Gay and Bisexual Men With Less Education and Income At Greater Risk of Suicide Interview with:
Oliver Ferlatte PhD

Men’s Health Research Program
University of British Columbia
Vancouver , British Columbia , Canada What is the background for this study?

Response: Suicide, like many other health inequities, is unevenly distributed among the population, with marginalized groups being most affected. In Canada, suicide has been found to particularly affect gay and bisexual men, aboriginal people and people living in rural and remote communities.

While the populations affected by suicide are not mutually exclusive – for example someone can be a bisexual Aboriginal man living in a remote community – much of the suicide prevention literature tends to treat these groups as such. Moreso, very little attention is given in suicide prevention research to diversity within groups: for example, we know very little about which gay and bisexual men are most at risk of attempting suicide. This situation creates a vacuum of knowledge about suicide among gay and bisexual and deprives us of critical information for the development of effective suicide prevention activities.

We therefore investigated in a survey of Canadian gay and bisexual men (Sex Now Survey), which gay and bisexual men are at increased risk of reporting a recent suicide attempt. The large sample of gay and bisexual men with 8493 participants allows for this unique analysis focused on the multiple, intersecting identities of the survey participants. What are the main findings?

Response: First we found that gay and bisexual men who were Aboriginal (First Nation, Metis or Inuit) reported a higher number of suicide attempts.

Second, We found that men that had both a lower education and a lower income were at significantly higher risk of suicide.

Third, among bisexual men, those who were in a relationship with a man reported a higher rate suicide attempt in the last 12 months while those in partnership with a woman had lower risk. What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: While gay and bisexual men are at increased risk of suicide, inequities exist within this group too. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Our research has some important implications for suicide prevention and research. The key message for prevention is that with 1 in 50 gay and bisexual men having attempted suicide in a 12 months period, a national prevention strategy for gay and bisexual men is urgently needed. More, so this strategy needs to take into account the unique experiences of those most vulnerable to suicide, including aboriginal gay and bisexual men, those with a lower income, and same-sex partnered bisexual men.

Finally, suicide among sexual minorities is largely under researched. More research is needed to inform prevention and how we can avoid these tragic deaths in our community. Research, like prevention, should take into account diversity and the intersecting effects of social categories to provide a more nuanced understanding of how suicide affects our community. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


J Homosex. 2017 Sep 8:1-20. doi: 10.1080/00918369.2017.1377489. [Epub ahead of print]

Recent Suicide Attempts Across Multiple Social Identities Among Gay and Bisexual Men: An Intersectionality Analysis.

Ferlatte O PhD1,2, Salway T PhD2,3, Hankivsky O PhD4, Trussler T EdD2, Oliffe JL PhD1, Marchand R PhD2.

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Last Updated on October 3, 2017 by Marie Benz MD FAAD