Archive for the tag - lgbt

Why Do Gay Teens Binge Drink?

3111kghWOHLI’m gay. And I don’t drink alcohol.

For a lot of people in the gay world, a proclamation as such is met with suspicion. The follow-up question is usually, “But not ever? Ever?”

Alcoholism seems to run in my family. My great-grandfather was a terrible alcoholic and very abusive toward my great-grandmother and grandfather. As the recipient of this abuse, my grandfather promised himself that he’d never drink. He kept this promise his entire life – even while serving as a¬†bombardier during World War II.

When I was entering my teenage years, my grandfather encouraged me to make a similar promise. And so I did. Aside from a sip of alcohol from my dad’s beer when I was a 4 or 5, I’ve never tasted alcohol.

My story aside, it seems that alcohol plays a very central role in the gay and lesbian community. To be fair, alcohol plays a central role for many people – gay or straight – but, in the gay world, alcohol seems to be an especially celebrated focal point. Where there are gays, there is often alcohol consumption. In fact, according to a study by Laurie A. Drabble, PhD, 75% of gay people identify as current drinkers versus 59% of straights. On average, gay people drink 16% more than straight people.

Just last week, a new study was presented by the Pediatric Academic Society during their annual meeting in Vancouver, BC. It’s the first of its kind to explore the relationship between binge drinking and minority stress experiences – like gay-related victimization and homophobia – in gay teenagers. According to the study, chronic stress caused by difficult social situations can be attributed to higher rates of binge drinking in gay and lesbian teenagers versus their straight peers.

Gay or straight, alcohol abuse is a large and complicated problem. Beyond sabotaging your gym results, alcoholism can wreak havoc on many areas of your life. But studies like these may lead to tailored treatment and prevention approaches rooted in the unique experiences of higher risk populations – including the gay and lesbian community.

What do you think? Do you think alcohol abuse is a big problem in the gay and lesbian community?