What’s the Lifespan of a Gay Friend?

Despite the scientific evidence to the contrary, pro-homosexual group tend to insist that living the active homosexual “lifestyle” is just as healthy as heterosexuality. Some of the claims made by pro-homosexual groups are ridiculous on their face. For example, in its comically misnamed Intelligence Report, the Southern Poverty Law Center claimed:

MYTH #4: LGBT people don’t live nearly as long as heterosexuals.

THE ARGUMENT: Anti-gay organizations want to promote heterosexuality as the healthier “choice.” Furthermore, the purportedly shorter life spans and poorer physical and mental health of gays and lesbians are often offered as reasons why they shouldn’t be allowed to adopt or foster children.

Anyone who has done research in this area of public health knows that active homosexual behavior is not a healthy lifestyle, bringing tremendous deleterious physical and mental consequences.

Unfortunately, the research showing these effects is condemned or ignored by homophiles. To complement the research already done on this topic, HLI’s Dr. Brian Clowes took a different approach. He examined 6,089 obituaries of homosexual men from four homosexual magazines: The Bay Area Reporter, the Washington Blade, the New York Blade and This Week, published between 1980 to 2014 inclusive.

newspapers in a stack

There were only 138 obituaries for lesbians in these magazines, too small a sample from which to draw conclusions. Thus, the review Dr. Clowes completed is focused solely on gay males. To be included as a subject of this survey, a man had to be positively identified as a homosexual, which meant that only a fraction of available obituaries was used in this survey. The results included some fascinating observations.1

Primary Conclusion: Shorter Lifespans

As time passes and medical innovations proliferate, life spans are lengthening, including those of male homosexuals. However, their average life spans still lag significantly behind those of straight males. According to what Dr. Clowes observed in his review of obituaries, the average age of death for male homosexuals hovered around a dismal 40 years until about 1995, and then began to rapidly improve. As of 2014, it was about 60, an increase of 50% in about 20 years.

In 2014, the average loss of life for a male homosexual was about nine years. The average life span of male homosexuals may eventually compare to that of the general male population. “Gay” activists will inevitably point to this as proof that the active homosexual lifestyle is safe and healthy. But this is a fallacy. If you have HIV, and your very life depends on the constant consumption of powerful antiretrovirals, you are certainly not “healthy.”

The causes of death for male homosexual in the obituaries differed greatly from those of the general population. The rates of death of homosexual men from cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes are all significantly lower than those of the general population, because these homosexuals simply did not live long enough to die from them at greater rates. About three-fourths of the sample population died of HIV/AIDS at an average age of only 40.26 year during the survey period.

Scanning electron micrograph of HIV-1

Impact on Black and Transgender Populations

There are a number of very interesting conclusions regarding specific populations that can be drawn from this obituary survey.

For example, black male homosexuals lost fewer years of life than white male homosexuals over the time period of this survey (1980-2014). The 159 black male homosexuals in this summary died at an average age of 41.8 years, meaning an average loss of life of 19.3 years as compared to 23.3 years for white homosexuals.

It is also interesting to examine the health impacts of transgenderism. Not surprisingly, “transgendered” people in this survey die young, even when compared to the larger homosexual populations. The human body simply cannot tolerate the brutal abuse inflicted upon it by this kind of mutilation and its lifetime requirement of ingesting huge doses of extremely powerful hormones, or the constant messaging that one’s natural body is a prison of sorts and must be artificially altered. The 61 identified originally male “transgendered” people in this sample died at an average age of 40.7. Two-thirds of these death were violent in nature (murder, suicide and fatal accident).

Death, Religion and HIV/AIDS Research

While reading through these thousands of obituaries, Dr. Clowes noticed several interesting trends.

For example, there were certain prevalent attitudes toward death and religion.

  • To begin with, in contrast to the obituaries in mainstream newspapers, the ones for homosexuals studiously avoid using the words “died,” “dead” and “death,” perhaps as a kind of avoidance of acknowledging the very fact of death itself.
  • Strangely, many of these obituaries strongly assert that the deceased is definitely in Heaven and enjoying various (always physical) delights.
  • The obituaries often identify homosexuals as being “spiritual” but never as being “religious.” Some even claim that the deceased was a “fervent Catholic,” despite the deceased having countless sexual partners and helping to “defend” abortion clinics.

