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Sexual minorities experience stress as a result of stigmatization. The initial cause of minority stress is the cultural ascription of inferior status to particular groups. This ascription of defectiveness to various categories of people, particularly ategories based on sex, race, social status and sexual preference often precipitate negative life events for the minority member over which the individual has little control.

Stress can potentially lead to negative health outcomes, such as depression, and substance abuse. Research suggests that social support and certain personality characteristics moderate the effects of stress. For example, those who have non-supportive relationships and low self-esteem are more likely to experience an increase in psychosomatic and psychological problems than are individuals with high self-esteem and social support.

For many GLBTQ individuals the major, and sometimes sole, source of social support is the gay community. Relationships with family members are often pivotal. Appropriate social support and validation, although difficult, can provide an opportunity to define one’s own values and own sense of self, which is imperative for a healthy, happy and productive life.

Minority Stress/GLBTQ Issues