s a matter of degree and not a complete reversal of the world,” Professor Meyer said. He studies what he refers to as “minority stress” and its effect on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Along with the fear of being rejected or attacked, he has said, such stresses include strain of concealing sexual orientation and inner fears of a second-class existence. “Gay kids do suffer consequences for being gay, and having to deal with social attitudes that are not accepting of them,” he said.
After reading something like that the curiosity really was in full swing and more knowledge was sought. There are a few published works that discuss this issue but there is one article which stands out from the pack to explain how this problem works against the gay community and the negative effects minority stress cause.
Michael P. Dentato of the School of Social Work, Loyola University Chicago has an article published in the American Psychological Association website titled “The minority stress perspective”. If you never heard of this problem and you’re gay, you definitely want to read closely today.
The minority stress perspective adds significant insight into the critical application and evaluation of theory regarding the impact of homophobia and correlates of HIV risk among gay and bisexual men and other sexual minorities. Continued understanding of the role that stigma, prejudice, heteronormativity, rejection and internalized homophobia play in fueling HIV and substance use among gay and bisexual men is also necessary.
The above excerpt is from Dr. Dentato’s article which this column encourages to read thoroughly. Unfortunately we can’t dig deep into what is written but there are some valid points the LGBTQ should be made aware of.
Mr. Dentato and other professionals, in his field and class, agree that minority stress, which is primarily associated with the LGBTQ, causes deep psychological issues which may contribute to the gay community indirectly destroying ourselves. This statement is very important because how many studies and reports have been done to prove being gay comes with a double hardship which leads to an increased decline in living for many gay Americans? Simply put, the so-called plight of the gay community stems from inward demons which manifests in outer effects such as high stats in drug abuse and increased potential of gay families living below the poverty level.
If we as gay people are so screwed up what causes our situation to be so much more difficult and problematic than our heterosexual counterparts? No professional has been able to answer this question with scientific degree and certainty. Minority stress could be the missing link that contributes to the “Down Low” behavior that is widespread throughout the black community which contributes to alarming rates of HIV infections being hirer than any other demographic on the map. There are some that don’t believe gay teen suicide is contributed to being bullied; the child had other psychological problems which throws these kids over the edge. If there are any additional issues that increase the chance of a gay youth committing suicide, minority stress could be the missing link.
This article is not about placing blame but to make the gay community aware there may be need of healing from a real psychological issue in which fear, homophobia, bullying, gay-bashing and the expectations of such torment are in the minds of a great deal of us within the LGBTQ. Do not turn away and let’s do our best to help each other because our pain is not theory but fact.
by Gregory Kelle
Source – examiner.com