The striking effect of homophobia on the mental health of young LGBTI people in Macedonia

Skopje, 28 April 2016

The young LGBTI people in Macedonia are to a bigger extent and more often exposed to depression, show higher levels of anxiety in social interaction, and more often conceal important information about themselves, unlike their straight counterparts.

These are the results of the first survey in Macedonia on the discrimination, violence, and bullying based on sexual orientation and gender identity among youth in Skopje conducted by Subversive Front in partnership with Youth educational forum. The research study was conducted on a convenience and snowball sample, and random multi-claster sample of young people aged 18-30, who live in the City of Skopje, using online questionnaire, paper-based face-to-face survey, and focus groups.

”The findings of this first-of-its-kind survey in Macedonia are striking. The harmful effect of homophobia and transphobia in society on the psychophysical health and general wellbeing of the young LGBTI people is clearly visible. Even more worrying is the harmful effect of internalized homophobia among the LGBTI people themselves, as well as the fact that discriminatory attitudes are being promoted by the educational professionals, which further aggravates the psycho-social functioning of the young LGBTI people.” – said Antonio Mihajlov, president of Subversive Front.

“Our recommendations as LGBTI activists and researchers, in treating and solving this problem, would be the increased social cohesion within the LGBTI community, improved mental health services for LGBTI people, continuation with the advocacy efforts toward adoption of inclusive legal framework for protection against discrimination, violence, hate crime and hate speech based on sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as conducting educational campaigns in sexual orientation and gender identity using contemporary literature and up-to-date information for the public and the educational professionals” – stated Kristefer Stojanovski, research consultant at Subversive Front.

The survey was conducted with financial support from Schüler Helfen Leben Stiftung from Berlin, Germany, and the complete research report can be downloaded here.