Science says hate kills.
If the constant stream of homophobic headlines isn't enough to tell you that hate kills, a new study from Columbia University has found that homophobia is incredibly bad for your health. Hating on gays is so destructive, in fact, that it may take up to two-and-a-half years off your life.
Looking into data from over 20,000 interviews from 1988 to 2008's General Social Survey along with the National Death Index, researchers found that it was the straight homophobes who were much more likely to be dead by the end of the study than rainbow flag-flying friends. Those who held hateful beliefs like homosexuality is always wrong, homoerotic literature should be banned, or that homosexuals shouldn't be able to teach, met their demise about 25 percent faster than accepting heterosexuals. Even after controlling for variables like education, income, age, gender, race, marital status, and self-rated health.
While the study isn't watertight in light of other health problems that vary person-to-person, it does support previous studies which have proven other social stressors, like racism, can contribute to early mortality. It's no surprise that the leading cause for these types of stress-related deaths is cardiovascular disease. Hating gays and other minorities actually leads to cold, black hearts. And it isn't just those who are spreading the hate: a separate study found that sexual minorities living in communities with high prejudice had higher mortality rates than sexual minorities residing in gay-friendly neighborhoods.
Studies like this contribute to the ongoing conversations about our society's latent homophobia, the harm of dismissing communities, and how hate is corrosive to overall well being. Remember the next time you throw around some hate speech on the subway, at brunch, or on a Reddit thread — it's your funeral.
Image via Flickr.