Does the holiday season make you feel stressed? Do the dark days of December bring you down? Then you're probably a lesbian.
Well, maybe not. What this recent survey actually reports is that more women who identify as lesbian say they are stressed during the holiday season than do women who identify as straight:
...four out of five (80%) of lesbian adults say they tend to feel more stressed around the holidays while 64% of the heterosexual women surveyed said they tend to feel more stressed. Additionally, while half (51%) of lesbians said they tend to feel depressed around the holidays, only 36% of heterosexual women said they did.Alright, pollsters, you've caught my eye. The majority of women, straight or gay, feel stressed around the holidays, but that lesbian community seems to have it worse (shocker). But what might be causing the additional stress for lesbians? Well, there could be a lot of reasons:
Estrangement from family, marginalization within and isolation from society, separation from children (sometimes due to custody battles), and inadequate access to culturally sensitive health care practitioners are all factors that can adversely affect mood during a season so identified with ‘family’ activities and 'belonging,'" said Dr. Linda Spooner, Chair of The Mautner Project’s Board of Directors and a practicing physician in Washington, D.C.Ah, so it isn't the lesbian gene that makes some women feel more glum around the holidays - it is that our society treats lesbians like crap - which is particularly evident during the Yuletide season's celebration of happy, happy togetherness. This is an important distinction to note, young "lesbian feminists hate Christmas" trolls.
Unfortunately, the survey did not look very deeply into what the participants themselves felt the source of their additional anxiety might be. In fact, the methodology was surprisingly simple:
The survey of 2,625 U.S. adults aged 18 or older was conducted online between November 7 and 13, 2007... 2,251 [participants] indicated they are heterosexual and 326 self-identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, with 111 self-identifying as lesbian.All of the women were asked to rank their agreement levels (from strongly agree to strongly disagree) with the following statements: "I tend to feel more stressed around the holidays" and "I tend to feel depressed around the holidays." That's it. We could almost conduct the same type of survey right here in the comments section.
Some Strollerderby readers worry that this poll's findings will provide "one more reason for people to believe lesbians should not be parents," presumably because nobody wants their mommies to be sniffling into their eggnog. Yet, the survey was actually commissioned by the Mautner Project, whose aim it is to improve "...the health of lesbians, bisexual, and transgender women who partner with women, and their families, through advocacy, education, research, and direct service." The Mautner Project goes on to say, "We envision a healthcare system that is guided by social justice and responsive to the needs of all people." Yeah, sounds nice.
So, as it turns out, I totally support the mission of the institution that commissioned the poll, yet I still think they overlooked the most interesting point. So, here is my question to you guys: Do you feel more stress and/or depressed around the holidays? If so, why?