PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — A new survey of residents in California’s Coachella Valley found health gaps between LGBT residents and the straight community with the former having higher rates of mental illness and domestic violence, Healthy California reports.
This inaugural study was developed by the LGBT Community Center of the Desert, based in Palm Springs where the LGBT population is the third highest in the nation and estimated to be between 40 and 60 percent of the population, the article said.
Dr. Jill Gover, who directed the study, says many of the health issues can be blamed on past discrimination and abuse, particularly among participants who reached adulthood before the 1980s, the article said.
The Health Assessment Resource Center in Palm Desert put together the statistics for the survey, which included 547 gay participants, 117 lesbians, 31 bisexuals, 54 heterosexuals and 20 transgendered people.
The study showed more than 80 percent report having a chronic illness like high cholesterol, arthritis and hepatitis. Only 15 percent smoke cigarettes and less than 10 percent binge drink. However, 30 percent have used illicit drugs in the past year. By comparison, federal stats show that about nine percent of people over 12 have used illegal drugs in the past month, Healthy California reports. Many said culturally competent LGBT therapy is generally too expensive or hard to find.