• Katrine Dinitzen
4. term, Sociology, Master (Master Programme)
Title: LGBT-people - an exposed minority? Mental health in relation to discrimination, violence, threats and openness among sexual minorities and transgender
Background and problem: LGBT people's well-being and living conditions have been without focus in Danish context, both scientifically and in terms of public policies. Part of the reason can be found in the fear of contact with the field, which has also characterized other fields of sexuality research. Likewise, the lack of action can be based on an expectation that the problems are not to an extent that requires special initiatives or research, despite the fact that LGBT people in the few studies that are in the area, stands out negatively among other things in relation to suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts. The object of this master thesis is to contribute with knowledge about a minority who need awareness in a Danish context.
Research question: What impact on LGBT people’s mental health can it have that they belong to a sexual minority?With that question this master thesis aim to give an insight in LGBT peoples mental health in relation to the following themes: discrimination, violence, threats and openness about sexual orientation/gender identity. 
Theory: The basis of the master thesis is a social constructivistic view on gender and sexuality. The view on gender and sexuality is further explained by relevant theorists, notably by West & Zimmerman and Judith Butler. The theoretical foundation of the thesis also involves theory of stigmatization, primary trough Goffman's theory of stigma supplemented with specific knowledge of sexual stigma. Another theoretical perspective is the linkage between self identity and self-narrative for LGBT-people in society where heteronormativity is prevalent, and people act on that basis. This is illustrated through Giddens theories of self-identity in modern society. The theories are supplemented with Meyers minority stress model. The model is not a theory, but is included to illustrate how the problems that are illustrated through the other theories can be seen in interaction with mental health specifically for LGBT people.
Method: The thesis is based on a cross-sectional analysis of an existing dataset collected in 2009 among Danish LGBT-people. 1192 answered the survey partly, and 942 LGBT-persons completed the survey. Results and 
Conclusion: The initial analysis of mental health showed that LGBT people in some areas of mental health is more at risk compared with surveys of the Danish population. This is particularly in relation to suicide attempts and suicidal thoughts, but there were also found differences in stress and sex drive. The study also showed that compared to the psychological well-being measured on the scale of the SF-36 (the dependent variable), there could not be located any differences between the LGBT groups. This lack of difference, however, was varied in the further analysis.The results of the analysis of discrimination, violence and threats and openness shows that stigma in the form of discrimination, threats and violence based on sexual orientation / transgender is not a widespread, though occurring phenomenon among LGBT people. Homosexuals are significantly more likely to experience these phenomena than the other groups. The analysis of openness about sexual orientation / gender identity shows that homosexuals are significantly more open about sexual orientation than bisexuals and transgender people. This suggests that with openness follows stigma in the form of discrimination, violence and threats. The analyzes of the three themes associated with mental health showed that those who worries about violence and threats have poorer mental health than those who don’t. Likewise, those who at some point have experienced violence or threats have poorer mental health than those who haven’t. Also those who hide sexual orientation have poorer mental health than those who never do. These results emphasize the relevance of not only looking at events, but also on the impact of the events, both for those who experience them, but also for those who simply are aware and worried of the risk and who feel the need to hide their sexual orientation on this background.As mentioned, there is no appreciable difference in LGBT groups' distribution on the scale of psychological wellbeing. However, it is clear that it is different things that come into play for the different groups. While homosexuals are in risk of experiencing stigma in the form of discrimination and violence and threats, bisexuals and especially transgenders are more likely to hide sexual orientation. Both can as the results show be connected with mental health.
Publication date4 Feb 2016
Number of pages119
ID: 227082824