Entries in Gays (4)


Same-Sex Marriage May Have Mental Health Benefits, Study Finds

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- As the Supreme Court gears up to hear arguments on the legality of same-sex marriage, a new study suggests such unions may boost mental health.

Gay, lesbian and bisexual people who are married have significantly lower levels of psychological distress when compared to their non-married counterparts, according to a study published Thursday in the American Journal of Public Health.

“On one level, it’s not surprising,” said study author Allen LeBlanc, a professor of sociology at San Francisco State University.  “We know that heterosexual marriage provides a higher perception of social integration and support.  It makes sense that same-sex marriages would carry some of the same benefits.”

The data comes from the 2009 California Health Interview Survey, which includes data from more than 47,000 heterosexual and homosexual men and women, ages 18 to 70.  Participants were asked about psychosocial distress, legal relationship status, education and employment status, and self-perceived overall health.

The study found that psychological distress was not significantly distinguishable among people in legally recognized same-sex or heterosexual relationships.  There were, however, big differences in well-being between gay, lesbian and bisexual men and women who were married and those who were not in any sort of legally recognized union.

The Supreme Court announced last Friday that it would reassess the legality of two significant anti-gay marriage laws: California’s Proposition 8 and the Federal Defense of Marriage Act.

“[The laws] were not designed to harm mental health among LGBs [lesbian, gay and bisexual people], but it appears that such policies may indeed harm sexual minority populations,” said LeBlanc.

LeBlanc said more research is needed to determine whether individuals’ well-being increases when their kind of relationship gets legal backing.

He also said marriage is significantly protective against distress in heterosexual couples as well.

“The social environment of our lives affects well-being for everyone,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Milwaukee Public Middle School a Haven for Gay Youth

ABC News(MILWAUKEE) -- It's literally dangerous to be young and coming out of the closet.  Transgendered kids suffer a high rate of homicide.  And more and more gay teenagers are committing suicide because they were bullied for it.

Last month, 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer took his own life after being bullied at school for being gay.  His death has sparked a national debate about how to stop bullying in schools.  Rodemeyer's idol, Lady Gaga, even asked President Obama to make bullying a hate crime.  But is passing a law really the answer?

One all-American city may have already come up with a unique solution.  Milwaukee is home to the first public middle school where coming out of the closet is accepted, even if you're in the sixth grade.

Fourteen-year-old Emiliano Luna was one of The Alliance School's youngest openly gay students.

"You can truly be yourself here, without having to worry about being picked on or threatened or beat up," he said.

Respect and risk-taking are other key lessons in a class at the school known as Life Skills.  Fifteen-year-old Robbie said he took a big risk coming out to his parents so young.

"They respect it. They don't get it, but they respect it," he said, adding that it was a risk worth taking.

Alicia Moore, a teacher at Alliance, said Robbie found a safe haven there: "Robbie, early on in the school year, came to school with a black eye.  I said, 'Robbie, what happened?'  He said, 'not everyone is as nice as they are here.'"

The school has made efforts to make every student feel comfortable inside and outside of the classroom.

"This is the unisex middle school bathroom," said 16-year-old Becca Dybao, while proudly giving ABC News a tour of her school.  "We do this so students can feel if they want to be a tranny, they can be a female."

A bathroom for kids who are transgendered might be seen as controversial, but students and parents feel that it's a life-saver for kids who are bullied every day.

The Alliance School has had its share of critics and setbacks.  When the school faced the possibility of losing its charter, lead teacher Tina Owen said the school was "life or death for some of these kids."  Students from the school pleaded in front of their local school board to keep Alliance open.

The board agreed to keep the school open for at least three more years amid cheers and applause from students and teachers.  It's a victory for kids like Emiliano, who, like Jamie Rodemeyer, adores Lady Gaga.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Gay Marriage Quandary: Am I the Bride or Groom?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- On the first day that New York State allowed same-sex couples to start the process to get a marriage license this week, Sandra Rodriguez-Diaz and her lesbian partner Miriam Soriano had to make an "awkward" choice on the application form: Who was the bride and who was the groom?

Fredy H. Kaplan and Anthony Cipriano faced the same confusion filling out their personal information, according to a story in The New York Times -- until Kaplan declared to his partner of six years, "You're going to be the bride."

Clerks at city hall told baffled couples to wait until online application forms could be adjusted to accommodate same-sex couples, who captured the right to marry July 24 after New York joined five other states and the District of Columbia to legally sanction gay marriage.

As the right to marry gains momentum across the United States, same-sex couples are redefining the traditional roles of husband and wife, and bureaucrats are scrambling to keep pace with the social revolution.

"This kind of thing doesn't set well with [Mayor] Michael Bloomberg," said Richard Socarides, president of the national advocacy group Equality Matters and former advisor to President Bill Clinton on issues affecting gays and lesbians.

It only took Bloomberg -- one of the most vocal supporters of the gay marriage bill -- 24 hours to straighten out the mess, ordering the city clerk to update the online applications to rephrase the personal information categories to "Bride/Groom/Spouse A" and "Bride/Groom/Spouse B."

"I think it's important not to try to put gay couples in traditional heterosexual married roles," said Socarides.  "What we consider traditional roles of the husband and the wife, even in a heterosexual relationship, are certainly evolving into something different.  Just like everything else, it happens much more quickly in the digital age."

But even as modern heterosexual couples are moving beyond stereotypes, cultural perceptions of gay couples -- one is assertive and masculine, the other more feminine and submissive -- still persist.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Graphic HIV/AIDS Video Horrifies Gay Community

Photo Courtesy - New York City Health Department (NEW YORK) -- A public service announcement produced by the New York City Health Department promoting condom use to prevent HIV/AIDS has horrified advocacy groups, who say it demonizes and frightens gays and those living with the disease.

The video, which aired on such cable networks as the gay and lesbian channel Logo, Bravo and the Travel Channel, chides, "When you get HIV, it's never just HIV. You're at a higher risk for dozens of diseases even if you take medications, like osteoporosis, dementia, and anal cancer."

Gay advocacy groups and blogs were barraged by complaints after viewing the video on YouTube.

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and the Gay Men's Health Crisis in New York are demanding the video be withdrawn, saying scare tactics do not work and that the PSA is stigmatizing.

"While it's extremely important that we continue to educate New Yorkers about HIV/AIDS prevention, the sensationalized nature of the commercial, including its tabloid-like fear tactics, misses the mark in fairly and accurately representing what it's like to live with HIV/AIDS," said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios.

"It's our hope that the department will work with us to create a PSA that promotes safety and solutions, rather than stigma and stereotype."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio