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  • Writer's pictureWorld Half Full

LGBTQ suicide rates fall


Since Sweden and Denmark introduced same-sex marriage, rates of suicide have fallen remarkably in the LGBTQ community. A joint study conducted by the Danish Research Institute for Suicide Prevention and researchers from Stockholm University found that while suicide rates in the general populations of Denmark and Sweden have been decreasing steadily over recent years, the rate for those in same-sex marriages has declined more steeply, “which has not been noted previously”.

Comparing two periods — 1989–2002 and 2003–2016 — suicide rates among those in same-sex marriages fell 46 percent, compared to just two percent among heterosexual couples. Same-sex marriage became legal in Sweden in 2009 and Denmark in 2012. Speaking to the Tomson Reuters Foundation, the study’s lead author, Annette Erlangsen, suggested that same-sex marriage may have lessened feelings of social isolation among some LGBTQ people. “Being married is protective against suicide,” she said. “Legalising same-sex marriage and other supportive legislative measures — they might actually reduce stigma among sexual minorities.”

However, despite the encouraging data, Erlangsen noted that the study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, still showed that more than twice as many people in same-sex marriages killed themselves than those in heterosexual marriages. “Of course, it is positive to see that the suicide rate has almost halved,” she told Danish newspaper, Information. “But it remains worryingly high, especially considering the suicide rate may be higher among non-married people.” Same-sex marriage is now legal in 30 countries and territories worldwide — with Ecuador the latest nation to legalise it in June this year.

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