A raised fist of a protestor at a political demonstration

Not one of the thousands of obituaries acknowledged that promiscuous sex was the primary driver of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. nor is there acknowledgement of the fact that the government has spent hundreds of billions of dollars on research on AIDS and care for AIDS victims, and that every person who dies of AIDS has more money spent on him or her by the government than twenty cancer or heart disease sufferers. Instead, there was obvious misinformation such as the following:

  • One obituary read, in part, “Governmental inaction, corporate greed, and the queer-hatred of the US citizenry have murdered one more of our warriors.”
  • Another claimed that the deceased “was the first protestor to rush to the Dallas Convention Center’s huge glass doors, bang on the glass, and shout, ‘Murderers! Murderers!’ at Goerge Bush and the Religious Roundtable.”
  • Yet another complained, “Another hero is dead, killed as much by fundamentalist arrogance and governmental indifference as by HIV.”
  • Some were “murdered by homophobia and the government;” “killed by AIDS, homophobia, and a government indifferent to his pains and needs.”
  • Another claimed, “Greed and government apathy continue to spread the AIDS epidemic.”

The hatred many homosexuals have for the Catholic Church is strong and is often vividly portrayed in these obituaries:

  • Even though the Church lovingly cared for one man for months as he was dying, the writer of his obituary couldn’t resist penning a little improbable anti-Church propaganda: “For the last six months of his life, Wayne lived at the Catholic-run Gift of Love Hospice in San Francisco. Although Wayne lived as an atheist all his life, the nuns coaxed him to convert to Catholicism, offering large supplies of candy and cigarettes in return.”
  • Another “was also well-known for his furies, for his rages at the Pope and the devastating impact of homophobia.”
  • Yet another said that “his greatest concern in life was the exposing and dismantling of religion, which he felt was the greatest threat to human liberty and freedom.”
  • Finally, one obituary described the deceased as “a valiant Knight of truth” who “fought superstition and the tyranny of Christist [sic] dogma; he is now a Free-man of the City of the Stars.”

gay couple arguing

The authors used a wide range of terms to describe their relationships and their companions in their obituaries: “significant other,” “lover,” “lifetime companion,” “long-term roommate,” “special friend,” “domestic partner,” “love/mate,” “companion,” “partner in life,” “very close friend,” “long-term friend,” “special best friend,” “soulmate,” and even demeaning terms such as “insignificant other” and “sidemeat.”

There was very frequent mention of association with Alcoholics Anonymous and a “recovery community,” and ample evidence of other addictions. Most noticeably, there are many quotes boasting that “he lived life his way” or “he lived life on his own terms.” These include obituaries for people who “loved to have things his way;” “always refused to abide by the rules;” and “led a wild life, and he lived it exactly as he chose.” One taught others to “do what you want in your lives – no excuses,” and another came to San Francisco “in search of a new and guilt-free life.” The most common expression was: “I am not here for a long time, just a good time!”

Physical and Emotional Health Issues in the LGBT Community

The review of obituaries only scratched the surface regarding the poor physical and mental health that LGBT individuals have.

It’s no secret that sexually active homosexuals have higher rates of HIV/AIDS and that men who have sex with men have higher rates of STDs. This fact alone shows the vulnerability sexually active homosexuals have in regard to overall health and well-being. A study focusing on married gay men and lesbians in Denmark found that though treatment of HIV/AIDS has decreased mortality rates, mortality rates among homosexuals remained higher than the rest of the population.

many candles burning

We have also seen how homosexuals have more partners than heterosexuals, which creates a higher risk for STDs. For example, this study shows that homosexuals aged 35-39 had a median of 67 partners, whereas heterosexuals of the same age range had a median of 10.

LGBT individuals have higher rates of mental illnesses as compared to straight individuals. LGB individuals are two times more likely to develop a mental health issue, while transgenders are four times more likely. The suicide risk is also twice as high for LGB individuals, and the risk of substance abuse is almost twice as high. LGBT individuals also intentionally consume pornography at higher rates than others.

In addition, there is a strong overlap between being “gender-diverse” and having autism. While clearly not all “gender-diverse” people are autistic, and not all autistic people have gender dysphoria, the overlap is significant. The question we must ask, then, is whether having gender dysphoria is a trait of autism.

This combination of factors suggest that the LGBT lifestyle poses greater risks to health.

What Causes Mental Health Issues in the LGBT Community?

We are expected to accept that the greater risk to mental and emotional health is simply because of “hatred and discrimination” against LGBT people. But we live in a world that is increasingly pro-LGBT, to the point of “canceling” anyone who dares hold a different opinion, even going so far as to compel speech. Despite this, the risk of worse mental and emotional health in LGBT people remains. Thus, we must ask – is “discrimination” truly the root of the issue? Did these individuals experience mental illnesses before or independent of identifying as LGBT? Or is there something about the lifestyle or the “community” that contributes to mental health issues? The research on this topic is sorely lacking.

