Study after study has documented that many LGBTQ people experience psychological distress because of minority stress – in other words, the stress of being denied equality, whether because they are actively discriminated against or simply denied equal access to protections that straight or cisgender people take for granted.
A new study by UCLA’s Williams Institute adds to the evidence that when these kinds of barriers are removed, physical and mental health benefits can and do follow.
In this case, the authors were specifically looking at the right to marry. Among the key findings of the study, entitled Impact of Civil Marriage Recognition for Long Term Same-Sex Couples, were that:
“...participants in a civil marriage reported higher levels of LGB identity centrality and support from partner. Residing in a state that recognized civil marriage was associated with lower levels of LGB identity concealment, a less difficult process accepting one’s LGB identity, and less vigilance and isolation.”
This underscores what medical, legal, and behavioral health providers have said for years: stop the discrimination, and health and well-being improves.
That seems obvious to many of us in the LGBTQ community. But let’s not forget that there are many out there still trying to blame our distress on our identities. They propose to “fix” the problem with dangerous so-called remedies like changing one’s core identity through the long-debunked and dangerous approach of “conversion therapy.”
Kudos to the Williams Institute for contributing once again to our movement by quantifying the data and allowing us to move past anecdotes, and adding to the arsenal of information showing that which we know to be true.
Read the full study here.