This Pride month, become an ally!
Pride Month - June 1st - 30th
Anyone can experience a mental health problem. But those of us who identify as LGBTIQ+ are more likely to develop problems such as low self-esteem; depression; anxiety; eating problems; misusing drugs and alcohol; self-harm and suicidal feelings.
Being LGBTIQ+ does not cause these problems. The reasons why those of us with LGBTIQ+ identities are more likely to get them are complicated, but it is most likely to do with facing things such as homophobia, biphobia and transphobia; stigma and discrimination; difficult experiences of coming out; social isolation, exclusion and rejection.
“I’m certainly glad I opened up!” shares Lux Angelsong, who is genderfluid and bisexual. “ I felt quite alone when I first came out... but ironically the more people I spoke to about it, the more people also opened up to me about their own identities. I think that opening up the channel of communication about things can often lead to more positive experiences than initially imagined.”
This Pride month, become an ally! Being an ally is extremely important in promoting equality and inclusion, and can help reduce fear of coming out, such as that experienced by Jodie “I came to terms with my sexuality far earlier than I felt able to come out to friends and loved ones due to the fear of biphobia and bierasure.”
"I felt quite alone when I first came out... but ironically the more people I spoke to about it, the more people also opened up to me about their own identities."
An ally is someone who is not a member of an under-represented group who takes action to support equality, diversity and inclusion. You don’t need to be from any specific background or have a protected characteristic to be an ally.
- Familiarise yourself with the right language. Being aware of the respectful language to use when speaking to and about LGBTQI+ people is really powerful, and can help you feel more confident when discussing LGBTQI+ mental health. @stonewall have a comprehensive glossary of terms and definitions for you to read!
- Be aware of the mental health support available to LGBTQI+ people. In our previous Pride Month Post, we outlined some of the fantastic services out there to support LGBTQI+ people's mental health, including Bath Mind's Breathing Space services. Knowing about these can help you to recommend these services to your LGBTQI+ friends and family.
- Use pronouns. Adding your pronouns into your email signature, social media bios and video calls, for example, can create a more open atmosphere and allow people to express their identity in a safe space. Refer to people with the correct pronouns, and never pressure anyone to tell you their pronouns if they're not ready to.
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