Perhaps the answer to these questions is much simpler. Perhaps, in the case of transgenderism, being chronically unhappy with one’s body and being told that surgery is the only way to feel like oneself contributes to body image issues and depression. Perhaps young people who are insecure and trying to discover who they are, who also feel a sense of loneliness, turn to the LGBT “community” to try to feel accepted or part of something. Perhaps these young people end up convinced they are LGBT.

This is not to say that all homosexual individuals suffer from mental illnesses or are simply searching for belonging. Certainly, there are those who genuinely experience attraction to the same sex, and loneliness or belonging would not change that fact. But it is essential to be able to ask questions and get to the heart of the issue, rather than to silence anyone who says something different.

young woman talking to therapist

Common Objections to the Obituary Study

Many pro-gay sources object to the findings of such studies. They often claim the following:

  1.  The study is fundamentally flawed as it does not include “closeted” gays. This objection makes little sense, as it is not merely same-sex attraction that brings these issues to light, but rather being sexually active, promiscuous or living a homosexual lifestyle. Thus, the inclusion of only “out-of-the-closet” gays is sufficient.
  2. A review of obituaries does not provide enough data to be applied to the general homosexual population. Those who make this claim bring little to no evidence of why a thorough review of thousands of obituaries is insufficient in scope to apply to a larger population, or even simply to make observations and come to primary conclusions. Some even claim that the homosexuals included in such studies were better off than homosexuals in general. If this were true, then the lifespans discovered through obituaries are actually longer than homosexuals in general. This would skew the data and show that homosexuals have even shorter lifespans.
  3. The study does not include enough lesbians. It is true, the study Dr. Clowes conducted did not include enough lesbians to produce a reliable sample size. However, the study focuses on homosexual men, a cohort that provided a large enough sample size from which to draw conclusions. A study that focuses on gay men cannot be criticized for not including lesbians and gay men. The conclusions made apply to homosexual men.

Final Thoughts: Homosexual Behavior Harms Mental and Physical Health

This thorough review of thousands of obituaries brought to light many interesting observations. As we have seen, the life expectancy of sexually active gay and bisexual men seems to be lower than others. LGBT individuals also suffer worse mental and physical health than their straight counterparts.

black man crying sad, black and white photo

There are lessons we can learn from these trends.

What is most troubling is that some homosexuals who learned that they were infected with HIV decided to continue practicing promiscuous sex, regardless of how many other lives were endangered. One obituary revealed:

By the time he was 22, Warren knew he was infected [with HIV]. Nonetheless, he lived passionately and exuberantly, putting as much intense and ecstatic sex as he could into every day, sharing his joy widely….[He left his occupation of] chemistry for slavery because he had learned to follow his bliss.

Slavery indeed. It is depressing to read the stories of so many wasted lives. It is even more disheartening to see that these obituaries carry no sign that others learned from their obvious lessons. Homosexual activists frequently boast about their genius and talent, then deliberately proceed to deprive the world of these qualities.

Egocentrism can be a terrible – and even fatal – character flaw.

This article was originally published in June 2020 by Dr. Brian Clowes and was most recently updated in January 2024 by Marisa Cantu.

+ Endnote

[1] For collected details on each of the obituaries and an analysis, email Brian Clowes at bclowes@hli.org and ask for F-25-B.XLS, “Life Spans of Male and Female Homosexuals in the United States.”

Brian Clowes, PhD

Dr. Brian Clowes has been HLI’s director of research since 1995 and is one of the most accomplished and respected intellectuals in the international pro-life movement. Best known as author of the most exhaustive pro-life informational resource volume The Facts of Life, and for his Pro-Life Basic Training Course, Brian is the author of nine books and over 500 scholarly and popular articles, and has traveled to 70 countries on six continents as a pro-life speaker, educator and trainer.

Marisa Cantu has a master's in political science and international affairs and a bachelor's in political science. She has also studied international studies and French. She has a strong background in nonprofit work, research, writing, and policy proposal and analysis.


  1. David on May 11, 2024 at 12:23 AM

    This seems pretty misleading given two recent studies, one in the US, one in Sweden, found no excess mortality in gay or bisexual men?


    You’re allowed to critique same-sex behavior as sinful, but surely we should try and stay factual.

