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Author Topic: FAQ: What is the prevalence of BPD in the gay and lesbian communities?  (Read 6438 times)
redfeather
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« on: September 20, 2012, 11:42:25 PM »

What is the prevalence of BPD in the gay and lesbian communities?  Have read many stories of lesbian relationships like my own with partners who exhibit very strong BPD characteristics.  I personally think this phenomenon has its beginnings in some type of abuse in childhood...


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« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2012, 02:28:14 PM »

My ex and I are lesbians.

I will say that some of the ways the world treats women, and in some cases butch women specifically, or handles gender and sexual orientation, can contribute to a massively invalidating environment that goes beyond what might occur in just a family setting. Add that level of social invalidation into the mix for someone who already has biological factors and an abusive family situation, or comorbid stuff like PTSD or depression, and there can be some really intense things to try to understand and work with.

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Lempicka
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« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2012, 02:21:59 AM »

I can only speak for lesbians and not gay men - but it is my observation that the lesbian community has certain social dynamics that can nurture and reinforce BPD in ways that the straight community doesn't, and it's not really very acceptable for lesbians to critique their own community or call out bad behavior... which is a problem I've seen in other small subcultures as well.

The more mature, grounded, and stable lesbians are the ones least likely to focus their social energies in exclusively lesbian settings, or around lesbian bars.

I have met a better run of women from OKCupid and occasionally by random chance, than I ever have in organized lesbian settings, which often seem like a cliquish and dramatic hotbed of dysfunction.

Most of the gay women who have stable relationships leave the scene when they find someone because the exes and crazy jealous women can be such a relationship interference. Someone is always jealous and trying to push their way into your relationship.

I wanted to be straight for a long time because I thought all I could meet were unstable, relationship hopping bar flies. I dropped the "lesbian community" and started meeting women online instead, with whom I would not otherwise cross paths. I just meet much healthier women that way.
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Lempicka
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« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2012, 02:28:03 AM »

I also think that some problematic women may try to be gay because they imagine they will get their intensity needs met from another woman, in ways that a man can't.

Also, some of the drama of the lesbian community and the drama of lesbian relationships may appeal to BPDs.

The community is kind of characterized by instant intense relationships, moving in very quickly, detaching quickly (after two years or less) and hooking up with someone new as if women were interchangeable, and keeping the ex around as your best friend.

If you're a low key person who just likes to be with someone but get on with life, it's not as much fun...
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« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2012, 12:42:32 PM »

My current/ex (as she likes to now be considered) uBPDgf is now a lesbian after many years of being totally straight.  

As much as she claims to be lesbian, I'm always confused as to how she can still find it in her to initiate sex with me (often after returning from a weekend away with a lesbian lover).  I stopped initiating sex months ago, yet it still happens.  

She has a girlfriend now who she's "head over heels for" and is now the "love of her life", all that stuff...they are planning on moving in together around tax time next year, but in the meantime my pwBPD will still want to cuddle with me at our home with our kids, sleep in the same bed, flirt with me occasionally, and initiate sex.  She claims to always feel guilty afterward and then grows cold to me for a while, but it lasts maybe 1-2 days.  Then she's back to being somewhat affectionate.  At one point recently, I totally bought her claims of being lesbian, but when the sex keeps happening, and SHE'S the one initiating it all, totally changed everything for me.  She's Bisexual...but trying to adapt a "lesbian" identity.

As Lempicka said, I'm sure their are plenty of "lesbians" who in actuality aren't at all.  Hate to be callous, but I think BPD makes it a bit easier to have sex with anyone, regardless of their gender.  Whoever gives them what they need at that moment, is who gets their adoration at that moment.  
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Randi Kreger
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« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2012, 05:29:52 AM »

When I was writing the Essential Family Guide, I came across some research saying that gay men were more likely to have BPD than straight men. Didn't know how well the research was done, so didn't use it.In lesbian relationships it's a real concern. When I see material about abuse in the lesbian community, the questions they ask are exactly the same as the type of questions at the beginning of SWOE.
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Seb
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« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2012, 04:19:05 AM »

I think my exgf, who is closeted to her family and most friends, is filled with so much shame. She hates herself, thinks she abnormal and unnatural for being a lesbian. In my eyes she meets nearly all, if not all, of the nine BPD criteria, even though she's high-functioning in her professional life. But even now I find myself wondering if her behaviour is related to her struggle with accepting her homosexuality, or if its BPD, or both? There's a definite crossover, for sure. I've looked for material on lesbian Borderlines but there isn't much!
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snowwhite
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« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2012, 11:46:21 PM »

I read somewhere (cannot remember where now) that as many as 40% of those who identify as lesbian or gay or transgender may actually be suffering from the effects of BPD or some other personality disorder.

The symptom of BPD, confusion about identity, including sexual orientation, would allow people to believe they were straight then gay then straight again.  And I believe that that is one of the ways to identify those who are actually gay and those who might or might not be gay but are suffering from a personality disorder.  

The person with a personality disorder would most likely keep changing their sexual orientation (the way Lindsay Lohan is straight, then lesbian, then bisexual, then lesbian again with each new personality change).  

In fact, I believe that correctly identifying those who have personality disorders and finding better treatments would go a long ways towards helping straight people overcome some of their negative fears and feelings toward the more outrageous behavior seen in some gay people that straight people associate with "the gay lifestyle".  If this behavior were correctly identified as "borderline behavior", a sign of mental illness that needs treatment, it would also go a long way towards protecting the nons in the gay/lesbian community from the harm borderline relationships bring to their lives.
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« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2012, 03:09:07 PM »

I'm not sure I see where you're coming from when you tie BPD behaviour to flamboyant gay behaviour?

In my opinion, those people who are flamboyant are comfortable enough in their sexuality and themselves to be as flamboyant as they want. The ones, like my exgf, who hide who they really are, terrified at the thought of coming out to their families for fear of rejection - they're the ones who fit BPD criteria. The ones who are terrified to come out, or have internalised homophobia, are the ones who need help with their issues.

In my exgf's opinion, she was abnormal and unnatural for being gay. She tried not to be, she dated men and had a boyfriend for 3 years until she cheated on him with a girl. She has a very clear pattern of only dating 'straight' girls. This way each relationship has a limited shelf-life and she doesn't need to worry about being outed.
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« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2013, 10:07:59 PM »

When I speak of the "gay lifestyle", I am not referring to flamboyance. I was referring to things like sexual promiscuity, and drug and alcohol abuse, behaviors that are seen by the general public as being within the control of rational people.

Many straight people are disturbed by these behaviors in the gay community, just as they are when they see them in the straight community. However, statistically, these behaviors are more prevalent in the gay community than in the straight community and have become part of what they see as "the gay lifestyle".

I believe this is most likely caused by people with personality disorders who are identifying themselves as LGBT, but who may not actually be so. I believe many of them are just suffering from BPD and/or NPD. If correct diagnoses could be made and better treatment options were available, I believe many of these people would no longer identify themselves as LGBT and many of the problems with sexually transmitted diseases, violence in relationships, and drug and alcohol abuse could be lessened or eliminated.

I believe that education within the LGBT community about the symptoms and treatments for these disorders and about bipolar would do much to protect members of the community and to help the mentally ill to get earlier and better treatment. In fact, I am beginning to believe that it will be brave, forthright members of the LGBT community that may finally bring public awareness to these disorders. However, it will take real courage. For a group that has been villified to publicly address issues such as this and to speak openly about what is really happening in many relationships in their community and to proclaim that these behaviors are not normal, but are signs of possible mental illness, will not be easy for people whose sexual orientation was not so long ago seen as a form of mental illness.

