In recent decades, the world has seen an increase in pro-LGBT+ activity. Today, almost thirty countries lawfully recognize and protect gay relationships. In these countries, same-sex couples can get married and sometimes adopt children.
In major democratic entities, LGBTQ+ people work under the protection of equality laws. But the best thing is that the community is starting to get recognized not only by the law but by society, too. Many people now are able to explore their sexuality openly from a young age.
It happens not in the least because of media and the increasing LGBTQ+ representation. Thanks to that kind of liberalization, stigma surrounding minorities have been eased, but not eliminated. Scientists and psychologists now can conduct different researches on the topics of sexuality and sex. Many of them explore sexual identities and some of them – how it influences the quality of one’s being.
Some of these studies have already shown some results. An average gay or bi person tends to be less happy than a heterosexual individual in terms of life satisfaction. That often happens because of the inherently heteronormative norms of modern society.
Heteronormativity is a belief that heterosexuality is the one and only ‘right’ form of sexuality. Over the centuries it has shaped the life of societies all over the world.
Now, it serves the needs of straight people only. A recent study dug deeper – and discovered more. Among other things, there is news about less explored sexuality of the LGBTQA+ spectrum. Pansexuals, asexuals, and other sexuality are reported to face lower life satisfaction, too.
Differences in welfare
This extensive study took five years and 150 thousand responses. It was a part of the Understanding Society survey and there were two main questions to be answered. First, if the happiest heterosexuals are happier than the happiest sexual minorities. Second, if the least happy minorities are less happy than the least happy heterosexuals. Sounds a bit complicated, isn’t it? During the research, it was made sure that the results depend only on sexual identity.
It’s worth mentioning that this study is unique in its own ways. While other surveys explored the average effects of sexual identity on one’s life satisfaction, this study has done more. The aim was to differentiate the life satisfaction levels between heterosexual people and those of various sexual minorities. The latter was studied at different levels of self-reported life satisfaction.
The survey has shown some interesting, yet unsurprising results. Whether a person is happy with their life is indeed connected to how they identify themselves sexually. Though, as it always is, the matter is more complicated than it may seem. According to other results, gay men are less happy than straight men.
The only exception is when homosexual men are on the top of the welfare distribution. The part that studied females shows that there is a difference between the genders. In contrast to gay males, women of this minority tend to be happier than straight women. Here the exception is gay women of lower welfare distribution.
Bisexual people are found to have the lowest rates of life satisfaction. That is, disregarding gender. Consequentially, it leads to emotional deprivation or stress. And as we all know stress is not something you wanna be friends with. Researchers compared these emotional states of less happy bisexuals to sickness or the effects of unemployment.
Pansexuality, asexuality, demisexuality are connected with life’s expectancies and happiness, too. The least happy individual of marginalized sexuality is still less happy than usual heterosexual. One condition is that the given straight person is of the same welfare distribution level.
Under different circumstances, the happiest individual of a marginalized group tends to be happier than the heterosexual of the respective welfare distribution level.
These all results display the ways gender’s interrelates with sexual identity. And the importance of it. As was stated, levels of life satisfaction for gay men and gay women are the opposite.
Despite the intricate wording, it makes sense once you think of the societal norms. Different researches have highlighted that lesbians are more socially acceptable than gay men. So the higher rates of gay women’s life satisfaction may be related to these societal constructs.
The study also suggests that raising awareness has eased the pressure on ‘other’ sexualities. Representation of asexuals, pansexuals, demisexuals, etc., has somewhat decreased the pressure put on them. Compared to the past, now people of these sexualities have less need to explain their sexuality to other people. Try coupling it up with the increasing identity self-awareness and we get the key to the well-being of this group.
The same can’t be said about bisexuals. It is an identity that is known better than asexuality or pansexuality. Being a B from the LGBT acronym, bisexuality has been known to the general audience for decades. Still, this sexuality is sidelined within its own community. Bisexuals may experience stigmatization from both straight and gay people. Often this happens because of the disregarding of bisexual experiences.
Members of marginalized communities tend to be less happy with how their life goes due to obvious reasons. Socially driven ones, particularly. But non-straight individuals live through even more pressure.
Though for people of better welfare the situation is better. As was previously mentioned, today countless studies on sexuality and gender are conducted. One may call these topics burning, and they illustrate how important it is for a human to be socially accepted. Not to mention that people are often discriminated against on the basis of nothing else but their sexuality. And that exactly the thing that leads to a less happy life.