Remember how elated you were when you found out chocolate and coffee were added to the list of foods that are good for you? Well get ready for another antioxidant boost. A new study from the Université de Montréal and McGill University finds that out gay and lesbian people are mentally and physically healthier than straight people or those who have yet to come out of the closet. To find their results, the study’s lead author Robert-Paul Juster told the Montreal Gazette that he examined 20 biological markers to measure his subjects’ mental and physical health, focusing on the stress hormone cortisol, which, the article says, “can contribute to wear and tear on multiple biological systems. This is known as allostatic load.” He went on to say:
Contrary to our expectations, gay and bisexual men had lower depressive symptoms and allostatic load levels than heterosexual men. … Lesbians, gay men and bisexuals who were out to family and friends had lower levels of psychiatric symptoms and lower morning cortisol levels than those who were still in the closet.
Although Juster admits the findings were surprising, especially given that, historically, minority groups suffer from poorer health than those in the majority, he says the outcome also kind of makes sense:
Gays who had come out had developed superior coping strategies and resilience due to that experience, and gay men tend to take better care of themselves through diet and exercise. … We could see this by their lower triglycerides, lower body mass and lower levels of inflammation.
So, no, you can’t just have a big ol’ bowl of gay and reap its amazing health benefits; you actually need physical activity, too, and, perhaps even more importantly, you need to live in a society that fosters acceptance for the LGBTQ community.
“Coming out might only be beneficial for health when there are tolerant social policies that facilitate the disclosure process. … The role self-acceptance and disclosure have on positive health and well-being of sexual minorities have important implications. Internationally, societies must endeavour to facilitate self-acceptance among (lesbians, gays and bisexuals) by promoting tolerance, progressing policy and dispelling stigma.”
Hear that, Harrisburg and Washington? Not only are you being total assholes for not granting every God-given right to gay people, you’re kind of killing us, too. Chew on that one for a while.