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UmbrellaBoy
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« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2013, 12:05:10 AM »

Part of it may be shame and sexual ambivalence. I'm gay but my BPD ex-boyfriend always said things like that he wasn't really sure he was "gay," that he used to be straight and then somehow switched involuntarily in his teen years (um, I think it's called puberty), that he didn't really fall in love with men, at least his emotional connection to men wasn't anymore than with women, he only preferred men sexually but not necessarily for relationships, etc etc. I think maybe he has a lot of self-loathing on this issue.
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« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2015, 01:22:00 AM »

I read somewhere (cannot remember where now) that as many as 40% of those who identify as lesbian or gay or transgender may actually be suffering from the effects of BPD or some other personality disorder.

The symptom of BPD, confusion about identity, including sexual orientation, would allow people to believe they were straight then gay then straight again.  And I believe that that is one of the ways to identify those who are actually gay and those who might or might not be gay but are suffering from a personality disorder.  

The person with a personality disorder would most likely keep changing their sexual orientation (the way Lindsay Lohan is straight, then lesbian, then bisexual, then lesbian again with each new personality change).  

In fact, I believe that correctly identifying those who have personality disorders and finding better treatments would go a long ways towards helping straight people overcome some of their negative fears and feelings toward the more outrageous behavior seen in some gay people that straight people associate with "the gay lifestyle".  If this behavior were correctly identified as "borderline behavior", a sign of mental illness that needs treatment, it would also go a long way towards protecting the nons in the gay/lesbian community from the harm borderline relationships bring to their lives.

"I read somewhere (cannot remember where now) that as many as 40% of those who identify as lesbian or gay or transgender may actually be suffering from the effects of BPD or some other personality disorder."

If you remember where that number came from be sure to let me know.
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snowwhite
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« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2015, 07:01:43 PM »

Here are some psych studies showing links between BPD and homosexuality or bisexuality. Some of the studies are old, so not sure how repeatable they would be today with better understanding of both homosexuality and BPD.

Zubenko examined the prevalence of homosexual and bisexual orientation among 19 male and 61 female inpatients with BPD. He reported rates of homosexual orientation significantly higher among male than among female borderline subjects (58% vs. 16%)

Am J Psychiatry. 1987 Jun;144(6):748-52.

Sexual practices among patients with borderline personality disorder.

Zubenko GS, George AW, Soloff PH, Schulz P.


Stone used DSM-III criteria to diagnose 118 male and 181 female inpatients with BPD by chart review (Stone 1990). He reported rates of homosexual/bisexual orientation of 16% for male subjects and 1% for female subjects.

Stone MH. The Fate of Borderline Patients. Guilford Press; New York: 1990.

Dulit used a checklist methodology based on DSM-III criteria for a retrospective chart review to diagnose 27 male and 110 female inpatients with BPD (Dulit et al., 1993). She found that male but not female borderlines were significantly more likely to have a homosexual orientation than nonborderline inpatient comparison subjects. She reported rates of homosexual/bisexual orientation of 48% among male borderlines and 14% among female borderlines.

Dulit RA, Fyer MR, Miller FT, et al. Gender differences in sexual preference and substance abuse of inpatients with borderline personality disorder. Journal of Personality Disorders. 1993;7:182–185.

Paris reported a rate of homosexual orientation of 16.7% in male borderline outpatients compared to 1.7% in male subjects with nonborderline psychopathology

Paris J, Zweig-Frank H, Guzder J. Psychological factors associated with homosexuality in males with borderline personality disorder. Journal of Personality Disorders. 1995;9:56–61.

29.8% of male borderline subjects reported a homosexual/bisexual orientation.Patients with BPD were over 75% more likely to report homosexual/bisexual orientation than comparison subjects with other personality disorders.

J Pers Disord. 2008 Dec; 22(6): 564–572.

