State to use $400K from taxpayers to study why the LGBTQ community gets drunk

The National Institutes of Health is conducting a study on whether gender norms in the US is causing LGBTQ youths to drink more than normal.

“[T]his proposed qualitative renewal project will examine the extent to which gendered norms shape risky drinking practices for sexual and gender minority (SGM) young adults (18-25),” the grant reads.

The study, which will draw on $400,000 of taxpayers’ money, was commissioned in late July and aims to gauge whether LGBTQ individuals are drinking more, and if so, why they are getting intoxicated.

“Alcohol has played a central role for SGM by facilitating exploration of sexuality and gender, coping with minority stress, trauma, and stigma and serving as an integral component of bars and clubs for SGM young adults,” it reads. “Given this central role, it is not surprising that problematic alcohol use, including heavy episodic drinking (HED) and intoxication, and alcohol-related problems are significant issues for SGM young adults.”

At its root, the study seeks to answer the question of whether dominant sexual culture is driving minority sexual orientations to drink more than average, and how that drinking subsequently shapes how they view themselves.

“In what ways are young adult SGMs’ meanings and patterns of intoxication shaped by their sexual and gender identities and beliefs about masculinity and femininity?” it asks in the summary.

The study will last more than 3 years, tracking more than 200 lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals through December 2020. The current budget pegs the end cost at $438,699.

Researchers are hopeful results will allow them to tailor alcohol use reduction and prevention programs to the LGBTQ community. The project is part of a larger ongoing study which examines the drinking habits between young men and women and has received over $1.4 million in the last three years.

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