A fifth of gay people tried suicide - study

 

ALMOST 20 per cent of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people have attempted suicide and almost all saw this as related to their sexual identity and the experiences of being abused and feeling isolated, a report to be published today has found.

The study, Supporting LGBT Lives: A Study of the Mental Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People, also found almost one-third of respondents had self-harmed at least once.

To be published today by Minister for Health Mary Harney, the study is the biggest carried out in the Republic into the mental health of gay, lesbian and transgender people.

It clearly shows, according to its authors, “the negative effects of stigmatisation, harassment and discrimination – what is termed ‘minority stress’ – on LGBT people”.

Some 80 per cent of respondents said they had been verbally abused because of their sexual identity and 58 per cent had been bullied in school.

As well as the vast majority having been verbally abused, 40 per cent of respondents had been threatened with physical violence and 25 per cent had been punched, kicked or beaten.

Looking at the experience of school, more than half had been called abusive names related to their sexual orientation by fellow students, 40 per cent had been threatened by fellow students, 20 per cent had missed or skipped school because they felt threatened or were afraid of getting hurt and 34 per cent reported homophobic comments by teachers or other members of staff.

A quarter of those who had ever worked had been called abusive names relating to their sexual identity and 15 per cent had been verbally threatened by colleagues.

The study was carried out by the Children’s Research Centre in Trinity College and the School of Education at UCD.