Gay Couples Aren’t As Healthy As Straight Married Couples Probably Because They’re Stressing About Being Gay Couples
Marriage has been known to have all kinds of nice health benefits, including living longer and having better mental health. But if you’re in same-sex relationship and, for whatever reason, haven’t tied the knot, those lovely bonuses don’t apply to you. So says science. Health disparities brought straight to you from homophobia and the stress it creates.
Time reports that a study published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior pooled info from 1,634 women living with same-sex partners and 1,659 men living with their male partners. From 1997 to 2009, said participants were part of the National Health Interview Surveys.
Researchers were able to confirm the growing sentiment that married people are healthier than non-married heathens. But same-sex partners reported poorer health than straight married couples, making queer couples “a very interesting population, not only for politics, but in terms of the health disparities,” according to lead study author Hui Liu.
Even after controlling for socioeconomic status, the results weren’t promising:
…men living in same-sex relationships were 61% more likely to report being in fair or poor health compared to men in heterosexual marriages, and women who were living with their female partners were 46% more likely to report the same lower health status compared to women in heterosexual marriages.
Researchers reportedly didn’t find any “variations” when factoring race and gender in their comparison. But a difference between same-sex partnered women and single ladies was noted:
Black women who were living with their female partners had worse health than black women in any other non-married status. Conversely, same-sex cohabiting white women had better health than heterosexual cohabiters and divorced white women.
Time reports that stress and societal pressures “may explain” what has the partnered queer community in such poor health. Particularly when you take into account the “higher amount of homophobia and discrimination [black women] may experience living as lesbians, which may adversely influence their health.”
If you’re lucky enough to live in a place that doesn’t have “God hates fags” ringing in your ears, than there’s always the impending doom of knowing you couldn’t see your partner in the hospital, or having your children dropped from your health insurance.
If you’re not worried about being fired from your job for being gay (which is currently legal in 29 states), then there’s always the possibility that you won’t be recognized as your child’s guardian while on vacation. And nothing stresses quite like money woes. Imagine having to cough up over a quarter of a million dollars in estate tax after your partner of 44 years dies — simply because the federal government doesn’t recognize your marriage.
I just aged five years thinking about it.
It’s for all these reasons that Liu suggests that it would be in the best interest of LGBTQ health to legalize same-sex marriage for those who want it. Oh, we’re getting there.