    • HLI Staff on June 13, 2024 at 3:16 PM

      Thanks for your comment, David!
      If you find no specific issue to bring up about Dr Clowes’ study, how can you put these other studies above his in terms of reliability? Please show where the methodology in the study is wrong.
      Additionally, the study in Sweden concludes that bisexuals had higher mortality than heterosexuals, which would align with Dr. Clowes’ findings.
      God bless,
      HLI Staff

  2. Joe on February 15, 2024 at 1:43 PM

    I usually don’t comment on things, but the comments section was as interesting and revealing at the article itself. There are two main threads of comment. One is “I was in the gay group and thank God I am out of that mess forever”, and the other is the “Gay is good and you horrible, religious bigots are just full of hate for saying anything other than gay is good. Oh, and colonialism bad.”.

    It is an oversimplification, but the gay community is a community primarily revolving around hedonism. I’m sure there are some selfless acts in there somewhere, but the heterosexual community revolves partly around hedonism certainly, but there is a lot of self-sacrifice involved once children start showing up. And as the bible states repeatedly, love is self-sacrifice. And that self-sacrifice and giving of oneself for others is where one finds Joy and happiness in life.

    It is anecdotal, but my one gay friend lives alone and suffers from depression. I live very happily with my wife of many, many years, and my life is full with helping my children and playing with grandchildren.

  3. Paul David on January 16, 2024 at 7:24 PM

    Nice job brother, appreciate the honest testimony, thank you very much.
    For those who follow their feelings of the flesh shall lead to their death and those who follow the Spirit of Holiness, bringing the Truth of His Word shall lead to life and life Everlasting.
    Remember to prayer like the mighty and receive like the mighty, the Messiah is not a respecter of mankind, for what HE has done for one, He will do for another.
    Colossians 1:9 since we heard you come to the faith we have not ceased in praying, that you may **be filled** with the
    *full knowledge* of
    *His will for you*,
    in*all wisdom* and
    *spiritual understanding*.
    Don’t forget to memorize His word and pray His word back to Him, because He Only speaks & does His Father’s word.
    Pray daily for your daily increase in strengthening of The Shield of Faith (Acts 19:20), coming down from the Father of Lights(James1:17).
    Ephesians6:10-18 HRB2012 ¹⁰ For the rest, my brothers, be made powerful in our Master and in the might of His strength.
    ¹¹ Put on all the armor of YAHWEH, for you to be able to stand against the strategies of the Devil, (Hebrew Roots Bible 2012),
    Be faithful in praying for the
    6-pieces of armor that follows and He will be faithful to show you the 7-piece of even greater power !!!!!!! His will Enders forever and are good work shall burn like hay and stubble, whose will do we strive after doing. Pray !!

  4. Canadian ex gay on January 24, 2023 at 9:32 PM

    Although this study is certainly simplistic, I can say that as a man who once considered himself gay but no longer does, that many of the conclusions of this are in fact true… even today. I saw much of this in the 20 years I spent identifying as gay.

    The gay male community is not a happy or safe place. No comment on the lesbians (the same-sex oriented male and female communities are very separate). I am so much happier for having left that community and I am thankful to have found a therapist to help me resolve the issues that lead to the development of same sex attraction.

    I would absolutely recommend the books Repairative Therapy of Male Homosexuality and Shame and Attachment Loss by Joseph Nicolosi. Reading them was like reading the story of my life. I am so glad I woke up and was able to walk away from a gay life and I am now engaged in a hetero relationship.

    • HLI Staff on January 25, 2023 at 2:02 PM

      Thank you for sharing your journey. We appreciate your insight and are glad you found our article informative.

  5. Alex on July 9, 2022 at 4:19 AM

    For all of you opponents to this article, read the following:

    https://biblebelievers.com/Cameron2.html. Copy and paste if it doesn’t open. Data is data.

    This next one is a LONG read. Read ALL OF IT! It is TRUTH that most homosexuals will never admit. Why? Because of “pride”.

    https://virtueonline.org/negative-health-effects-homosexuality. Copy and paste if it doesn’t open.

    Data is data. We are to love the sinner but hate the sin. Romans 12:9; Ezekiel 33:11 among others.

    Look up Kristian Kier and Rosaria Butterfield. They were both like you opponents. The Holy Spirit reached into them, healed them, transformed them, convicted them, restored them, and now they are FREE in Jesus Christ.

    Dear Holy Trinity, help and cause the heterosexual community to love all over our homosexual and lesbian brothers and sisters. Cause that love to heal and transform our brothers and sisters like You did Kristian and Rosaria. We humbly ask this in the name of the Great High Priest Jesus Christ, amen.

