So let me ask you an honest question. Don’t get offended. Just think it over.
Okay, what is it?
Do you think gay people are happier than straight people?
Well, why do you ask?
It just seems to me that gay people are much more judgmental and that they have much higher rates of depression.
Well, first you have to consider that gay people represent only a small portion of the population. But they are represented and equally distributed among all of the population, no matter the country, religion, or political affiliation. So this can only be measured per capita.
Well, of course, of course. Still, they seem so much more unhappy to me.
That isn’t untrue. Gay people go through a lot more struggles than straight people inherently just because they are gay.
What do you mean? That doesn’t seem fair to say.
Let’s come back to that. Would you agree that kids who grow up in lower socio-economic homes, in poverty, or in foster care have a greater likelihood to struggle with depression and anxiety than kids who grow up in happy homes that are free of abuse and where there is plenty?
Well of course. That seems obvious.
Okay, and on the flip side, kids who grow up with hardship and then learn to rise above it, would you agree that they tend to have happier and more fulfilling lives, or at least a better sense of self, than people who just had everything handed to them? I didn’t word that well, but do you know what I mean?
Sure, if you have to fight for things, you learn to appreciate them more.
So that holds true for the gay community, on both sides. Gay kids learn very young how to hide themselves. You know my story, how I knew even at 5 years old that I didn’t fit in with the other kids. So I didn’t get healthy development. I was teased for being different, and internally I grew to hate myself for being gay, or different, for not being right.
Yes, we’ve talked about your years growing up.
So it’s the same. When you grow up bullied, different, set apart, or hating yourself, you are more likely to have depression, anxiety, and trauma. And again, gay people are represented in every part of humanity, so those in home with poverty or abuse, those in foster care, etc, they are even more likely to grow up with mental health issues.
Then there is coming out. Coming out for me meant devastating consequences and changes in my relationships. That was another thing I had to survive.
So on the flip side of all of that, you have the people who survived, who fought hard for what they have, and they tend to love themselves in greater quantities. You’ve seen that with me. You knew me back then, when I didn’t like myself, and you see how loudly I live now. I fought for it, and I’m very mentally well now.
Still, the gay community as a whole seems so unhappy. There seems to be a hierarchy out there, you know?
There is certainly a lot of unhappiness. And I know exactly what you mean. Gay people constantly shame themselves and others. Males in particular expect perfection, emotionally stability, and fit bodies. They idolize the most masculine and successful. It’s programmed into them, just like it is in the straight community for both men and women. It’s likely very different for lesbians.
And honestly, the strongest people I know are transgender people, who grew up with SO much more hardship than me, and have to fight SO much harder to get to where they are. I know so many that I consider heroes.
Surely not all of them.
Definitely not all of them. Again, trans people are cut from all fabrics.
So you think gay people have to fight harder, that there is greater depression and anxiety, and also greater happiness after they win the fight?
I think that is fair to say. It’s the same for women over men, and people of color.
I’m not sure I always agree, but I certainly do appreciate your insights and your way of explaining things. I think you’re pretty wonderful.
I think you’re pretty wonderful too. And better yet? For the last few years, I like to think that I am also pretty wonderful. And it feels good to say that. After all, gay means happy, right?