As most of the world remains sheltered at home, LGBTQ youth are arguably among the more vulnerable segments of the population to the prolonged quarantine period.
Cut off from the support networks they formed outside of the home and forced back into space they may not consider safe, it is not surprising that there have been incidences of increased stress and anxiety among the LGBTQ youth.
The LGBTQ Youth During The Pandemic
A nonprofit organization for LGBTQ youth released a report in April 2020 outlining the severe ramifications of COVID-19 on the mental well-being of the demographic.
According to a study, even before the pandemic hit, LGBTQ youth already faced significant risk for depression, anxiety, substance use, and suicidality. With schools and other communal spaces closed, the pandemic has made LGBTQ youth all the more vulnerable to the mental toll since access to positive social interactions diminishes while negative social interactions rise.
What do we mean by this? Although the experience is certainly not universal, a number of LGBTQ youth have been experiencing a lack of support from networks they formed in school or their communities as they take refuge in what may be an unsupportive environment at home.
Research suggests that only a third of LGBTQ youth experience parental acceptance of their sexual orientation and gender identity. In the LGBTQ population, one-third experiences parental rejection while the remaining one-third opts to stay quiet about their identity until they are adults.
LGBTQ youth also report higher rates of sexual, psychological, and physical abuse compared to their straight or cisgender peers, and intimate partner violence is even more pronounced in the LGBTQ community, according to a study, pointing to the serious threat of some confined environments.
The quarantine protocol ordering people to stay at home is threatening for the LGBTQ youth with unsupportive families. To be in an environment where they feel invalidated and unsafe, for a long time, may cause them to feel isolated from others.
Additionally, the unpredictability of the pandemic may feel like an endless tribulation for them. Up to this point, it’s still unsure as to when this pandemic will end. The members of the LGBT youth also feel terrified that their families might find out.
It is undoubtedly a painful and lonely experience for LGBTQ youth who can are prone to self-destructive actions without the support and medical assistance they need to get through this health crisis. Fortunately, there are several available resources and support groups to help one get through the other side of this crisis in a stable mental place.
Connect With An Online Community
For LGBTQ youth, one’s chosen family sometimes plays a more significant role than one’s biological family. Forging and maintaining positive social connections outside of the home are healthy ways to ease the mental pressures of the pandemic.
The good news is there is no need to look far! Just as there are many shades in the rainbow, there are only as many LGBTQ groups on various social media platforms where young individuals can get the support, validation, and acceptance they need. There are state-based and community-based groups on Facebook that one can look up to air concerns, unload, and feel a sense of belonging.
Beyond online support groups, LGBTQ youth can cope with pandemic-induced stress and anxiety partially brought about by cabin fever in many ways.
- Avoid a judgemental attitude.
- Secure strong connections with supportive individuals.
- Go on a digital detox.
- Create a schedule of daily activities.
- Read reliable sources to understand your rights further.
- Do projects that keep your nerves calm.
- Step out once in a while for a dose of fresh air.
- Feel free to seek help.
Getting The Help You Need
As the pandemic takes its toll, health providers have accelerated the shift online through telehealth services. LGBTQ youth experiencing anxiety can reach out to various telehealth providers through video calls, messaging apps, and hotlines. For instance, they offer 24/7 support to LGBTQ youth in crisis through text and chat.
When worst comes to worst, there are specific organizations that offer shelter services for LGBTQ youth seeking refuge. Ali Forney Center in New York is one such organization providing housing and support services to LGBTQ youth aged 16-24.
As the COVID-19 crisis continues to unfold, there is a need to strengthen social bonds while keeping apart. Being one of the more vulnerable demographics even before the pandemic took hold, the LGBTQ youth need all the help and support they need to get through and beyond this crisis.
When homes are not the safe spaces they ought to be, communities should step up and fill the gap. Only then can we build back better.
I came out to my parents in the second week of March 2020. I decided to do it after figuring out that I am bisexual. To be honest, I am in a relationship with a man right now, which I feel very proud of. But I did not want to deceive my loving mom and dad, so I flew home to tell them the truth about my identity.
When I finally sat down with my folks, I was not surprised to hear their objections. Mom asked, “Are you sure? Is this not a mere phase that you might outgrow? What would we tell our relatives and friends?” Those questions, I could handle. My mother lived in the suburbs all her life, so she was accustomed to making sure that our family was always picture-perfect.
However, it hurt me deeply when Dad said, “You must be sick.” I knew that he was old-school, that he had not embraced open-mindedness yet. I merely hoped that my father would be more supportive than this, considering I had been a filial son. Seeing him react this way made me want to fly back to the East Coast and cry in my boyfriend’s arms. Still, when Mom encouraged me to stay longer, I agreed to leave on the third day, even though it was evident that this visit would be very awkward.
