Although in the Netherlands we will celebrate Pride from July 31st to August 8th, June is Pride month across the world! On this note, we wanted to highlight its history, importance and relation to mental health.
Why is Pride important?
Pride is a protest!
It was queer and trans people of colour in the US, like Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, who started riots at Compton Cafeteria, Black Cat Tavern and at Stonewall. These now iconic riots spearheaded the LGBTQ+ movement and on the 1 year anniversary, marches were held all over the United States.
Now Pride is the space for self-affirmation, dignity, equality, and increased visibility of the LGBTQ+ community! This is a protest to the stigma and shame that sadly many of the community face.
While there is a lot to celebrate in the form of parades and parties, it is also a time for reflection on the part of the LGBTQ+ allies.
We aren’t the voices of the LGBTQ+ community but we do want to shed some light on some of the obstacles people in this community face, especially in terms of mental health.
As two allies in the field of psychology ourselves, it’s important to acknowledge it’s homophobic past with homosexuality being classed as a mental health disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders up until as late as 1973.
Thankfully, we have come some way from then but due to the marginalisation and stigma the community faces all around the world, we still have a long way to go.
The LGBTQ+ community experience more mental illness than the broader population, like depression and anxiety, and they experience more trauma from the discrimination they are subjected to. To make matters worse, many also face more barriers to mental health support services that they need.
We do not want to add to these barriers, we want to break them down! We want anyone from the LGBTQ+ community to feel welcome and urged to seek support with us if they need.
There is no shame in seeking help; there is pride.