Broadly, LGBTQ2 people are more likely to experience negative mental health symptoms, such as anxiety and depression, and to experience suicidal thoughts and report previous suicide attempts across their lifespan than heterosexual and cisgender people. They are also at a heightened risk of engaging in negative health behaviours, such as smoking. A large part of this inequity comes from stressors mentioned within the minority stress model.
Sexual and gender minorities also show elevated rates of physical and sexual violence motivated by the perception of their LGBTQ2 identity.
LGBTQ2 youth also present similar health concerns as LGBTQ2 adults, such as a higher risk for mental health problems such as depression, and substance use than their peers. However, they are also at risk of homelessness and school harassment or victimization. For sexual and gender diverse youth, homelessness is related to family conflict or rejection of their sexual and/or gender identity. Although LGBTQ2 youth’s homelessness is on the rise in Canada and other developed countries, there seems to be a lack of shelters for LGBTQ2 youth that are sensitive toward their specific needs. Additionally, school harassment and/or victimization on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is more common among LGBTQ2 youth than their straight/cisgender peers.
Across research, internalized homophobia is shown as a significant, contributing factor in the negative mental health and behaviour experiences of queer people. In other words, someone’s negative view of their identity as an LGBTQ2 person increases their likelihood of experiencing depression, anxiety, issues with self-esteem, suicidal thoughts and substance use.