Sexual Orientation and Relationship Choice in Borderline Personality Disorder over Ten Years of Prospective Follow-up

D. Bradford Reich, M.D. and Mary C. Zanarini, Ed.D.
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« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2015, 07:52:40 PM »

I'm not surprised that there may be a high correlation between BPD and homosexuality given that so many people in the LGBTQ community were shamed as children or otherwise emotionally or verbally abused because of their sexuality. My BPDexgf's self-loathing was intense to the point that she questioned my own sexuality because I essentially didn't hate myself. She believed that to be a lesbian meant to be filled with self-loathing so figured that I must have been deceiving her about my lesbianism because I didn't rage and self-sabotage.

Being a closeted LGBTQ person means learning to keep secrets from a very young age -- secrets about the most fundamental aspects of the self, and even keeping these secrets about the self from the self, if that makes sense. It's a real mindscrew. No surprise to me that this could result in higher instances of mental illness. This is one of many reasons why it's so important for young LGBTQ folk to come out of the closet.
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BorisAcusio
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« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2015, 01:20:00 PM »

I'm not surprised that there may be a high correlation between BPD and homosexuality given that so many people in the LGBTQ community were shamed as children or otherwise emotionally or verbally abused because of their sexuality.


Personality disorders are stemming from pre-oediapal conflicts. Toddlers are not abused because of their sexuality.

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« Reply #15 on: March 17, 2015, 07:05:34 PM »

Sexuality takes many forms, including gender identity and expression. Unfortunately, it's quite common that toddlers are in fact shamed for having the "wrong" gender expression, such as boys being called sissies because they cry or are perceived as being weak. This kind of shaming is all too common. Many of us have experienced this regardless of our actual sexuality.

My understanding of BPD is that individuals may have some genetic predisposition but the disorder itself arises as the result of not developing a stable sense of self during the critical development years (the toddler years onward). Usually this lack of a stable internal identity results from living in unstable and abusive environments. I don't know what BPD, its origins, or the shaming of young children has to do with the oedipal conflict, which itself is not a terribly sound theory in my opinion.
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« Reply #16 on: April 04, 2015, 06:42:47 PM »

Here are some psych studies showing links between BPD and homosexuality or bisexuality. Some of the studies are old, so not sure how repeatable they would be today with better understanding of both homosexuality and BPD.

Zubenko examined the prevalence of homosexual and bisexual orientation among 19 male and 61 female inpatients with BPD. He reported rates of homosexual orientation significantly higher among male than among female borderline subjects (58% vs. 16%)

Am J Psychiatry. 1987 Jun;144(6):748-52.

Sexual practices among patients with borderline personality disorder.

Zubenko GS, George AW, Soloff PH, Schulz P.


Stone used DSM-III criteria to diagnose 118 male and 181 female inpatients with BPD by chart review (Stone 1990). He reported rates of homosexual/bisexual orientation of 16% for male subjects and 1% for female subjects.

Stone MH. The Fate of Borderline Patients. Guilford Press; New York: 1990.

Dulit used a checklist methodology based on DSM-III criteria for a retrospective chart review to diagnose 27 male and 110 female inpatients with BPD (Dulit et al., 1993). She found that male but not female borderlines were significantly more likely to have a homosexual orientation than nonborderline inpatient comparison subjects. She reported rates of homosexual/bisexual orientation of 48% among male borderlines and 14% among female borderlines.

Dulit RA, Fyer MR, Miller FT, et al. Gender differences in sexual preference and substance abuse of inpatients with borderline personality disorder. Journal of Personality Disorders. 1993;7:182–185.

Paris reported a rate of homosexual orientation of 16.7% in male borderline outpatients compared to 1.7% in male subjects with nonborderline psychopathology

Paris J, Zweig-Frank H, Guzder J. Psychological factors associated with homosexuality in males with borderline personality disorder. Journal of Personality Disorders. 1995;9:56–61.

29.8% of male borderline subjects reported a homosexual/bisexual orientation.Patients with BPD were over 75% more likely to report homosexual/bisexual orientation than comparison subjects with other personality disorders.

