The Importance Of Celebrating Pride Month
June 03, 2023
TW: The following article contains information and research about LGBT discrimination and suicide.
Beginning as a series of protests and riots for gay liberation in the late 1960s, Pride month has grown to become a yearly celebration of the entire LGBTQ+ community throughout the month of June. Schools, organisations and communities use this month to spotlight the experiences of LGBTQ+ people, look at the progress that has been made to improve LGBT rights and also to highlight the many inequalities that these communities still experience.
Pride sprang up as a protest when a group of people in New York decided to fight back against discrimination and harassment that they were experiencing in society, particularly from the police. The riots in the sixties highlighted the many ways that LGBTQ+ people experienced inequalities at the time, and current pride celebrations do the same by looking at how far we’ve come, as well as taking the time to highlight that much has remained the same when it comes to health and mental health in particular. This is still the case even though there have been many positive changes like same-sex marriage and adoption, as well as LGBTQ+ education in schools.
Historically, LGBTQ+ people have been more likely to have experienced higher levels of mental health problems. There are many reasons for this, such as fears about being rejected or isolated, being afraid of being harassed or bullied or feeling pressure and worries about coming out. Recent research in 2023 by The Trevor Project, in the USA, found that a high level of LGBTQ+ people between ages 13-24 had seriously considered attempting suicide in the last year, and many experienced symptoms of anxiety and depression. Further, across the globe, there are many rollbacks in positive and progressive laws and news around LGBTQ+ communities. In the USA there are many anti-LGBTQ+ policies being introduced, as well as bans around the discussion of LGBTQ+ people in schools which will have a very damaging impact on young people, who might feel unable to express themselves as they really feel, or scared of what might happen if they do. As well as those personal fears contributing to negative emotions and anxieties; fears about what’s going on in the world around us will also have a huge effect on feelings of anxiety too.
In the UK, research from the Digital Youth Index study in 2022, found that young LGBTQ+ people are twice as likely to experience hate speech online compared to heterosexual young people. When we consider the issues already occurring through social media use which will affect all young people, we can then see that there will be extra harm caused to LGBTQ+ youth who experience both the negative elements of excess social media use as well as experiencing hate speech on top of that. Further to this, constant exposure to this news will have a great impact on feelings of safety and comfort if we constantly read about difficulties and issues that occurring among LGBTQ+ people, and it can be easy to get consumed by this. This is why it’s important to give yourself time to disconnect from social media at points in the day or week, as well as make sure that the content you do look for comes from positive LGBTQ+ role models who celebrate the LGBTQ+ part of their journey all year – and not just in June!
Of course, pride is a time to celebrate too. We can do this by engaging with positive representation and sharing education and resources all year round, as well as learning about how to be an ally to LGBTQ+ people. It’s important to remember that there are also social groups, support groups and organisations that work to help LGBTQ+ people all year round.
Whether you’re LGBTQ+ or if you have friends who are LGBTQ+ or are questioning their sexuality or gender, you can remind yourself and them that there are lots of different places to go to get help and support if they need it. Through Mindsum, you can book a free initial consultation with a qualified mental health professional through our online service as well.
Supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people to help people help themselves and each other, through group work, 1-2-1 support, volunteering, training, research, events, and social action. As part of this, they manage the LGBT+ Centre and have a community cafe.
Just Like Us sends recent LGBT school leavers into schools to give talks and workshops that champion LGBT equality and challenge prejudice. They also train teachers to support students in establishing Pride Groups, and student-led clubs for LGBT students and allies.
Supports lgbtq+ young people aged 16-25 in the UK who are facing or experiencing homelessness or living in a hostile environment.
A charity that works to increase understanding of gender diversity and improve the lives of trans people.