Pride and Awareness for LGBTQ Trauma

Celebrating Pride 

We are nearly at the end of June, LGBTQ Pride Month. Pride is a celebration of positive acceptance, both of oneself and others, regardless of gender identification and sexual orientation. The celebration of pride includes promoting self-affirmation, advocating for equal rights, and encouraging society to actively prevent discrimination and violence. 

 

While this movement that celebrates positive acceptance, Pride also focuses on raising awareness for issues and trauma the LGBTQ community continues to encounter. This year, during Pride Month, the Supreme Court handed a victory to the LBGTQ+ community in the battle for equality for gay and transgender individuals in the work place. It was one step in the right direction, towards a better society. 

Raising awareness for PTSD and trauma in the LGBTQ community

LGBTQ Trauma

Earlier this month we talked about racism and the traumatic experiences inflicted as a result of racists actions and behaviors. Many parallels can be drawn to the discriminatory actions and behaviors encountered by the LGBTQ community. Sadly, members of the LGBTQ community may face violence, harassment, abuse, prejudice, denial of civil and human rights, rejection of their identity. These are traumatic experiences that can lead to trauma symptoms and PTSD, as well as other mental health conditions.

 

Statistics and studies are showing this reality:

  • LGB adults are more than twice as likely as heterosexual adults to experience a mental health condition. And 13.1% of LGB adults suffered from serious mental illnesses as compared to 3.6% among heterosexual adults.[1]
  • LGBTQ adults are at more than double the risk of suicide attempts compared to other adults.[2]
  • LGB adults are twice as likely to suffer from PTSD as heterosexual individuals. This higher risk was largely accounted for by greater exposure to violence, greater exposure to potentially traumatic events, and earlier age of trauma exposure among the LGB individuals.[3]
  • LGBT youth are twice as likely as their peers to say that they have been physically assaulted, kicked or shoved.[4]
  • 10% of transgender adults who were out to their immediate family reported a family member being violent against them because they were transgender.[5]
Progress
 
Despite these terrible statistics, it is important to remember that progress is being made. Not as fast and as broadly as desirable, but it is happening: Up until 1973, ‘homosexuality’ was listed as a mental disorder by the American Psychiatry Association. Today same-sex marriage is a constitutional right, and discrimination of gay and transgender workers is illegal.

There is also hope in increasing acceptance and inclusion among young generations. A survey from the Human Rights Campaign including over 10,000 LGBT youth ages 13-17 found an encouraging statistic: 75% of LGBT youth say that most of their peers do not have a problem with their LGBT identity.4

 

While there are positive developments, progress is not the same as resolution, and progress at a general level does not necessarily translate at an individual level. You can still be suffering – many are – and if you are, do seek help!

 

Resources for the LGBTQ community

  • The Trevor Project provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth. Call the 24/7 TrevorLifeline at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 678678 If you are a young person in crisis, feeling suicidal, or in need of a safe and judgment-free place to talk.
  • The LGBT National Help Center provides peer support, community connections and resource information for LGBT youth, adults and seniors including phone, text and online chat. Call the LGBT National Hotline at 888-843-4564
  • GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality offers a provider directory and search tool that can locate a LGBTQ-inclusive health care provider
 

Try the Mira App

At Mira Therapeutics we are developing the Mira App, a trauma support app for self-management of symptoms when they occur, tracking and monitoring. Our app is designed to be used by anyone who experiences trauma, including the LGBTQ community. Our mission is to re-imagine trauma support and recovery, and if you are experiencing post-traumatic stress, the Mira App may help. Give it a try, and let us know how it works for you. 

 

Work Cited

[1] National Survey on Drug use and Health, 2015, SAMSHA, https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-SexualOrientation-2015/NSDUH-SexualOrientation-2015/NSDUH-SexualOrientation-2015.htm

[2] King M, Semlyen J, Tai SS, et al. A systematic review of mental disorder, suicide, and deliberate self harm in lesbian, gay and bisexual people. BMC Psychiatry. 2008;8:70

[3] Roberts, Andrea L et al. “Pervasive trauma exposure among US sexual orientation minority adults and risk of posttraumatic stress disorder.” American journal of public health vol. 100,12 (2010): 2433-41. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2009.168971

[4] Growing Up LGBT in America, Human Rights Campaign, https://www.hrc.org/youth-report/view-and-share-statistics

[5] James, S. E., Herman, J. L., Rankin, S., Keisling, M., Mottet, L., & Anafi, M. (2016). The Report of the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey. Washington, DC: National Center for Transgender Equality

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