Lesbian and bisexual women live shorter lives than heterosexual women, here’s why

According to a study published on April 25, 2024 by Harvard researchers, lesbian and bisexual women have a shorter life expectancy than their heterosexual peers. The cause is mental and physical health deteriorated by the stress linked to their marginalization and stigmatization.

This is supported by a new study conducted by researchers at Harvard University and released by the American magazine The Lawyer, Lesbian and bisexual women die much younger than their heterosexual counterparts. This difference would be due to “large health disparities”in particular “ physical, mental and behavioral »influenced in particular by the social stigma suffered by LGBTQI+ people.

Lesbian and bisexual women live 26% less than heterosexual people

This new study, published in the academic journal JAMAis based on the results of previous research that followed nurses born between 1945 and 1964, of whom 89,821 (98.9%) declared themselves heterosexual, 694 (0.8%) lesbian and 318 (0.4%) bisexual .

Compared to heterosexual participants, lesbian and bisexual participants experienced earlier mortality. Bisexual women have the shortest life expectancy, dying 37% earlier than heterosexual women. Lesbian women die 20% earlier and both die completely 26% earlier than heterosexual women.

“Lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) women are consistently in poorer physical, mental and behavioral health than heterosexual women,” says the report, cited by The lawyer. “ These disparities are due to chronic and cumulative exposure to stressors (such as interpersonal and structural stigma) that propagate and amplify poor health across the life course ” AND ” they tend to become more pronounced as individuals age. »

Researchers are also concerned about the gap between bisexual women and their peers: as is bisexuality “More concealable than lesbian orientation – many bisexual women have male partners – stressors related to fear of being discovered or feelings of hiding may be more important for bisexual women, who are less likely to reveal their identity to others surrounds them.

For medical care without stigma

To combat this phenomenon, the Harvard report recommends that healthcare professionals follow it “mandatory and specific training on the assistance to be provided to LGB patients”.

“Health disparities for LGB women are the consequence of structural and interpersonal marginalization, which is embedded in the daily lives of LGB women in ways that systematically compromise their access to health services.” researchers abound.

“Because biases in care based on sexual orientation occur at every stage of the care continuum, clinicians and healthcare organizations at all levels, in all specialties, and for all ages have the opportunity to intervene in ways that reduce these disparities and contribute to better health outcomes. »

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