CHARLESTON, S.C. — More than half of LGBT respondents in a recent survey of Southerners reported fair to poor mental health. Rates spiked for bi and trans young people ages 18-24 and were exacerbated for those with lower incomes, the Charleston City Paper reports.
The 2019 Southern LGBTQ Health Survey from the Campaign for Southern Equality and Western North Carolina Community Health Services collected responses from 5,617 participants from 13 states, making it the largest-known survey of LGBTQ health issues in the South.
While all identities on the LGBT spectrum reported relatively poor mental health, some indications were worse than others. Among bisexual and pansexual respondents, 62.1 percent and 73.5 percent, respectively, described their mental health as fair or poor — about 20 percentage points higher than gay, lesbian and straight participants.
More than 20 percent of transgender respondents said they do not feel their health care needs are being met, nearly twice the number of cisgender participants. More than one in 10 transgender people reported that they rarely or never have positive experiences with physical health providers, almost triple the number of cisgender respondents in the study.
Participants also reported rates of Southerners living with HIV more than 15 times higher than the national average. Among African Americans polled, 22 percent say that they are living with HIV, as are 13 percent of all gay male respondents.
More than half of all participants admitted that they rarely — about every three-five years — or never get tested for HIV.