As we celebrate Pride Month at Evolve, we’d like to talk about anxiety and stress faced by members of the LGBTQIA community. The world is experiencing uncertain times with the coronavirus, lockdowns and a looming financial recession. All of us are experiencing varying levels of stress and anxiety. However, members of the LGBTQIA community also face another set of challenges. This is owing to the stigmas attached to their sexual orientation and identity. As we move towards a more inclusive society, one that is free from discrimination of any kind, we believe this is unfortunate. Hence, we would like to throw a spotlight on the causes of stress and anxiety for the LGBTQIA community.
Understanding the anxiety and stress of the LGBTQIA community:
Fear of discrimination. Unfortunately, across large sections of society, there is very little understanding or empathy towards members of the LGBTQIA community. From bullies in schools and workplaces to face potential criminal prosecution in certain countries and even a death penalty in some – most members of the community live in the constant fear of expressing themselves freely. This can lead to an identity crisis as well as a nagging fear of being ‘discovered’ by others. This constant stress and anxiety has long-term impact on mental health, including chronic anxiety and depression.
Sexual anxiety and relationship stress. With most of pop culture, literature and societal beliefs being heteronormative, it’s easier for heterosexual individuals to express themselves sexually. For members of the LGBTQIA community, exploring their sexuality is harder given the stigma, limited education and lack of discussion.
Furthermore, relationships are even harder to build & sustain considering the turmoil every individual goes through.
Fear of rejection. For most members of the community, coming out is often one of the most daunting and difficult times in their life. But during this process, there is a constant fear and tension of rejection by even close family members and friends. The same fear also forces a lot of LGBTQIA members to hide their sexual orientation. They may hide it at their workplace or in social circles. Constantly not being able to express yourself freely is a huge cause of stress and worry.
Lack of support and resources. While in more progressive cities globally, there are support groups and organisations championing LGBTQIA rights, a large percentage of people who identify as LGBTQIA don’t have access to the right support or physical communities. While others may be too afraid to seek help due to the fears highlighted above. The high levels of stress and anxiety combined with the lack of support can lead to severe mental health issues. As a result, lead to poor performance at work or in studies as well.
A note from our founder:
LGBTQIA rights are extremely important to me. It pains me to see the discrimination millions of people go through every day, particularly in countries like India. Over the years, I have had some extremely vulnerable conversations with friends of mine from the community. While I was living and working in the UK, I even got a thug arrested for homophobic slurs towards my friends.
I would love to see our app help members of the LGBTQIA community build resilience and manage stress and anxiety. Over the coming months and years, the team at Evolve and I will continue to build contextual content and journeys for members of the LGBTQIA community and support the community in any way we can. The Evolve app is now live globally on Android & Apple, click here to try for free!