J Pers Disord. 2008 Dec; 22(6): 564–572.

Sexual Orientation and Relationship Choice in Borderline Personality Disorder over Ten Years of Prospective Follow-up

D. Bradford Reich, M.D. and Mary C. Zanarini, Ed.D.

But what percent of the gay community have BPD?
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« Reply #17 on: April 10, 2015, 10:11:59 PM »

I am sorry I could not find the original study saying that 40% of gay people have bipolar, borderline or NPD. I think the important issue here is not the exact percent, but that a high percentage of people, especially men, with BPD, identify as gay. I use the term identify because we know that one of the possible symptoms of BPD is confusion about sexual orientation. I think it is extremely likely that if we can develop better treatments for mental illness, we can determine whether or not these people are actually gay AND mentally ill, or just mentally ill in such a way that it affects their sexual feelings, identity and behavior. I think it is a critical area of research especially to the LGBT community since it is impacting them so heavily. The mentally ill have much higher levels of alcoholism, drug abuse, and violence than the general population. If many of our mentally ill are identifying as gay and forming their romantic or sexual relationships with LGBT people, it is the LGBT community that will suffer the main consequences of these behaviors, including greater exposure to HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases caused by the prevalence of promiscuous sexual behavior among people with BPD.

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liz232
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« Reply #18 on: April 18, 2015, 04:15:27 PM »

I am sorry I could not find the original study saying that 40% of gay people have bipolar, borderline or NPD. I think the important issue here is not the exact percent, but that a high percentage of people, especially men, with BPD, identify as gay. I use the term identify because we know that one of the possible symptoms of BPD is confusion about sexual orientation. I think it is extremely likely that if we can develop better treatments for mental illness, we can determine whether or not these people are actually gay AND mentally ill, or just mentally ill in such a way that it affects their sexual feelings, identity and behavior. I think it is a critical area of research especially to the LGBT community since it is impacting them so heavily. The mentally ill have much higher levels of alcoholism, drug abuse, and violence than the general population. If many of our mentally ill are identifying as gay and forming their romantic or sexual relationships with LGBT people, it is the LGBT community that will suffer the main consequences of these behaviors, including greater exposure to HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases caused by the prevalence of promiscuous sexual behavior among people with BPD.

I don't think anything you said really is based in the current research. I to want to know where you found a study that said 40% of gay people suffer from BPD, that is a very astonishing claim. I would think that if it was the case, we would hear a lot more about it from the treatments that are designed for people with BPD. Just remember antidotal experiences do not mean they are generalizations of a particular subculture, or for that matter a vast majority. Until I see a peer reviewed study of this claim, I will remain skeptical. 
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snowwhite
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« Reply #19 on: June 01, 2015, 08:27:22 PM »

Still looking for the study I remember reading but have not yet found it. This study is current (July 18, 2011) and is peer reviewed by US National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health and can be found at:

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3156616/

The study is of GLBT individuals with chemical dependency problems, so not all GLBT individuals. The percentages are much worse than 40%; indeed, over 93% of the individuals had at least one personality disorder.


"This study sought to examine personality disorders and their related clinical variables in a sample of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) individuals with substance use disorders. Study participants were 145 GLBT patients who were admitted to a residential dual diagnosis chemical dependency treatment program. A total of 136 (93.8%) had at least one personality disorder. The most common personality disorders were borderline (n=93; 64.1%), obsessive-compulsive (n=82; 56.6%), and avoidant (n=71; 49.0%) personality disorders. Preliminary data suggests there is a high prevalence of personality disorders in the GLBT population undergoing chemical dependency treatment."
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jhkbuzz
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« Reply #20 on: June 01, 2015, 09:07:53 PM »

Still looking for the study I remember reading but have not yet found it. This study is current (July 18, 2011) and is peer reviewed by US National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health and can be found at:

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3156616/

The study is of GLBT individuals with chemical dependency problems, so not all GLBT individuals. The percentages are much worse than 40%; indeed, over 93% of the individuals had at least one personality disorder.


