Eating Disorders are Pervasive in the LGBT Community - Amy Simpson on DailyDot.com
Julia Laxer first developed bulimia when she was 14, shortly after she was raped. As the Portland, Oregon, resident describes it today at age 35, her eating disorder was a “bad seed” that was planted by the assault on her body—a seed that grew to merge with the various mental health challenges that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can bring.
San Antonio-based Eric Dorsa is 27 but recalls his eating disorders (he was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa and binge-eating disorder) starting when he was just an eight-year-old child and ramping up into a serious health problem at around age 12. Growing up in what he calls a “very conservative religious home,” Dorsa described an atmosphere of “shaming and secrecy” in which his disorder—which led to his hospitalization for heart failure—was never discussed.
According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), some studies have shown that gay, lesbian, and bisexual teens are at a higher risk for bulimia and binge-eating disorders. One study found that among men with eating disorders, a staggering 42 percent identify as gay. Lesbian and bisexual women were also found to be about twice as likely to engage in binge eating.
The research on eating disorders in the LGBT community, though, is too limited to be considered comprehensively accurate. According to Amy Simpson, weekend programming lead at the Eating Recovery Center of Washington, there’s a strong need for further research, but it can also be complicated to conduct.
Amy Simpson of ERC Washington discusses eating disorders among the LGBT community.