Queer People Are Still Afraid to Come Out, According to Yale Study

It might be easy to think that most LGBTQ+ people are open about their sexuality, but a study conducted at Yale School of Public Health deems the opposite. In fact, most queer individuals stay closeted, masking their orientation from almost everyone they know.

International Evidence

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The research pulls from data gathered by the European Union LGBTQ+ survey, composed of over 85,000 people across 28 countries. According to the data, the Yale group estimated that more than 80% of LGBTQ+ individuals are not public about their sexuality.

Not What It Seems


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This starkly contrasts the assumed and authentic acceptance within lived experiences. The study was conducted in 2021, with the survey having taken place in the previous year.

Not Welcome Here

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An even more discouraging note of the study: less than half of the countries surveyed revealed a public majority believe homosexuality should be socially accepted. This proposes that while progress is happening, discrimination is still very much alive against LGBTQ+.

Counting Countries

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The Yale study shows that there is still a significant division in public opinion when it comes to acceptance of homosexuality. Another academic institution, the Pew Research Center, also analyzed more than 30 countries. 

A Strange Range

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Data from the Pew Research Center suggests an increase in acceptance during the 21st century, but varies drastically, from Nigeria’s 7 percent to Sweden’s 94 percent.

What Contributes to Homophobia?

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Certain variables such as education level, spirituality, political thought, and socioeconomic status influence what might determine queer acceptance. This can lead to those who are queer, adopting homophobic behavior in order to survive.

A Reality Turned Duality

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In an attempt to shed any internal conflict, closeted individuals create a duality, harboring anxiety and anger deep within themselves. 

Not My Tribe

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Typically, most closeted LGBTQ+ members act out on their internalized feelings on other members of the community. By dissociating themselves and labeling individuals as the “other”, it sets a narrative that can bring comfort to those who aren’t quite comfortable with their sexuality.

All Roads Lead To…

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While engaging in homophobic behavior may bring momentary relief, it doesn’t reconcile the conflict. In reality, it contributes to the overall oppression of the queer community, including the closeted aggressor. 

Mental Health Effects

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Many of those who are still in the closet are susceptible to an array of mental health issues. Rates of anxiety and depression are disproportionately documented in queer demographics.

Struggle for Support

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Despite this global phenomenon, attempts to provide therapy and other forms of mental health support are often neglected due to negative cultural attitudes.

Caught in the Cycle

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Compounding upon the social stigma, it becomes easier for those still hiding their sexual orientation to fall into the trap of belittling the tribe they belong to. Homophobic actions create clear barriers that limit the progress that can be made, acting as a feedback loop.

Exploring Opportunities

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While many adopt this bigoted persona, it does little to impede their participation in exploring their queerness in privacy. This, naturally, leads to an even deeper sense of guilt for having acted on their feelings, often making them double down in their homophobia.

No Room to Grow

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By remaining inside a straight-laced bubble, the harm also reflects back to those in the closet. Being in queer spaces permits people to learn what queerness is. By avoiding these spaces, closeted homophobes may not encounter information or others with similar backgrounds.

Out With It

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The final hurdle for those still concealing their true self is the emblematic coming out experience. “Coming out”, even to people who are accepting, is a daunting task.  Anonymous closeted people have identified a strong sense of anxiety around being open about being queer.

What It Takes

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It’s important to remember that many who are living in the closet not only need a health support network, but also require a lot of self-reflection and healing before they are ready.

International Evidence

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In order to resolve  these issues, a more wide sense of acceptance and equality is needed. Through raising awareness, efforts can be made to cultivate a world where all queer people can live as they are. .

The post Masking: Queer People Are Still Afraid to Come Out, According to Yale Study first appeared on Pulse of Pride.

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For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.

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