Challenges with being LGBTQ+
Being LGBTQ+ brings a diversity of thought, perspective, understanding and experience. This complexity is important to understand as a unique and valuable aspect of the LGBTQ+ community that can result in a strong sense of pride and resiliency. While belonging to the LGBTQ+ community can be a source of strength, it also brings unique challenges.
For those who identify as LGBTQ+, it’s important to recognize how your experience of sexual orientation and gender identity relates to your mental health. It’s scary to realize that your life path may be different than those around you and face stigma for the bravery of living the way you need and want. While we’ve come far, we still have a long way to go before LGBTQ people can live lives of equal dignity, safety, and material security.
People from the community, particularly LGBTQ+ youth are more likely to face bullying and interpersonal violence. Their familial acceptance also isn’t a guarantee, which results in more stress and sometimes hostility from their loved ones. The journey can be heart-aching and may increase the likelihood of mental health issues.
But your LGBTQ identity is also a great strength. It can help you see the world in a different and special way, and can allow you to love amazing people. It makes you a member of a beautiful, welcoming community of people from across the world and across history who have dared to live according to their truth. Remember, whether it’s your high school friends eating lunch together in the library, or any organization, you’re never, ever alone.
Some of the issues that we LGBTIQA+ people face include confusion while discovering our sexualities, gender identities or intersex conditions, ostracism from family and society, marriage pressures on those of us who are not inclined to marry partners of the other sex, low-self esteem, depression and suicidal tendencies. If you can relate to any of these problems, we strongly encourage you to contact us at SAATHI or other similar groups. Students at IITB can also consult in confidence with counselors at SWC.
If you are in need of immediate help, please contact a hotline here or on the following-
Please do contact the helplines or us at Saathi for any immediate support. If you are unsure about your issues, Mental Health 101: LGBTQIA+ edition would be a great help. It will be beneficial for anyone who is looking for a basic understanding of mental health in the LGBTQIA+ community, what emotional distress looks like, and how to seek help.
The following is a list where you can find services that are LGBTQ+ oriented or LGBTQ+ friendly-
LGBTIQA+ friendly Healthcare Providers | orinam
This listing attempts to compile contact information of medical doctors and mental health professionals (including psychiatrists, counseling psychologists and clinical social workers) who have been recommended by clients from the LGBTIQA+ community. This list is mostly based on word-of-mouth from community members and/or the stated willingness of providers.
Queer Friendly Health & Legal Services
You can locate Queer friendly mental health professionals, sexual health specialists and human rights lawyers by location and nature of services needed.
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1pzckT6ns2H1IlmwYwJa8EnBh_1u3gRA9cEOoA4zfilc/ This is a list of mental health professionals throughout the country with information about their approach to people from the community. Though each entry in this list is unverified it is more comprehensive and might be a valuable aid in your search for a compatible professional.
Other resources that might come in handy-
Q Chat Space
Q Chat Space is a digital LGBTQ+ center where teens join live-chat, professionally facilitated, online support groups.
It Gets Better Project
The It Gets Better Project inspires people across the globe to share their stories and remind the next generation of LGBTQ+ youth that hope is out there, and it will get better.
Once again do not hesitate to ask for help. You can contact a professional outside or at SWC or us if you are unsure. Keep in mind that you are not alone!!