To be different and assert one’s own identity, needs greater courage. The LGBTQ community members have had this struggle all through their lives. Such a struggle could put them under enormous pressure. The prolonged fight to thrive under the social stigma could be quite tiring.
Researches across the world have proved LGBTQ community members face more mental health issues than heterosexuals. The stigma, prejudice and discrimination they face for being different drive them to these mental health issues, the researchers say.
During the 1960s and early 1970s, homosexuality was classified as a mental disorder. Homosexuality as a mental disorder was struck down from the second edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders by the American Psychiatric Association in 1973.
It took nearly two more decades for World Health Organization to recognize homosexuality as normal. But, the disposition of society towards the community members persists.
Studies carried out on the community prove that LGBTQ community members suffer mental issues like substance use disorders, affective disorders and suicidal thoughts. A 2016 study carried out by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that the community members consider suicide nearly three times more when compared to heterosexual community members.
The community members specifically suffer something called ‘minority stress’. It is a condition of living in hostile environments as minorities. They suffer bullying at schools or educational institutions. Sexual assault is something very common they come across.
Some of the common mental health issues the community suffers from are depression and anxiety. The LGBTQ youth are likely to suffer 1.75 times more anxiety and depression. The transgender community is even more vulnerable as they suffer 2.4 times higher anxiety and depression, the TREVOR project survey revealed.
Mainstream society still frowns upon same-sex marriages. The institution of family or intimacy the heterosexual community takes for granted is something of a luxury to them. Lack of love, recognition and approval put them at the risk of an identity crisis, feelings of rejection and hopelessness.
The situation is not much different in India either. The Supreme Court on Sept. 6, 2018, ruled out Sec 377 that criminalized homosexuality. It overturned the earlier judgment in 2013 and legalized homosexuality. LQBTQ community in India celebrated this victory of getting rid of Victorian-era shackles put around them.
But the ruling did not help much towards the outlook of the society at large. The community members continue to suffer from a hostile climate in India. They remain on fringes.
To make matters worse, mental health issues are considered taboo in the country. Seeking help for a mental health issue doesn’t go down well among the peers or family members here. Imagine the plight of the LQBTQ community from this background. Moreover, not much psychiatric literature is available in India on LGBTQ.
A lot of catching up is required in India towards mental health issues. The distance is even farther for the LGBTQ when it comes to mental health in the country.
Despite all the hostilities, the community members thrive and are resilient. All they need is some recognition and love from their families, near and dear ones. Humanity is more important than sexual orientation or the complications surrounding them.
A meaningful co-existence makes the world more beautiful. LGBTQ people rightfully keep the rainbow as their colour. Many colours make a beautiful rainbow. It is time we recognize these differences and make this world a better place for all.