Unfortunately, before day #3 came, the strict quarantine policy was issued at the state where my parents lived. The local government unit did not allow land or air transportation to and fro; if anyone insisted on going in, they would have to do 14-day self-quarantine. Nevertheless, I might be sadder than those people because the regulation meant that I had to isolate with my homophobic parents for God knows how long.
It was not a walk in the park, but I dealt with the situation by:
Not Engaging In Or Starting A Yelling Match
The first lesson that I remember Mom teaching me was that nothing good could come out of fighting. I took that advice to heart; that’s why I had no intention of starting or engaging in a yelling match with my parents.
Although they could not understand what I was going through (yet), I did not feel the need to hurl myself and get angry if they did not accept me. Instead, I tried to sound as diplomatic as possible while sharing how I accepted that I felt attraction towards both sexes. It was undoubtedly met with protests, but at least I did not fight fire with fire.
Trying To Make Them See That Nothing Changed With Me In General
In the first few days of quarantine, I was genuinely sad because my mom and dad still refused to take my new identity seriously. However, after musing about it and consulting some friends in the gay community, I realized that they might feel scared of losing their son once they accepted me.
This idea prompted me to start doing things that I used to do when we thought that I was heterosexual. I mowed the lawn, fixed Dad’s car, watched sports shows, and did other things that we used to enjoy—all for the sake of making Mom and Dad see that not much would change despite my revelation.
The strict quarantine order has been lifted not too long ago, and I am already back in my New York apartment. When I left my parents’ home, the situation remained unreadable. They hugged me goodbye, yes, but they did not mention anything about my bisexuality.
I guess I still had it easy compared to other people who came out to their loved ones. All I can do now is to pray for my parents to accept me soon.
The 2019 Rainbow Festival was once a colorful time of the year, with colors lining up our streets. However, the recent coronavirus outbreak has caused organizers to cancel or suspend this year’s scheduled events indefinitely.
With Pride Month approaching, what can we do now to celebrate while most of us are still isolated? Even though we’re physically apart, we can always show our support. Here are some ideas.
Despite canceling scheduled events, InterPride and the European Pride Organizers Association have spearheaded Global Pride. The two groups are working with other LGBTQ organizations to hold activities through online platforms. Scheduling it for June 27, 2020, InterPride compares the new event to broadcasts of New Year’s Eve.
What do they have lined up for us? You can expect musical performances, political speakers, and celebrity appearances. Participants will also be able to share at-home videos. To top it all off, they’ll be running a relief fund for LGBTQ communities. You’ll be providing aid to households, independent artists, community centers, and small businesses.
Pride has always been a place to showcase creativity and support within the community. As we stay at home, we have even more time to try out a DIY project.
We can celebrate Pride while in isolation through artistic means. If you’re looking for ideas, one of them is to try your hand at making a Pride flag. Find some spare cloth at home or repurpose old clothing to make a rainbow. Another is through practicing your abilities with makeup. It’s been the custom to share Pride-inspired looks on Instagram and Facebook the past years, and this time, it’s no different.
Watch LGBTQ-Focused Films
Being stuck at home doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a movie night with friends. Chrome extension Netflix party lets users watch movies together with other people. Similar websites can also do the same.
This upcoming Pride month, come stream LGBTQ-relevant films with the community. Some movie suggestions include Love, Simon (2018), Moonlight (2016), and The Half of It (2020).
Even COVID-19 can’t stop the LGBTQ community. Thanks to Pride groups’ initiative, we can still show our love and support while in isolation. Watch out for this year’s Global Pride, tap into your artistic side, and enjoy relevant films with friends. Through these small acts, Pride lives through each of us in our own homes.
June is practically like December for the members of the LGBTQ+ community. You see, this is the month when we celebrate Pride. We remember the colorful individuals who have given their lives the ensure that no one will get prosecuted again for being gay. In almost every major city around the globe, we come together and hold massive parades and concerts to celebrate, well, ourselves.
Every year, I join the New York parade with all my friends, whether they are members of the third sex or not. That’s the beauty of Pride—it welcomes everyone who wants to spread joy and love. You can wear whatever you want, dance however you want, and people will support you for it.
The month of June is still a month away at the time of writing this blog, but the entire world seems to be somewhat frozen. Only a few people can leave the house; even business owners cannot open their establishments unless they sell food and other essentials. Here’s what it means for the 2020 Pride celebration.
The Bad News
When the actual Gay Pride rolls in, the quarantine regulations may have eased significantly by then. Various governors are already thinking of doing that in the coming weeks to keep the economy from crashing. Pharmaceutical companies are also close to starting their clinical trials for the new vaccines that may save people from COVID-19.
The problem, however, is that mass gathering may not be allowed until the end of the year or early next year. It is still too risky to insist on doing so, especially since no one can see the coronavirus. A person can transmit it to others unintentionally, and then another wave of pandemic takes place. Thus, there will be no parades in 2020 to celebrate Pride.
