Life span of gays and lesbians, living in hostile communities, was shorter by 12 years, compared to their counterparts living in friendly atmosphere, says a study.
The study also revealed that the former group had three times more chances of being murdered and they were more likely to die of heart disease.
The study's lead author Dr Mark Hatzenbuehler, assistant professor of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University, US, said, "Our findings indicate that sexual minorities living in communities with higher levels of prejudice die sooner than sexual minorities living in low-prejudice communities."
The study suggested that suicide rate was also higher for LGBT people in homophobic societies. Gay respondents living in unfriendly communities committed suicide at an average age of 37.5 years, while their happier peer group lived till 55.7 years. Thus, there was a difference of 18 years.
The findings also revealed that LGBT group members who were discriminated and faced homophobic suffered health problems due to these external factors.
Twenty years' data from the General Social Survey were culled out for the research. Hatzenbuehler said by the end of the study, 92 per cent gay respondents in hostile atmosphere were still alive, while this figure in highly biased communities stood at 78 per cent.
The research was published online by journal Social Science and Medicine.