THE legalisation of same-sex marriage in the United States has been linked to a reduced suicide rate among young LGBTI people, according to recent research.
In a paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, suicide attempts by LGBTI-identifying young people were monitored across 47 states in the US. It analysed nearly 763,000 students – 231,000 of whom identified as a sexual minority.
In the years before same-sex marriage was legalised, the self-reported rate of one or more suicide attempts among high school students across all states was on average around 8.6 per cent per year.
This figure reached 28.5 per cent among young people who identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or ‘not sure’.
However, the states that have since legalised same-sex marriage have seen attempted suicide rates fall by 0.6 percentage points against states that did not which corresponds to an average drop of seven per cent.
In a report by The Guardian, co-author of the research Julia Raifman from John Hopkins University, said she hoped the paper would bring visibility to the impact of laws affecting LGBTI people.
“I would hope that policymakers and the public would consider the potential health implications of laws and policies affecting LGBT rights,” she said.
“Lesbian, gay, and bisexual adolescents are nearly five times as likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.”
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