Open J Psychiatry Allied Sci. 2018 Nov 1. [Epub ahead of print]

Self-reported sexual orientation, relationships pattern, social connectedness, disclosure, and self-esteem in Indian men who use online gay dating website.

Soohinda G, Jaggi PS, Sampath H, Dutta S.

Abstract

Background: The lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community faces unique stressors in the form of nondisclosure of their sexual orientation, relationship dissatisfaction, social isolation, and low self-esteem. Data regarding this community in India is scarce due to fear of discrimination and abuse. Aims: To describe the pattern of sexual orientation, relationships, social connectedness, and disclosure in men and to assess their self-esteem and its association with “coming out”. Method: This was a cross-sectional observational study of Indian men who use a gay dating website. Results: Majority of the 277 respondents were salaried, had higher education, unmarried, and belonged to Hindu religion. Seventy two per cent of the subjects expressed their orientation as either exclusively or predominantly homosexual and 18% as bisexual. Among those in relationship, an equal number reported being satisfied with the relationship (40%) and felt socially connected (53%). Seventy to 80% of them had a feeling of missing companionship and being left out. Sixty one per cent were not open about their orientation at all times. Eighty per cent of the subjects were not open at workplace and with family. The average age of coming out of the closet was 19.71 years (SD±6.67). The mean scores on the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale of the entire sample was 28.49 (SD±5.55). There was no association between age of coming out and self-esteem scores. Self-esteem scores were significantly lower in subjects who were in the closet and those who had negative coming out experiences. Conclusion: There is a need to address the sexual minority stress faced by this community due to social isolation and concealment which affects the self-esteem.

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