The Simple Pride in Friendships
June 22, 2022
Pride month is a product of the long history of the LGBTQ+ community fighting to have the same rights as everyone else. While some states like California are passing laws that help protect LGBTQ+ rights and safety, many states are unfortunately doing the opposite by following Florida’s idea with trying to prohibit discussions of gender and sexual orientation in schools. Pride is a further reminder that the fight continues with not only the government but with society as a whole. Demanding to be recognized and fighting for basic human rights through state and federal laws is a heavy and emotional task on its own, so to add discrimination from family or friends is a lot on top of the stress. This discrimination ranges from loss of close relationships to physical harm and is sadly very common with about two-thirds of LGBTQ+ people experiencing at least one experience with prejudice. No matter what the discrimination looks like, it plays a massive role in why LGBTQ+ pride is a huge deal.
As the health disparities prove, discrimination takes a toll on peoples' lives and well-being. For instance, LGBTQ+ people have a greater risk for conditions such as mood disorders, anxiety, substance abuse, and many other mental disorders. Additionally, many report that they avoid seeking help due to concerns of maltreatment due to intolerance . Many others have reported healthcare providers denying care or treating them poorly due to their sexuality or gender identity. So, in the face of government, family, and social prejudice, there is pride, community, and chosen family.
This is important because lack of social connection can be detrimental to overall health, especially for mental health. On the flip side, having strong relationships has a large impact on reducing anxiety and depression. As for research specifically regarding LGBTQ+ individuals, friend support contributes greatly to mental health and resilience. Friendships with others who provide a sense of belonging, known as chosen family, has become a well-known concept within the community. There is even a day in observance for the chosen family on February 22nd. These types of friendships are seen as moving forward with life, feeling at home, and finding support.
Being a friend sounds like a simple and humanly natural thing to do, but along with advocating for equal rights and taking action, loving your LGBTQ+ friends and giving them your support is also a very important part of pride. Pride parades, protests, and voting only happen so many times per year, but just being around friends and sending love can just about be done everyday. If friendships with support and understanding aren’t readily available locally, online groups like TrevorSpace are around to make living just a lot more loving. Don’t hesitate, make a friend and be a friend.