London professor condemns fundamentalists for misinterpreting his research
A leading British academic has spoken out after his work into homosexuality and depression was presented as proof that gay people are mentally disordered.
Fundamentalist Christian news sources LifeSite and OneNewsNow published an article which claimed research by Michael King, University College London’s Professor of Primary Care Psychiatry, proves lesbians, gays and bisexuals experience depression because homosexuality itself is a mental disorder:
“Dr. Rick Fitzgibbons, a psychiatrist and member of the Catholic Medical Association, says there is evidence that homosexuality is itself a manifestation of a psychological disorder accompanied by a host of mental health problems, including “major depression, suicidal ideation and attempts, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, conduct disorder, low self-esteem in males and sexual promiscuity with an inability to maintain committed relationships,”” they reported.
Box Turtle Bulletin, an activist website that fights to expose the “ex-gay” movement, reports that Professor King, the lead author of the study, has denounced the article.
“LifeSite News and OneNewsNow have misinterpreted our review,” he said.
“Evidence from around the world identifies the main stressors leading to mental distress in gay and lesbian people as discrimination, prejudice, bullying in schools and colleges, and the consequent need for many LGB people to keep their homosexual identity secret, even from their families.
“Our review did not examine links between mental disorder and homosexual “behaviour” or “lifestyle”.
“Our work reviewed studies of the mental health of lesbian, gay and bisexual people, and sadly, those studies showed that it is people (not behaviour) that are discriminated against, and not least by religious groups and organisations.
“Discrimination on the grounds of sexuality is even more devastating than other forms of discrimination such as racism, as it reaches right into families and leaves no refuge for its victims.
“We suggest in our review that the availability of alcohol and drugs at gay social venues may be a factor in the greater risk of drug and alcohol misuse in LGB people.
“Reducing this problem is something for which LGB people must take greater responsibility.
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“However, the fact that discrimination still exists in our societies means that many are forced to use such venues to meet each other rather than through more common ways available to heterosexuals, such as at work, during the pursuit of hobbies and past-times, or at church.
“There is now abundant evidence that homosexuality is not itself a mental disorder and that it is compatible with a healthy lifestyle.
“We shall only begin to see a reduction in mental distress and deliberate self harm in LGB people when all sectors of society welcome them as equal and valuable citizens.”
The study, published by the journal BMC Psychiatry, was based on an analysis of 25 past studies of sexuality and mental health.
According to the research, lesbians and gays are also more prone to substance abuse and suicide attempts.
Lesbian, gay and bisexual people are 50% more likely than straight people to have suffered depression or anxiety disorders.