  6. Jono on July 4, 2022 at 7:34 PM

    Confirmation bias of the highest (or should I say lowest) order. This is an egregious and transparent misrepresentation of the facts to allow you to hold on to your religious beliefs and keep hating gay people for no reason at all. Not a single mention of the massive amount of heterosexuals who have contracted aids through sharing needles, infected blood transfusions and heterosexual sex, not to mention AIDS contracted in the womb. Not a single mention of the massive amount of discrimination, violence and social ostracization that have been the primary causes of gay and transgender people being unlikely to live as long as heterosexuals. Actually, I take that back. You mentioned that two thirds of transgender people in your sample died as a result of some kind of violence, immediately after you asserted that they die young because of all of the hormones and theropy they undergo throughout their lives. Congratulations. You’ve just successfully rebutted your own argument! How about next time, you do a similar study on obituaries of Catholic priests. Maybe you can come up with a similarly informative rant to explain all the child abuse. Do you really have a PhD? I sincerely hope not.

    • HLI Staff on July 5, 2022 at 7:48 AM

      Jono, According to the John Jay report, 81% of Catholic priests’ sexual assault victims were male, in other words these were crimes with a homosexual orientation.

  7. Username on April 16, 2022 at 8:08 AM

    It’s terribly unhealthy. As a guy who’s struggled with same-sex attraction throughout my young life (I’m nearly 30 now) I can’t help but feel relieved that I avoided many of the dangers of this lifestyle including suicide. I know that God got me through it especially during the period of 4 years in which I began university and stopped going to church. This destructive lifestyle revolves around looks and sex. Relationships are almost never monogamous, and guys in this “community” are always putting each other down. Not much of a community really. It’s annoying. In fact, other gay men made my experience as a gay guy a miserable one more so than the rare straight homophobe. I see the trends in this article amongst other gays and lesbians. It’s sad and scary. Many LGBT supporters will argue that the Bible is so old as to be lost in translation, but that’s not true. God doesn’t hate gays. He hates homosexuality because of the lifestyle that brings about everything this article discusses. Unfortunately our biased liberal media won’t acknowledge these facts.

    • HLI Staff on April 19, 2022 at 8:37 AM

      Thank you for sharing your experience. You are right. God, and we, are to “hate the sin” and love the sinner.

    • Alex on July 9, 2022 at 4:23 AM

      Yes Username, Kristian Kier would concur. Thank you for your honesty.

  8. Adam on February 8, 2022 at 12:15 PM


    You can pick whatever card you want, yet LGBTQ people have more mental illnesses, die younger, have more health conditions, and usually are incapable of conceiving with their partners. If the entire population was LGBTQ humanity would have gone extinct by now.
    The ones acting like a cult are the ones hiding this info and not allowing further advances in helping people be able to do what healthy humans do: live long lives and reproduce.
    If people want to die young that’s fine, it’s their choice, but let’s not lie about it.
    Also the fact that they can work properly in other areas of life makes no argument in favor of them: people smoke and can work properly in other areas yet they increase the likelihood of dying from cancer.
    Most LGBTQ have either biological conditions, mental health conditions or untreated past traumas and some of this are mainly related to the sexual component.
    The emperor is not wearing clothes no matter what you say and any person with a small amount of reading comprehension can read the data and research beyond the politically correct narratives and see that.
    You can believe whatever you want though.

  9. Xavier on August 9, 2021 at 5:18 AM

    I don’t know how I stumbled upon this. What a load of oversimplified nonsense (to say the least), but that is to be expected from “research” and perspectives rooted in bigotry and the delusions that come with religious dogma. Your article is all over the place but fails to ascend beyond a place of ignorance and gross misinformation that comes with generalizations. Try again, and this time, consider the premise that homosexuality is not a lifestyle. Furthermore, it is outrageously asinine to write about matters of emotional, physical, and mental health among homosexuals or any member of the LGBTQ community without considering the history and impact of injustice, inequality, violence, discrimination, and oppressive systems dealt to them by Christians, Muslims, Catholics, the onset of Colonialism and their demonization of homosexuals and transgendered people. This, of course, requires actual research and deeper interactions with large numbers of people across generations who identify as homosexual – but, perhaps, this would conflict with your true intention. It is evident in your choice of words and writing. The spread of propaganda relies on willful ignorance and the cherry picking of information. On another note, you sound like a self-hating gay man in the closet.

    • Sveta on September 15, 2021 at 6:19 AM

      Xavier, your comment is just some kind of nonsense. No facts, no proof, no “research”. Just nonsense, as usually, from lgbtq, gay and other “happy with their life people” groups…

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