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Pride Month Has Us Loud, Proud, & Anxious

Pride Month Has Us Loud, Proud, & Anxious

by Bart Brewer NAMI Clackamas Newsletter Editor

I am writing this year’s pride month update with a bit more of a somber tone this time around. Within the last year, we have seen so many different attacks on the LBGTQI community, especially in regard to transgender individuals. As of writing, 549 anti-trans bills have been proposed, with 73 being passed and many more being actively debated on. Further laws limiting what can be talked about regarding sex and sexual orientation have also taken effect. While here in Oregon no such laws have been enacted, it is no doubt a large point of anxiety for those within the community, especially with those with friends and family living in other states.

While I am limited in scope for this discussion, what I will be talking about for this pride month is the mental health effects that occur due to this heightened environment, as well as ways to help mitigate such outcomes. Finally, we’ll have some resources available at the end, both local and national.

It is no secret that those within the LGBTQI community have a greater chance of having mental health issues, especially anxiety and depression. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals are nearly twice as likely to suffer from these conditions, with transgender individuals being four times as likely. In this current environment of anti-LGBT rhetoric and action, these numbers can be even worse. Prolonged exposure to stress makes anxiety, depression, suicide, and substance abuse more likely, making it a bad combination to have with the inherent mental health risks within the LGBTQI community.

Do to the heightened political climate we find ourselves in, LGBTQI people may also find themselves at a greater risk for trauma. This was already the case, as those who are a part of that community are at greater risk of discrimination, as well as mental and physical abuse. In these current times, this is exacerbated, and traumatic events are more likely. This increased likeliness of trauma can further lead to an increased chance of developing PTSD.

So, in this current environment, what can be done? The first thing that you should do is to check your local laws and proposed bills to know what is happening within your city or state. It is hard to say, but there are places right now that simply aren’t safe, both mentally and physically, for LGBTQI individuals. While Oregon is much safer, it is good to know what is happening in neighboring areas.

Try your best to build a support network. Having support during anytime of mental health distress is good, but especially now is a good time to make sure you have people that will stand behind you. Being safe and having support is one of the first steps toward mental wellbeing.

Some LGBTQI resources you may find helpful include:

While this pride month comes at a troubling time, we must remember to not be passive. At this point in our history, we won’t let a disenfranchised group be swept under the rug for political points. Have a good pride month and remember that there are people all over that care about you.

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