In my first year of college, we had a counsellor come to us and claim to cure bisexuality. A few events I attended after that had a rather homophobic note. To the credit of the institution, they got a new therapist and we were asked not to make “political comments during events”(at what point sexual identity became political is beyond me). In the spirit of people attaching rainbows to company logos let us see how far we have come and what we seem to have left out.
At the risk of sounding repetitive, is the world accepting of the LGBTQIA+ community? Companies and organisations during pride month will have you think all of them are allies or actively working towards diversity and inclusion. From Google dedicating their logo to honour Frank Kameny and Linkedin adding a rainbow. But do companies want to be inclusive? Twitter has a marketing page dedicated to how the LGBTQIA+ community is a ‘market to tap into’. Is our identity just a trope and a marketing strategy?
As disturbing as that is, we should ask ourselves what real inclusivity is. There are multiple sources to tell you how the cause has been tainted by corporate marketing and token representation. The real struggles of inclusivity are often foreshadowed by corporates acting progressively and tricky policymakers remaining ambiguous. One such aspect not often discussed and almost never regarded as a serious problem is the availability of mental health resources for members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Studies show that despite being at a higher risk for mental health issues like anxiety and identity crises and more likely to have unmet healthcare needs, getting quality help in terms of mental health has always been a struggle for the community as a whole.
More than half (54%) of LGBTQ youth who reported wanting mental health resources in the past year did not receive it in the United States alone. Another study in India conducted between 2009-2019 showed the prevalence of mental health concerns among LGBTQIA+ individuals in India with high concentrations reporting suicidal tendencies and severe cases of harassment. Yet another study by the Trevor Project showed that 40% of LGBTQ respondents seriously considered attempting suicide in the past twelve months. More than half of transgender and non-binary youth have also seriously considered suicide.
Studies show that even if you are lucky enough to get help, there are multiple unhelpful therapeutic practices and even discrimination based on race, creed, and income brackets, and a person belonging to multiple marginalised groups is likely to receive a lower standard of care compared to their peers. Reportedly, there has been a lack of safe spaces even with mental health professionals and cases of blatant disregard for issues faced by members of the community in India. Another crisis faced by the community is a lack of understanding, even among peers and family members.
Now that we have highlighted the very serious and relatively-disturbing problems faced by the community, it is now time to see what we can do to make the situation better.
- Try and be a good ally by educating yourself on allyship. LonePack is ready to help you!
- Lend your voice as an ally to the community while also being respectful and understanding of the cause.
- Support community-building – by members themselves and in conjunction with service providers – which is an important part of improving health for people of the LGBTQ+ community.
- Popularise the practice of affirmative therapy.
- Reach out to and/or support organisations like the Trevor Project that aim to make quality healthcare more accessible to at-risk youth.
- If you need to speak with a professional, LonePack has a ‘Resources’ page with details of vetted mental health professionals who provide inclusive therapy, often at subsidised rates.