The Good News
Despite the lack of events on the streets, the gay community will undoubtedly not let a year pass without commemorating Pride in some way. What the leaders of different LGBT organizations have agreed on is to do everything online.
On the 27th of June, they will be streaming musical numbers every hour. Some well-known members and supporters of the gay community will also be doing speeches in between performances. All the performers and guest speakers will be safe because they will perform in their own homes.
A unique thing about this occasion—aside from the fact that it occurs on the Stonewall anniversary—is that it will be a worldwide effort. The organizations in Oceania, North America, South America, Asia, Africa, and Europe are teaming up to make this 24-hour streaming possible. They even intend to feature performances from every participating country, which makes this celebration more united than ever.
Of course, no one feels happy about being unable to parade around the city. That’s what we have all been doing in the last 50 years. It is already part of the culture.
However, we happen to know very well that prohibiting mass gatherings is for the greater good. As much as we want to party on the streets, we surely don’t want to test positive for COVID-19 a few days later. Especially in the United States, there are hundreds of thousands of infected people, and it may increase exponentially if we don’t follow the government’s orders.
It is indeed saddening to realize that the major cities around the world will not be filled with colors in June this year. Everyone will most likely be at home, watching the festivities in various countries, wishing that you can go there.
Still, we should all be glad that there is at least a streaming party on Pride Day. That’s the best we can do right now, given the current circumstances. Once the pandemic is over, though, I have every reason to believe that the next celebration will be bigger and brighter than you can ever imagine.
The 2017 LGBT Festival shines a light on the community’s plight against discrimination. In pure LGBT fashion, people celebrate Pride events with a unique and colorful flair with parades, celebrity live performances, and, of course, open bars. However fun and endearing it is to organize such events, we must not lose the bigger picture of it all. We should all go back to the question, “why are we doing this?”
Although acceptance of homosexuality has grown over the years, the LGBT community still gets the flak for their being. With the sheer number of people uneducated and unaware of the community’s fight for acceptance, events like this can stimulate discussion and present valuable information for LGBT acceptance.
Educate Them With Pride History
A study from Pew Research uncovers that 48% of LGBT adults believe Pride events only help promote social acceptance by a little. Pride Events do hold significance in creating awareness. But aiming for social acceptance requires a confident and robust support system coming from the community themselves. The LGBT community carries a colorful past. Efforts, struggles, and years of advocacies led to how the Pride Empire is now. We should flaunt it, and say, “this is what we’ve gone through, and this is what we are today.” We should share this pride with our community.
Be Open To Dialogue
The community and its alliances should include stimulating and enlightening discussions with people outside the community. There are strong-headed traditionalists we can educate, and there are still some iffy people we can inform. Pride events are avenues to start a dialogue with them. Admittedly, some people are timid to ask questions about topics seemingly foreign to them. Let’s take this opportunity by the reigns and openly invite these curious people to panel discussions. Such communication initiatives are encouraging as long as both parties put on respectful attitudes towards others’ opinions. The goal here is not necessarily to persuade to be on our side but to share our experiences why we choose to be here.
Pride events are already loud celebrations of love and equality, but some people are not yet ready to hear it. Let’s not stop these nay-sayers from dampening our spirits. Instead, let’s celebrate and educate them at the same time. Pride education and dialogues help us strengthen our team and remain open for those who want to listen.
Whenever the story of a gay man falling in love with a straight woman becomes public, it always baffles people. They may ask, “Why will you go in that direction if you already announced your homosexuality?” Some even fear that the queer will eventually get tired of the relationship with his wife and look for another man.
Husbands and wives who want to be together for eternity do not let simple arguments become the cause of their split. They may yell at each other from time to time, yet they never go in for the kill, if you know what I mean. Nevertheless, there’s one deal-breaker that couples may not be able to get back from one of the partners comes out as a gay man or woman.
If there is one thing that can scare guys at times, it is a woman’s intuition. It is rare for any juicy detail to get past you, especially if it involves your loved ones. Even when the other person remains in denial, and you do not have pre-existing knowledge of what you feel suspicious about, you tend to know somehow whether the man is lying or not.
Isn’t it delightful to be in a serious gay relationship these days?
The world has become accustomed to the nonconformities that queer folks bring to life. Fewer people will frown or bat an eyelid if they see two guys holding hands on the streets. You do not need to pose as a heterosexual to either retain a job or receive a promotion. More importantly, a growing number of countries are legalizing same-sex marriage, so you may tie the knot with your long-term partner anytime – and almost anywhere – you wish.
If you ask a transgender, lesbian, or gay man how they came out to their parents, the responses you will get do not fit for all. The luckiest of the bunch may say that it was as effortless as telling his folks that he’s set to pursue this or that career. However, the most exciting stories typically originate from the ones whose parents opposed – or will likely reject – their sexual preference.