The Cost of Homophobia: Literature Review on the Human Impact of Homophobia

Research was reviewed related to the negative results of homophobia on gays, lesbians and bisexuals (GLB), and the human impact of such negative effects. Human impact was defined as the number of “pre-mature”deaths caused by homophobia; that is, compared to mortality rates of non-GLB, human costs measures how many GLB die before they otherwise would have as a result of homophobia.

The research reviewed showed that GLB and heterosexuals were equivalent in terms of psychological and psychosocial health and functioning, but that GLB had a shorter life expectancy and faced health risks and social problems at a greater rate than the heterosexual population. The suspected reason for these increased problems is the chronic stress placed on GLB resultant from coping with society’s negative responses and stigmatization.

Eight major health and social issues were examined, which included suicide, smoking, alcohol abuse, illicit drug use, depression, unemployment, murder, and HIV/AIDS. In addition, since homophobia results in substandard health care for GLB, the issue of access and quality of health care services was examined, since ineffective health services and practices exacerbate the health and social issues that were examined.