"This study sought to examine personality disorders and their related clinical variables in a sample of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) individuals with substance use disorders. Study participants were 145 GLBT patients who were admitted to a residential dual diagnosis chemical dependency treatment program. A total of 136 (93.8%) had at least one personality disorder. The most common personality disorders were borderline (n=93; 64.1%), obsessive-compulsive (n=82; 56.6%), and avoidant (n=71; 49.0%) personality disorders. Preliminary data suggests there is a high prevalence of personality disorders in the GLBT population undergoing chemical dependency treatment."

It would be interesting to see a study in which the prevalence of substance abusers with personality disorders was measured - without taking sexual orientation into account.  I'm guessing that the numbers would be pretty high as well.
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snowwhite
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« Reply #21 on: June 01, 2015, 09:15:04 PM »

I also tried to determine what percentage of GLBT individuals experienced substance abuse problems. A Google search returned the following:

www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0376871600001290

Correlates of heavy substance use among young gay and bisexual men: The San Francisco Young Men's Health Study, published in January 2001.

"Correlates of heavy substance use among a household-based sample of young gay and bisexual men (n=428) were identified and the odds ratio (OR) was calculated. A total of 13.6% reported frequent, heavy alcohol use and 43% reported polydrug use. Compared with men employed in professional occupations, men in service positions (OR=3.77) and sales positions (OR=2.51) were more likely to be heavy alcohol consumers. Frequent gay bar attendance and multiple sex partners were related to heavy alcohol use, as well as to polydrug use. Polydrug users were more likely to be HIV seropositive (OR=2.05) or of unknown HIV serostatus (OR=2.78). HIV serostatus was similarly related to frequent drug use. These correlates of heavier substance use among young gay and bisexual men could be used to identify and intervene early with members of this population who are at risk of substance misuse, as well as HIV/AIDS risk."

I found other studies which showed no difference in substance abuse rates between homosexual and heterosexual WOMEN.

The studies I linked to in an earlier post also showed very different correlation rates between homosexuality and BPD depending on whether they were examining men or women. So maybe this applies much more to gay men than to gay women.

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« Reply #22 on: June 01, 2015, 09:46:18 PM »

Just so you are aware, other severe mental illnesses appear more often in the homosexual population than in the heterosexual population.

See:

www.cdc.gov/msmhealth/mental-health.htm

The Center of Disease Control says:

Research also has found that, compared to other men, MSM (men who have sex with men) are at increased risk of:

Major depression during adolescence and adulthood;

Bipolar disorder; and

Generalized anxiety disorder during adolescence and adulthood.

also:

www.psychcentral.com/lib/higher-risk-of-mental-health-problems-for-homosexuals/

a study in the UK in 2007


"Homosexual people tend to experience more mental health problems than heterosexual people, research indicates. Discrimination may contribute to the higher risk, believes lead researcher Dr. Apu Chakraborty of University College London, UK.

His team looked at rates of mental disorder among 7,403 adults living in the UK, whose details were obtained from the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey 2007. Rates of depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, phobia, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, and alcohol and drug dependence were significantly higher in homosexual respondents.

Four percent had a depressive episode in the last week, compared to two percent of heterosexual people. The rate of alcohol dependence was ten percent versus five percent, and for self-harming it was nine percent versus five percent."

and perhaps most disturbing is the result of a 2011 study published by the National Institute of Health. Please note the tie to schizophrenia in gay and bisexual men.

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21324241


"Compared with their heterosexual counterparts, lesbians and bisexual women demonstrated a 3-fold increased likelihood of substance use disorders, and gay and bisexual men showed twice the rate of anxiety disorders and schizophrenia and (or) psychotic illness, even after accounting for mental disorder comorbidity. Suicide attempts were independently associated with bisexuality, with odds 3 times higher than in heterosexuals."

