New research by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health has shocked many observers by showing that black gays have far fewer problems with mental disorder than their white or Latino counterparts.

Psychologists and sociologists have long presumed that homosexual ethnic minorities would suffer from greater mental health problems because they were a member of two groups suffering discrimination.

“These findings suggest that black lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals have effective ways to cope with prejudice related to racism and homophobia”, said lead researcher Dr. Ilan H. Meyer, associate professor of clinical Sociomedical Sciences at the Mailman School of Public Health.

But statistics for suicide are less encouraging.

Black and Latino gays and lesbians and bisexuals had higher instances of attempted suicide than white gays. The most common age for this was in the teenage years, the most common time to come out.

The research was conducted on 388 white, black and Latino New Yorkers – all gay, lesbian or bisexual – between the age of s of 18 and 59.

On an optimistic note, researchers found that across all race and sexuality groups younger individuals had far fewer instances of mental disorder or suicide. This correlates with the theory that a liberalised attitude towards sexual orientation will result in less stress and depression.