A study from the Université de Montréal and McGill University has shown that gay and lesbians who come out are in better physical and mental health than those who are in the closet and straight people.
‘Coming out is no longer a matter of popular debate but a matter of public health,’ the study’s lead author Robert-Paul Juster told Montreal Gazette.
But Juster added that ‘coming out might only be beneficial for health when there are tolerant social policies that facilitate the disclosure process’.
The study, published in Psychosomatic Medicine, measured levels of the stress hormone cortisol in 87 men and women, some straight, some out of the closet and some in the closet.
‘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,’ said Juster.
Juster admitted it was surprising that the study also showed that out lesbians and gay men were healthier than straight people, because usually minorities have poorer health than majorities. He suggested this could be because coming out as a sexual minority builds psychological strength.