3 ways the social stigma surrounding the LGBTQIA + community affects their mental health
Celebrated as Pride Month across the world, June has become a must-see for all members of the LGBTQIA + community. Carried by massive, energetic and colorful marches through the city, Pride Month is a celebration of the LGBTQIA + community, while also being a way to raise awareness of the issues and issues it faces.
Throughout history, the LGBTQIA + community has been the victim of systemic abuse. Fearing reprimand, exclusion and violence, many community members withdraw a significant part of their identity from society in an attempt to hide their lived realities, often leading to various mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression and PTSD. Coupled with this, the stigma surrounding mental health and the supposedly taboo discussions about it, we understand how this can prevent an individual in the LGBTQIA + community from seeking help.
In our society, the importance of good mental health for an individual is often overlooked, regardless of their sexual orientation. However, the LGBTQIA + community faces increased challenges when it comes to resolving these issues due to the systemic biases that exist. Here are three major impacts that this social stigma surrounding the LGBTQIA + community has on the mental health of these people.
In their youth, individuals in the LGBTQIA + community were much more likely to develop anxiety due to social stigma because they internalized feelings of shame for things that were normalized for all cis-heteronormative youth. This creates a feeling of disparity and conflict of identity within the individual. This is a well-known phenomenon, especially in India, where difficulties in being accepted in society lead the vast majority of the LGBTQIA + community to lose confidence in society, snowballing the impact of anxiety on much higher levels.
Several members of the LGBTQIA + community also find themselves in extreme financial debt due to the stigma they face when seeking employment opportunities. Our natives hijra community have long been victims of this discrimination, which has led them to be ostracized by society. Coming out of the closet also presented a high risk of rejection by their families as well as by society in general.
Depression often finds its roots in people in the LGBTQIA + community in their childhood due to the bullying, harassment and physical violence they face. From school to playground to their own home, LGBTQIA + youth are not immune to many forms of prejudice. Even in adulthood, individuals face constant persecution on the basis of their identity.
Even today, non-heterosexual expressions of love meet fierce resistance from cis-het society as a whole. Institutionalized discrimination seldom provides an opportunity for restoring mental health within the LGBTQIA + community. The sheer frequency of these stigmatizing experiences leads to a life severely affected by depression as well as other health risks such as substance abuse, self-harm, and risky sexual behavior.
An unfortunately common experience that many members of the LGBTQIA + community face is post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD, where those affected can be triggered intensely due to past experiences of abuse resulting from stigma and crime. hateful. The stress experienced by the LGBTQIA + community on a daily basis can range from discrimination at home, at work or in public places, to internal stressors such as concealing one’s identity to protect against any external triggers.
Individuals can develop various coping mechanisms such as negative thoughts of the self, hyper vigilance and hyper arousal. PTSD often lasts for months or years, often even a lifetime without proper care, healing and rehabilitation due to inaccessibility.
At the end of the day, we have to recognize that we are unfortunately far from achieving true equality. Everyone should have the right to love whomever they want and to identify what they want, without fear of being judged or punished. This is why Pride Month shines as a beacon of hope, equality and personal identity against shame and prejudice.