Heavy drinking in LGBT community - attribute or false perception?

Heavy drinking in LGBT community – attribute or false perception?

Alcoholism is usually regarded as an illness that needs urgent medical attention and treatment. But this might not be the case for the LGBT community. In fact, it is said that the opposite is true for them. For instance, gay men consider heavy drinking as their pride. In a society, where both heavy drinking and homosexuality is considered a taboo, gay men take pride in alcoholism. As per a survey, “more than two in five (42 percent) gay and bisexual men drink alcohol on three or more days a week compared to 35 percent of men in general.”

According to reports, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) are more likely to get involved in substance abuse and continue drinking throughout their life, than the general population. Explaining the culture of heavy drinking in the LGBT community, a Scotland-based study, “The Social Context of LGBT People’s Drinking in Scotland,” observed that drinking alcohol becomes an important tool in identity construction. “Some female and transgender respondents were particularly aware of how their appearance and drinking combined to display particular gender identities,” added the study.

Gay community and alcoholism go back a long way

The association between gay men and alcoholism has been well-researched. The roots of this can be found in history when the LGBT community was considered illegitimate and people did not dare to come out in the open about their sexual orientation. In those times, underground bars and cafés became a refuge for the homosexuals and eventually the gay culture became synonymous with alcohol.

Notably, these bars and cafes were not just places where one went to party or booze but also became an escape where any individual belonging to the community was welcomed and respected. In these bars, the individuals were given the freedom to live and celebrate their identities. Even today, despite LGBT rights movement having gained popularity and more acceptance than in the past, many people still choose to express their identity by drinking heavily in these bars.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), besides alcohol, people belonging to the LGBT community are also at a higher risk of developing substance abuse, as they tend to believe that lowering the intake of alcohol will invite disrespect and humiliation from fellow members. As a result, gay men and women continue to drink heavily, added CDC.

Prevalence of alcoholism among the LGBT community

With more awareness, education and exposure, homosexuality has becoming accepted today and less of a taboo, though a lot of people still find it unacceptable. However, still a lot of restrictions are placed on homosexuals in some places and they are often discriminated against. For instance, it has been observed that many treatment centers do not treat the lesbian and gays the same way they would the general population. Therefore, many homosexuals fall back on alcohol to deal with the stress, struggle and disparity. Studies have also revealed that many gays and lesbians excessively consume alcohol as they do not have to worry about producing kids.

Alcoholism is treatable

Alcoholism in gay men and women began as an escape which eventually turned into an intrinsic part of their culture. Today, many from the community consider heavy drinking as their pride, a matter of honor and essential part of their identity. However, it should be noted that having an unconventional sexual orientation does not alter or make the hazards of alcohol less harmful. Hence, liver related diseases are common in the LGBT community.

If you or your loved one belong to the LGBT community and is struggling to overcome alcohol addiction, get in touch with the Alcohol Addiction Helpline of California to get to know the right treatment available at the alcohol rehab centers in California. You may call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-980-1715 or chat online to enquire about the reputed alcohol addiction treatment facilities in California. Our representatives will guide you to the best alcohol rehab centers in California.

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