Also:

www.livingwithschizophreniauk.org/symptoms-of-schizophrenia/

"Sometimes thought disorder will manifest itself in the person’s sexuality. They may begin to believe that they are gay even though they have been quite happily heterosexual before. They may begin to become sexually disinhibited, making sexual advances towards members of their family or towards total strangers in the street."


Let me stress again. I am not saying that LGBT people are mentally ill. I am asking people to examine the problem the other way. Do some of the more seriously mentally ill believe they are LGBT and may not be? Do certain serious mental illnesses cause some of their sufferers to be more sexually disinhibited and more willing to have sex with people they may not know well or at all? For men, this would be more likely to be gay or bisexual men while for women, it would more likely be sex with men and would explain the large differences in the rate of homosexuality claimed for male BPD sufferers and female BPD sufferers.

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« Reply #23 on: June 01, 2015, 09:51:01 PM »

I have not reviewed the research published within the past ten years on rates of mental illness in the LGBT population, but I did do a thorough review of the research published prior to that, as I was writing a paper on the subject. The overwhelming majority of studies show rates of diagnosed mental disorders no greater in the LG communities than in the general population. That is why both the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association decided that homosexuality is not a mental disorder, and that LG people are not more sick in any respect than any randomly selected group of heterosexual peers. I didn't review research on Bi people.

Trans people are by definition diagnosed with gender dysphoria. I have reviewed studies that show post-transition trans people with no higher rates of additional diagnoses than the population at large, but I have not reviewed the trans research exhaustively.

The prevalence of BPD in the population is around 2%, according to the American Psychiatric Assoc., with the majority of diagnosed people being women. Because most research shows no higher rate of mental illness among lesbians than among the general population, we would expect 2% of lesbians to be diagnosable with BPD. This means there is no correlation at all between lesbian lifestyle or identity and BPD. For there to be a correlation, the rate of BPD among lesbians would have to be significantly greater than the rate of BPD in the general population.

It is a completely different research question to ask about the rates of LGBT lifestyle or identity among the 2% of the population diagnosed as having BPD. This might or might not be higher than among the general population. If it is, we can not therefore conclude that LGBT people are more likely than heterosexual people to develop BPD, because the rate of mental illness and symptoms thereof is NOT higher in the LGBT population. If the research is well done, however, it would support the statement that people with BPD report higher rates of LGBT  identification than do normal people.

There could be many reasons for this, and we can speculate about them. For example, BPD is a disorder of identity and people with BPD tend to struggle with all aspects of identity, lifestyle, etc. They are known to be unstable in their statements about who they are in any part of their lives. They may or may not be unstable in their statements about gender and sexual preference. There is definite research support for the statement that even normal lesbians are inclined to switch their reported sexual preference and lifestyle to a significant degree, and that they do this more than gay men. I don't know of any research that compares rates of switching in the normal LG communities with rates in the BPD community.

I certainly think that people who have difficulty with making and keeping friends, who have substance abuse issues (part of the BPD diagnostic criteria), who need inordinate amounts of support, and who can't keep their lives together in other ways, commonly hang out in ready made gathering places, like bars, public support groups, crisis centers, and in places where they can feel important, such as cause-oriented organizations. This is the case whether we are talking about gay, straight, or whatever kinds of people.

The bottom line is that there is no consistent evidence for the argument that LGB people are more inclined to have any mental illness than the heterosexual-identified people. The situation is different for trans people, particularly if they have not transitioned, because of the gender dysphoria diagnosis.




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Achaya
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« Reply #24 on: June 01, 2015, 10:00:52 PM »

Snow white, you posted while I was, so I didn't have a chance to review the research cited in your post. Looks like recent studies are showing different results than the earlier ones I reviewed. I'll look over the ones you listed. Thanks.
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