Anxiety and Depression Among Third Sex, Linked To Prejudice

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Members of the third sex—more specifically the gay and bisexual black men are most prone to prejudice, harassment and violence. A certain study found out that black gay and bisexual men’s experience of these traumatic incidences bring about mental disturbances like depression and anxiety.

The study was conducted through an online survey involving 54 African-American. The survey asked the subject population questions regarding signs and symptoms of anxiety and depression versus the frequency of harassment and discrimination they experience from the community and the workplace. They were also surveyed about how they feel about their sexuality.

The study yielded results showing that thirty percent of these men experienced depression and thirty-three percent experienced anxiety. This rate is considered higher than the general population. Out of the traumatic experiences that these black gay and bisexual men experience, discrimination and harassment are the most common and experienced by 95% of the participants. In fact, these people reported that they experience discrimination and harassment at least once for the past year. What’s more shocking is that eleven percent of them experience discrimination and harassment weekly. Most of them believe that these experiences have something to do with their race and sexual orientation.

A concerning result in this study is that men who repress their high level homo-negativity feelings and keep feelings of shame and disapproval to themselves are more likely to be depressed and anxious. Dr. Ramani Durvasula expressed that “Discrimination in any form is stressful and can be a risk factor for developing symptoms of depression and anxiety. In addition, depression and anxiety can make perceptions of racism, classism and other forms of discrimination far worse.”

Dr. Louis Graham, lead researcher stated that this study proved that mental illnesses and disorders are not all the time related to one’s personal social and biological makeup, in terms of dealing with life events and personal issues. It further shows that mental health problems occur at community level.

Since discrimination may occur in any areas of the society—workplace, school, or even in the public, the following are important steps that the society and community can initiate:

-          Implement policies and regulations that prohibit discrimination. Letting people know this thrust is important for them to take such policies seriously. These policies can be implemented within the office, school or local community. Corresponding penalties may also be given to people exhibiting such behavior.

-          Host meetings, discussions and forums about discrimination and its ill effects in the society as a whole.

-          On a personal level, you may also want to get in touch with advocacy groups that help fight discrimination and assist troubled individuals cope with these traumatic experiences.

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