The LGBTQIA community has experienced a tremendous amount of discrimination for decades. For many people, this discrimination starts at home, with their family members, and friends. Unfortunately, when you’re surrounded by negativity- especially when it’s coming from someone who is supposed to love you unconditionally- it can be difficult not to internalize that hate. This leads to feelings of worthlessness and isolation. The long-term effects of this type of behavior are devastating; they range from anxiety, depression, addiction, and suicide.
This post will explore how alienation impacts mental health in the LGBTQIA community and what you can do about it.
Coming out, but not accepted
The journey to self-acceptance often begins with understanding your gender and sexuality. In society, there are social norms expected of individuals that do not always fall in line with their authentic selves. Coming out to friends, family and your community can be mentally exhausting and physically dangerous. The LGBTQIA youth and adults live in constant fear of discrimination, violence, and oppression from society.
You are treated with disrespect, rejections, and taunting. You are distressed constantly by the way you are treated, but it is not within your power to change it. The powerlessness that comes with not being accepted and being hated by others leads to constant mental health struggles. Anxiety, depression, self-harm, post-traumatic stress disorder, and panic disorder are only a few examples of what can occur when you live in a world that is pitted against you.
When you live in fear at home, at school, and in any public space this causes mental health symptoms that negatively impact your life.
Types of mental health struggles
Anxiety is fear and excessive worry about what will happen. This can be a result of constantly feeling like you are in danger. At the same time, you have the pressure from society to be what you are not. Going out in public you may worry if your clothes look too masc or fem. If your hair is too bright, will someone notice the pride bracelet that you wear and decide to accost you. Life is a giant ball of anxiety because the world is against you.
When someone feels as though they do not fit into the world around them, it is difficult to find where you matter. The voice of conformity is constantly yelling in your ear, but you hate yourself for being forced into this fictitious life. You feel like you don’t matter, that you are broken and unworthy. Your self-esteem begins to disappear as people’s negative and harmful voices echo in your mind. When someone is constantly in fear, they begin to feel like there is no room for them in this world. Instead of fighting back and speaking out against injustice, it’s easier to just give up and let your mind fall apart. This pain leads to self-harm and in worst cases suicide. Negativity and abuse because of who you are can destroy a person from the inside out.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is caused by trauma. The trauma does not have to be physical but can be an emotional trauma that challenges your perception of life. Hypervigilance to make sure you are safe takes over your world. Distrust and fear take over which causes extensive mental strain. PTSD does not go away. You can start the healing process and continually cope with the symptoms, but the scars from the people that disowned and abused you will remain forever.
Changing the narrative
When you wake in the morning and have your cup of coffee no one plans to hate others. Most often you think of what you will do that day and all the tasks that require your attention. However, when you walk out your front door and see a pride flag waving you start to hate. You refuse to accept the differences around you and choose to harm others. This is the problem that spreads throughout society like a virus. Your neighbors being proud of who they are makes you angry and hateful. Your neighbors are not the ones that need to change, it is you.
The road to acceptance means you let go of hatred and embrace humanity’s innate right to freedom and peace. Your child is gay and you hate them. That is one of the most unnatural feelings you can have when looking at your child. Love does not mean you take a person and mold them like clay into your vision. It means that you accept and love them for being authentically themself. When you hate you are destroying life. You are creating pain for your family and even the stranger that you judge unfairly.
The only way to change the lasting impact of hate and oppression on the LGBTQIA community is for each person to take responsibility for their actions and choose peace. The next time you wake up in the morning, consider yourself in the mirror. In that moment you can choose to accept or harm. The real question is what kind of person do you want to be and what legacy will you leave.
Alienation from society because of who you are only led to countless trauma and lives lost. There is no function for this hatred, so why not choose the better path to enlightenment and embrace peaceful coexistence with your fellow humans.
Tas are autistic members of the disability community with developmental, mental health and physical disabilities. They are also a person of color and nonbinary, and are proud to be members of the LGBTQ+ community and a neurodiverse Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) system. Since they are a unique combination of diversity, they advocate for inclusion of all kinds. Equal access to education, healthcare and innate human rights motivate them to move past challenges in the effort to make the world accessible, inclusive, and fair for the next generation.