The Importance of Self Love for LGBTQ People
Fighting for the right to embrace who you are is at the core of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) liberation movement.
For far too long, LGBTQ people were shamed for being themselves.
The fight for LGBTQ rights still continues today—but significant progress has been made over the years.
The month of June, we honor how far the LGBTQ movement has come, but also shed light on the work that still needs to be done.
In a world that’s constantly telling LGBTQ people to hide who they are—Pride Month is an important reminder that we all have a right to embrace our true selves.
Why LGBTQ history month is important
June is pride month and during this time we honor the LGBTQ people.
In June of 1969, the Stonewall Uprising happened in Manhattan.
This was a monumental event and served as a catalyst for the Gay Liberation Movement.
Prior to the Stonewall Uprising, LGBTQ individuals would flock to gay bars/clubs to gather. It was a place for them to express who they are openly, without worry of persecution.
Eventually, the NY state Liquor Authority fined and shut down establishments that provided alcohol to known LGBTQ individuals. They referred to the conduct as being “disorderly”.
The Stonewall Inn was a place for LGBT individuals to gather and became a known gay club. Patrons brought their own alcohol, so a liquor license was not required. The owners of the club paid off cops, and this eventually became a safe haven for LGBTQ people to gather.
On June 28, 1969—police raided the club and found illegal alcohol and arrested individuals who were violating the “gender-appropriate” clothing statute (this statute didn’t allow cross-dressing). This raid caused riots to break out when people saw how the police were mishandling the patrons.
The Stonewall Riots were not the beginning of the gay riots movement, but they were an important turning point.
A year later, thousands marched from the Stonewall Inn to Central Park marking the first gay pride parade.
When President Barack Obama was in office, he named the Stonewall Inn, Christopher Park, and other surrounding streets a national monument honoring gay rights.
Learning about the history of Pride Month is so important because it describes LGBTQ individuals’ fight for rights.
The mental strain on individuals fighting to be themselves is taxing. It’s important we use this month to remember how far we have come in the movement for LGBTQ rights, but also to recognize how far we still have to go.
Why is self love so important for LGBTQ people?
“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” —Audre Lorde, black feminist lesbian activist and icon
For LGBTQ people, much of life is spent fighting to express who you are.
When so many people make you question who you are everyday, the mental strain can be exhausting.
In a world that’s constantly telling you there’s something wrong with you, self-love is a key component to get through the tough days.
In a world that is constantly trying to make you dislike yourself, it’s important you’re your own hero. Learning to love yourself, your body, and the way you were created is key to having a healthy and strong mind.
We all know what it feels like to be insecure about our body, or to always look at our shortcomings. But learning to love yourself from the inside truly makes you glow on the outside.
LGBTQ people are also a minority group, and the lack of people to look up to also makes loving yourself harder.
Not to mention if you’re an LGBTQ minority, such as LGBTQ people of color, the stress is amplified.
This Pride Month, it’s important to take a stand and show LGBTQ people they are supported and worthy of the love they wish to express.
Coping with Anxiety and Depression for LGBTQ People
According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA), 30-60% of LGBTQ people experience anxiety or depression in their lifetime. That’s around 1.5-2.5 times higher than straight individuals.
Why the discrepancy?
The higher rates of anxiety and depression in LGBTQ people is deeply rooted and has many different layers. But a key factor that contributes to this is the stress of being a minority.
LGBTQ people are part of a minority population, and thus adversely impacted by prejudices. LGBTQ people of color or those with disabilities also face another layer of prejudice that can induce mental health issues.
Our biggest advice for LGBTQ individuals is to do your best to find a community of people who understand what you’re going through.
It’s also important to find a professional who understands your life as a larger picture, and can support you. Medical directories, such as Connect2Heal, can put you in touch with therapists and mental health providers who are from the same racial/cultural background as you.
Having this sense of camaraderie and belonging will help you seek comfort in others who understand your struggle.
In a world where LGBTQ people constantly feel the need to hide, it’s important to find people who help you feel seen.
How to celebrate Pride Month?
Pride Month is a time for everyone to band together and embrace who they are.
This Pride Month, look at ways to get involved in our community. Join in on parades, rep your rainbow flag, and educate yourself about the movement. Whether that be reading more about Pride Month, or watching a film that sheds light on the experience of LGBTQ people.
The Pride Month festivities are filled with fun, glitter, sparkle, and gathering with people you love. But it’s also important to acknowledge the struggle this month’s celebrations represent.
The fight for LGBTQ people and their rights is still ongoing. Pride Month is a perfect time to think more deeply about the issues facing the Gay Rights Movement, and how you can do your part to assist.
Whether you are part of the LGBTQ community yourself or have loved ones who are, it’s a great time to learn what you can do to further the movement.