Every day, there are tons of new studies that are published and written about online. Some of them present us with new facts that are really interesting and then some of them are just… weird. Sometimes I read a study and have to wonder why it ever happened in the first place. Like who decided they were going to spend tons of money and time to come up with a conclusion that was either so obvious it didn’t need a study to confirm it or something that makes basically no sense? I don’t know.
This new research is one of the ones I had to scratch my head about. A new study says that gays, lesbians and bisexuals who are open about their sexuality are less depressed and anxious than those who don’t come out... and even straight people.
Um… what? Let’s discuss why I don’t find this super reliable. The study only looked at 87 people of different sexual orientations, which when compared to the amount of people on this earth, is basically nothing. Also, all 87 of these people were around 25-years-old. In my opinion, a really solid study should include a few hundred people, at least, in different age groups and from different places. I mean, how can you say that lesbians, gays and bisexuals are happier when coming out if you’ve only looked at 46 of them?! You can’t! That’s just not enough people. That’s the first reason I’m not buying this.
The second reason I’m not into this study? Coming out is a personal thing and the effects of it are different for everyone. When I first read the statement that people who are open about their sexuality are less anxious, I was like, well yeah, obviously. Of course being true to yourself would make you less stressed out than keeping such a huge part of yourself private.
But then I thought about it and realized that that’s not true. Coming out doesn’t mean instant happiness. In fact, coming out can be really, really hard. I can’t speak from experience, but from what I hear, it’s not an easy thing to do. Doing it doesn’t mean you’re immediately going to feel a huge weight off your shoulders or that your depression is just going to go away. I’m sure that happens for some people, but not for everyone. Some people who come out have to deal with friends and family members who aren’t willing to support them. I feel like this study is a little bit misleading.
The thing that bugs me the most is that the lead researcher, Robert-Paul Juster, says, “Coming out is no longer a matter of popular debate but a matter of public health.” Hm. I wouldn’t call the extremely personal decision to come out a matter of public health, dude.
Here’s the deal: coming out is your decision and you should do it when you feel comfortable. Don’t do it because you think it’s going to make you happy immediately. There are tons of reasons to be stressed out in life and there are also tons of reasons to be happy. Basically, happiness is subjective. I don’t think you can do a study of 87 people and determine which group is happier than the other. Am I right?
Do you think this study makes a good point? Or do you agree with me that it can’t always be right? Have you ever come out? What was your experience? Tell us in the comments.