The very essence of being LGBTQIA+ is just being. Being heard, seen, loved, respected, honored, and equal. But, those simple words have always come with struggles, challenges, and a fight for equality that places physical, mental, emotional strain on the people who want just to live those simple words. So, as we celebrate Pride Month, we share with our LGBTQIA+ community some helpful health and wellness-focused pathways.
Make Sure They See You
Your healthcare provider should be “team you” and focused on understanding and building your care plan whether you are good in health or have specific care needs.
LGBTQ+ people at greater risk for mental health issues, substance abuse, and addiction, face higher incidences of breast, cervical and other cancers. In addition, they are less likely to have access to health care services. Add to that a lack of clinical research studies focused on the community all compound to create another layer of complexity to caring for yourself.
Lean into resources that identify care providers experienced with caring for LGBTQIA+ needs. A provider you know your unique challenges will be an advocate in your health journey.
Minding Your Business
Even those with a solid support system can sometimes forget that the most vital support is self-care. Leading change, continuing the fight for equality, maintaining personal relationships, and just the stress of life and work require giving yourself some TLC. So be mindful of your own needs as you press forward with pride. Find time for yourself every day, whether it’s physical activities, doing something you love, getting in tune with yourself through meditation. Whatever it is, be mindful of your needs.
Love is in Need of Love Today
Love has been an essential member of the LGBTQIA+ community and the very tenant of sexual and gender diversity and equality issues. Like self-care, self-love critical to a balanced outlook and facing the stigmas you may encounter. Create time to have meaningful, loving relationships in whatever form to help drive other parts of your life towards wellness, but make sure to start with finding the love for self.
Own the Win and Tell Your Story
It can be easy to let the societal failures and intolerance rain on the proverbial parade, but owning the wins can help propel you forward. For example, 1 in 6 Gen Z adults identify as LGBTQ, and as this very open generation gets older, it’s anticipated that the percentage will go up. They are the generation that grew up open to coming out sooner, seeing gay rights gain momentum, and saw gay marriage as just marriage. What does that mean? That every move towards progress makes a difference. Every story shared is a story that strengthens someone else’s ability to live a better life. When actor Billy Porter revealed he has been with living with HIV since 2007, it reflected a deeper struggle with the traumas and the stigmas he faced despite decades of progress professionally and personally. Consider sharing your story big or small to help heal yourself and others.