I am very happy to announce that today there will be a guest blog post by the amazing Gayatri Sidhu, who will be telling us about her friend, who has been struggling with his mental health, partly caused by society’s treatment of members of the LGBTQ community. It is pride month, so we should support everyone who belongs to the LGBTQ community and make it clear that it is in no way acceptable to discriminate people for whom they love.
You should definitely check out Gayatri’s blog, since there is a lot of great content on there. You can find it here. Make sure to also follow her on social media. Here you can find her Twitter and Instagram.
I won’t keep you from reading any longer now. Leave a comment and tell us what you think.
Everyone is celebrating the diversity of the LGBTQ community. We are celebrating that even though we are different, our sexual orientation or our preferences don’t matter. In order words, we are celebrating, Humanity!
This is the year of 2019, and even though there have been so many efforts to promote gender equality and diversity, still in some parts of the globe, some individuals are considered ‘outcasts’ just because they prefer something which is different from the societal norms. Our community needs to acknowledge, that it’s not just the society that is trying to understand that individual, the same person also has a lot going with them while they are accommodating with the changes around them.
A person goes through mixed emotions, anxiety, stress and a fear of rejection when they decide to come out and publicly accept their identity of who they are and what they prefer. As the society now is understanding and accepting that these individuals exist and is also aware about mental health issues all around the globe, we also need to understand that these individuals are most vulnerable to suffer a major mental health issue. The root cause of this problem is the environment that the individual is in. This is because if you think about it, feelings such as fear of rejection, stress, anxiety or fear of not being understood or heard are factors which are caused by the environment. We are this environment, so we need to understand, our behaviour and our views matter the most to them. They will only become fearless and open about their feelings if we let them speak their mind.
You may be wondering, who am I to tell you so much about the LGBTQ community and how it affects their mental health? You may be right… Well, just letting you know, I happen to have a close friend who went through the struggle of coming out. I saw him suffer and going through all these emotions that he didn’t know how to handle.
STORY TIME EVERYONE!!
Just to give my friend some privacy, let’s call him John.
John is my childhood friend back home from India. He is a very loud, and funny individual who loves to tease his friend and as we were growing up, he used to encourage me to find a boy for myself. One day, I was sitting with John and another friend (let’s call him Jack).
While John was busy showing me different men around and jokingly talking about them, Jack just interfered saying, “Dude, seems like your choice in men is way better than women, you can’t seem to choose a nice girl, but you choose a way better looking man. What’s up with you?”
I just saw John’s facial expression; he was upset but then all of a sudden changed the topic. I felt something was going on with him. John and I were close, I knew he would tell me if I asked him. He told me he was gay and he liked men. The only reason he didn’t tell this to anyone, is because he was so scared of being judged as in our culture, even though people know that LGBTQ individuals do exist, they are not ready to openly accept it, if their children belong to this community. The social stigma and scheme regarding this issue is so strong that it does not let them see anything positive beyond it. John was feeling so isolated, that at some point he felt that he was abnormal, or something was wrong with him just because he liked men.
I saw his struggle, he used to cry a lot whenever he was alone, he used to force himself to be happy whenever I saw his parents talking to me about a potential girl that John would marry in the future. I knew coming out would be a big struggle as I also belong to the same society, I was aware it wouldn’t be easy for John. There was a time when John was so scared to talk to his male friends in school, since he felt that someone would get to know he’s gay. The anxiety was kicking in, the stress was hindering his performance at school. He seemed to be lost in class and he was no more the same funny and talkative person as he used to be. The changes were so evident, that his friends and teachers noticed the same and when he was asked, he didn’t answer. Then the teachers had no choice but to ask me first and decided to let his parents know if it was something severe.
I couldn’t see his suffering, so I told the teacher what was going on, his parents were not aware of the same as they were busy with their jobs and they used to come in late at night. The school got him a psychiatrist and John was diagnosed with depression. He had lost interest in everything. It was time for me to tell his parents, but they also needed some counselling. I called John’s psychiatrist and then both of us told them what was going on.
It’s been 3 years; John is still suffering, and his parents are still struggling to accept the fact that their son is gay. Our culture, our values, and our beliefs of what is acceptable and what’s not is something that affected John’s mental health. From a healthy, funny, talkative to a depressed individual who has lost interest in everything is what our society made him.
All we need to do is openly accept them. If we can suffer from mental issues, then we need to understand that they are as prone as we are. All it takes is positivity, acceptance and reassurance that it is fine to be different. If straight people have a right to love someone, so does a gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans or a queer individual. Love is love, no matter who you love, or how your body looks like. For me, pride month is to just enjoying that LGBTQ individuals have the right to love whoever they want to change whatever they want. It is in fact a month, where I recognize and understand that there is still a lot to be done and we as a society still need to work on changing our mindsets regarding issues like these.