Suicide rates among those in same-sex relationships have fallen significantly in both Denmark and Sweden since the legalization of gay marriage, according to a study, although whatever their marital status, homosexual people remain more likely to take their own life.
The joint study by the Danish Research Institute for Suicide Prevention and researchers from Stockholm University compared suicide rates for people in same-sex and heterosexual relationships between 1989 and 2002, and 2003 and 2016.
Denmark became the first country in the world to allow same-sex civil partnerships in 1989, with neighboring Sweden following six years later. Same-sex marriage, now authorized in 28 countries, became legal in Sweden in 2009 and 2012 in Denmark.
Researchers found that between the two periods, the number of suicides among people in same-sex unions fell by 46 percent, compared to a decline of about 28 percent in the number of suicides by people in heterosexual relationships.
“Although suicide rates in the general populations of Denmark and Sweden have been decreasing in recent decades, the rate for those living in same-sex marriage declined at a steeper pace, which has not been noted previously,” the study concluded, which followed 28,000 people in same-sex partnerships for an average of 11 years.
Annette Erlangsen, the lead author, suggested that along with other gay rights legislation, same-sex marriage may have reduced feelings of social stigmatization among some homosexual people. “Being married is protective against suicide,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
But she noted that the study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, still showed that more than twice as many people in same-sex marriages and unions killed themselves than those in opposite-sex marriages.
“Of course, it is positive to see that the suicide rate has almost halved. But it remains worryingly high, especially considering that the suicide rate may be higher among non-married people,” she told the Danish newspaper Information.
According to a 2018 report comparing 35 studies from 10 countries, young LGBT+ people are at least three times more likely to attempt suicide than straight people of the same age, although the risk may be reduced by pro-equality legislation.
Despite Scandinavia’s reputation as a progressive leader on LGBT+ rights, a study published last month revealed that almost one third of Danish men considered sex between two men to be morally wrong.
1. Which country was the first to legalize same-sex unions? In which year? In what form?
2. Why did the LGBT+ suicide rate fall after same-sex marriage legalization?
3. How many countries in the world have legalized same-sex marriage to date?
4. In your opinion, why do you think some people may object to the legalization of same-sex marriage?
(Lin Lee-kai, Taipei Times)
1. legalization n.
(he2 fa3 hua4)
2. marital status phr. 婚姻狀態
(hun1 yin1 zhuang4 tai4)
3. homosexual adj.
(tong2 xing4 lian4 de5)
4. heterosexual adj.
(yi4 xing4 lian4 de5)
5. stigmatization n.
(wu1 ming2 hua4)
6. same-sex marriage phr.
(tong2 xing4 hun1 yin1)
7. straight adj.
(fei1 tong2 xing4 lian4 de5)
8. progressive adj.
(jin4 bu4 de5)
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