Tue, Aug 24, 2010 - Page 16 News List

Growing up ‘different’

This week a leading magazine will suggest that Britain’s gay men are suffering from alarming levels of depression, low self-esteem, drug dependency and attempted suicides — with few places to turn for help

By Tracy McVeigh  /  THE GUARDIAN , LONDON

In his ground-breaking book The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man’s World, US psychologist Alan Downs examines the pain that permeates the lives of gay men and the destructive choices they sometimes make. “Yes, we have more sexual partners in a lifetime than other groups of people,” he writes. “At the same time, we also have among the highest rates of depression and suicide, not to mention sexually transmitted diseases. As a group, we tend to be more emotionally expressive than other men, yet our relationships are far shorter on average than those of straight men.

“We have more expendable income, more expensive houses, more fashionable cars, clothes, furniture than just about any other cultural group. But are we truly happier?”

Todd hopes Attitude will help gay men to tackle that question: “If there is a gay community, we need to look after people who are having a bad time. For the first time, we have concrete answers. If you have these issues, there’s a way to deal with them.”

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