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How healthy is South Korea’s LGBT community (literally)?

Dr. Seung-sup Kim of Korea University’s Department of Public Health Sciences and his team have been investigating the mental and physical health of LGBT individuals. The two-part project, entitled “Rainbow Connection” is a groundbreaking, comprehensive research into the LGBT community.

For now, a journal article entitled “Health disparities between lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults and the general population in South Korea:  Rainbow Connection Project I” is available (on the LGB of LGBT), with a sample of over 2,000 individuals. A monograph on Part II, focusing on transgender health, is planned for publication in March 2018 (Korean).

Key findings (numbers rounded to nearest digit):

  • Lesbian and bisexual women reported poor health 1.80 and 2.24 times more frequently than women overall, while gay men and bisexual men do not show statistically significant differences;
  • As compared to the general population, bisexual women showed the biggest difference in both mental and physical health issues, followed by lesbian women, bisexual men and gay men
  • LGB adults, both women and men, reported significantly higher prevalence of musculo-skeletal pain (back pain, upper and lower limbs pain), with figures nearing or exceeding double that of the general population;
  • LGB adults were 5 to 7 times more likely to show symptoms of depression;
  • LGB adults were 7 to 38 times more likely to think about suicide, and 12 to 9 times more likely to attempt suicide;
  • LGB women were 6 to 7 times more likely to be smokers than women overall, while LGB men were much less likely to be smokers than men overall;
  • LGB women and men were 1.5 to 2.2 times more likely to engage in hazardous drinking

 

Dr. Kim’s articles are open-access, and he has published findings and personal commentary on the research project on his Facebook page as well as on  ScienceOn at Hankyoreh (Korean).

Here is the link to the journal article, “Health disparities between lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults and the general population in South Korea:  Rainbow Connection Project I”:

 

Epidemiol Health 2017; 39: e2017046.
Published online: October 19, 2017
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2017046
https://www.e-epih.org/journal/view.php?doi=10.4178/epih.e2017046

Image: Dr. Seung-sup Kim speaking at a press conference denouncing the practice of “homosexuality treatment”. Link to article (Korean): ScienceOn at Hankyoreh

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Internationally lost since 2000, Emily was born in Seoul, raised in India, and has been living and studying in France, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands since 2014. A translator and interpreter by profession, she enjoys talking and debating just about anything.

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