Pride Month is an opportunity to celebrate and honor the LGBTIQ2S community and acknowledge the progress that has been made in promoting the rights and acceptance of people who identify as LGBTIQ2S. Unfortunately, LGBTIQ2S people continue to be misunderstood and face stigma and discrimination. Experiencing stigma, discrimination, and other sources of sexual and gender minority stress can take a toll on LGBTIQ2S community members’ mental health and wellbeing.
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Intersex, Queer, Questioning, and Two-Spirit (LGBTIQ2S) people have a higher risk of mental health problems. According to Canadian Mental Health Associaton the increase risk of mental health problems faced by LGBTIQ2S people is due to the impact of discrimination and violence, social exclusion, and inequitable access to economic resources.
“It takes no compromise to give people their rights … it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression.”Harvey Milk
According to LGBTQ MENTAL HEALTH, Canadian studies indicate that LGB people are more likely than heterosexuals to seek out mental health support and have unfulfilled mental health needs. Studies found more depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive and phobic disorders, suicidal thoughts and acts, self-harm, and alcohol and drug dependence among LGBTQ people. Also, LGB people are almost twice as likely to encounter personal loss, childhood mistreatment, interpersonal violence, and develop post-traumatic stress disorder.
“Ally: someone who believes in the dignity and respect of all people and takes action by supporting and/or advocating with groups experiencing social injustice.”Egale Canada Human Rights Trust
Inequality impacts mental health. As Pride Month comes to a close, it’s essential to keep the sentiment of acceptance and inclusivity going. Below are some suggestions from GLAAD.org on how you can be an ally and friend to LGBTIQ2S people.
- Be a good listener.
- Be open-minded.
- Be willing to talk.
- Be inclusive.
- Don’t assume that all your friends and co-workers are straight.
- Anti- LGBTIQ2S comments and jokes are harmful. Let your friends, family and co-workers know that you find them offensive.
- Confront your own prejudices and bias, even if it feels uncomfortable.
- Defend your LGBTIQ2S friends against discrimination.
- Believe that all people, regardless of gender identity and sexual orientation, should be treated with dignity and respect.
- If you see LGBTIQ2S people being misrepresented in the media, reach out to GLAAD.