President Obama recently declared June 2016 as LGBT Pride Month, stating, “I call upon the people of the United States to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists, and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people.”
Last year’s US Supreme Court ruling guarantees marriage equality for LGBT people in all 50 states–an important and landmark moment and one to celebrate this June! This month, let’s focus on all the people who have fought for equality and change over the years. Let’s acknowledge the progress that we’ve made and turn our focus towards the hurdles still left to conquer. As President Obama stated, “Despite the extraordinary progress of the past few years, LGBT Americans still face discrimination simply for being who they are…. love is love and that no person should be judged by anything but the content of their character.”
The National Alliance on Mental Illness explains the impact that this discrimination has on the LGBTQ community. “LGBTQ individuals are almost 3 times more likely than others to experience a mental health condition such as major depression or generalized anxiety disorder. This fear of coming out and being discriminated against for sexual orientation and gender identities, can lead to depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, thoughts of suicide and substance abuse” (source).
On a local level, one of the major moments of discrimination against the LGBTQ community is the recent House Bill 2, which NC Governor McCrory passed on March 23, 2016 and which, “bans individuals from using public bathrooms that do not correspond with their biological sex, as dictated by their birth certificates. It also bars cities from passing anti-discrimination ordinances to protect gay and transgender people (per Charlotte’s act to protect the rights of the LGBT community)” (source). Additionally, “HB2 leaves in place language that strips North Carolina workers of the ability to sue under a state anti-discrimination law, a right that has been upheld in court since 1985.”
J. Louise Newton, MSW, LCSW discusses MindPath Care Centers’s stance on HB2:
We prioritize accessibility in all of our practices for all populations. Having All-Gender bathrooms makes the bathrooms safer for transgender folks as well as children and older adults who have a primary caregiver of a different gender with them in public (For example, a hypothetical 9 year-old son with developmental disabilities who comes to MindPath Care Centers for his appointment with his mother who needs to help him in the restroom). Additionally, MindPath Care Centers has long partnered with LGBTQI identified providers and currently employs many staff and clinicians who are a part of the community. Recently, MindPath Care Centers has doubled our efforts through the Gender and Sexual Diversity Spectrum (GSDS) Initiative to recruit and train competent providers in the healthcare provision of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex patients. We are currently seeking fully licensed therapists who possess clinical competency in working with LGBTQI patients. In addition to the GSDS Initiative we also offer special programming for transgender patients, such as LGBTQ Affirmative therapy. Lastly, HB2 has caused an unnecessary increase in some mental health symptoms for some transgender people with regards to social phobias, body dysphoria, and trauma-related symptoms. Providing competent care requires us to take a stance!
Discrimination against the LGBTQ Community is real! This month let’s celebrate all the progress that we, as Americans, have made towards equality and compassion for all. And let’s remember and bring energy to the battles that we are still fighting!
If you’re looking for some clever ways to support LGBTQ Pride Month, here are some LGBTQ Pride Fashion decisions that we love!
Please share your comments below!
• How does LGBTQ Pride Month affect you? How does it encourage you?
• How do you show your LGBTQ Pride?
• What issue in the LGBTQ community do you most want to support?