(LGBTQIA+ – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual+)

Every year, as June rolls around, we are flooded with colourful rainbows, glittered faces and flying flags. Pride month is primarily a time of celebration, but it’s much more than just dancing shoes and pop music. At its core, Pride Month is about self-expression, passion, and acceptance. But where did this month of love begin?

In 1969, a police raid at a popular gay bar in New York ignited the Stonewall Uprising. This event sparked a passion and fury within the LGBT+ community that rippled across the globe. The following year, the first Pride march was held to commemorate these demonstrations, and today, Pride continues to serve as a rallying call for visibility, support, and justice. While we have come a long way since 1969, many in the LGBTQIA+ community still face discrimination and rejection daily, both in the UK and worldwide. For some, Pride Month is more than a party—it’s a lifeline of connection and belonging.

So where do the intersections between our mental health and Pride Month lie? Historical trauma is thought to refer to the collective trauma experienced by certain identity groups throughout history, such as the violent anti-LGBTQ+ oppression surrounding the events of 1969. Coupled with day-to-day hate crimes, difficulties accessing healthcare, family rejection, and discrimination, it’s unsurprising that, according to a Stonewall study, half of LGBTQIA+ people have experienced depression. Belonging to the LGBTQIA+ community doesn’t automatically mean you will suffer from poor mental health, but it might mean you are at a higher risk. That’s why Pride Month’s celebration of love and joy is a perfect opportunity to prioritise your mental health.

Despite the challenges, the LGBTQIA+ community demonstrates remarkable strength that pulses through their hearts and into the hearts of others. Some draw power from embracing queerness and practising radical self-love, others from sharing their stories or supporting from the sidelines. Whatever your path, know that it is valid and that the LGBTQIA+ community is there to support you. Pride Month highlights organisations, charities, and groups that offer support for your mental wellbeing. If you’re new to this space, check out local events, join an event or march, or explore online activities. There’s a home for you in this community.

While pride celebrations are vibrant and open, they aren’t for everyone. If staying at home reading some queer fiction feels more your speed, embrace it. Self-care is about what makes your heart sing, not anyone else’s. The fight in 1969 was for the acceptance to be whoever you want to be. So whether you are queer, questioning, or an ally, take this month to truly be yourself. Try something new, follow your heart, wear that outfit, and do it with pride. Pride offers an environment that celebrates differences and authenticity, but it’s crucial that this support continues beyond June. LGBTQIA+ people need tools and resources throughout their lives.

With many thriving campaigns running throughout Pride Month, here are a few organisations that you can reach out to for advice or support concerning anything LGBTQIA+:

Switchboard – The LGBT+ Helpline

LGBT+ helpline, message and email service. Trans-friendly and nonbinary-friendly. Confidential support and advice, this service is run by volunteers who define as LGBT+.

Helpline: 0300 330 0630 (Opening hours: 10am – 10pm everyday) Website: www.switchboard.lgbt

Mermaids

Telephone information and listening service for children and teenagers with gender identity issues and their families. Helpline: 0808 801 0400

Website: www.mermaidsuk.org.uk

LGBT Foundation

A national charity delivering advice, support and information services to LGBT communities.

Helpline: 0345 330 3030 Website: www.lgbt.foundation

 

Pride Month is a time for you to prioritise your mental health. If you’re struggling with thoughts of suicide and feeling alone, please know that our HOPELINE247 advisers are here to talk to you day or night. They are here to help keep you safe. You can also access our resource on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity here.

Throughout the summer, PAPYRUS will be attending Pride events across the UK, so if you see one of our stalls or staff, please come over and chat with us to learn more about how we can support you. Enjoy the colourful celebrations, but most importantly, enjoy being you.

You can call 0800 068 4141, text ‘HOPE’ to 88247 or email pat@papyrus-uk.org. Our trained advisers are here 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to offer you support and guidance and help keep you safe from suicide for now.

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