“Gay” really does mean “happy”! The University of Montreal published the findings of a study they did in the current issue of Psychosomatic Medicine that addresses some differences between gays and straights when it comes to happiness and stress management. They studied 87 of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and heterosexual Canadians and found that the queer members of their study that had come out of the closet to family and friends “have less anxiety, depression, and burnout” than those who hadn’t. To add to that, the study’s leader (Robert-Paul Juster) said that as a group, out gay and bisexual males “were less likely to be depressed than heterosexual men and had less physiological problems than heterosexual men.” These findings were also published on U.S. News.

Juster concludes from their findings that coming out is good for many reasons. “Our research suggests coming out of the closet has some health benefits,” says Robert-Paul Juster, the study’s lead author. “Coming out is no longer a matter of popular debate, but a matter of public health.”

“Something about coming out of the closet might make them more resilient — if you go through a major, stressful event like that you have to develop coping strategies that you might be able to use in the future,” he says. “We also saw body mass index and inflammation were lower in gay and bisexual men, which fits with the idea that they’re taking better care of their bodies than heterosexual men.”

“We shouldn’t all just have to come out,” Juster told CTV Montreal in his interview with them (shown in the header photo). “It’s very a personal process and there’s a lot of research out there that suggests that there’s a period of time when there’s increased rates of suicide and depression.”

To read more about the study and what their plans are, check out the article on US News here or the abstract of the report on PscychosomaticMedicine.org.