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Pride Month: An Opportunity to Reflect on Minority Stress

Updated: 3 days ago

June is here, and from the bottom of our hearts, we wish everyone a happy Pride!  At Sedâ Psychotherapy we are so happy to have a team of queer and allied therapists with personal and professional commitment to serving clients of all identities and lived experiences.  In this piece, we are going to look at the link between this month of celebration and how Pride is an important component of mental health for LGBTQIA2+ folks.

What is Pride?

The month of June is dedicated to amplifying the voices of people in the LGBTQIA2+ community, celebrating our culture, recognizing how much has been accomplished in uplifting our rights, and fostering discussion about what battles we still face moving forward.  Pride has a rich history stemming back to the Stonewall Uprising in 1969, when police raided a popular gay bar in New York City called the Stonewall Inn.  The patrons of the bar, many of them LGBTQIA2+ people, trans and gender diverse folk, and racialized/Black people, fought back against the attacks - a major catalyst for what would become the Gay Liberation Movement.  Pride has an incredibly rich history with many intersectional layers - a great place to learn about the evolution of Canadian Pride can be found here and we encourage you to take a look!  Across Canada throughout the month of June, there are education and celebration opportunities including parades, protests, drag performances, parties, live theatre, and memorial observances for those we lost to HIV/AIDS, to violence and bigotry, and to suicide.  While there is lots to celebrate, this is also a time to grieve as a community, and to use the challenges of the past to fuel us into a brighter and inclusive future.  If you live in the Toronto area or the province of Ontario, take a look at events that you can join where you live!

Minority Stress for LGBTQIA2+ People

So how does mental health relate to Pride?  Part of the answer lies in the concept of minority stress.  Minority stress is a chronic psychological stress one experiences when they are a part of a marginalized group (this can include many intersectional elements like race, class, gender, sexuality and ability/disability).  Members of a marginalized group (or multiple minority groups) face discrimination in society, both overt (outright discrimination like aggression, disparity in pay, exclusion from advancement in groups) and covert (micro-aggressions, small traumas that add up over the years to amount to a much bigger issue).  Minority stress has very real implications for LGBTQIA2+ Canadians, as evidenced in statistics like these:

  • LGBTQIA2+  youth are twice as likely to describe their mental health as poor (33%) compared with other bullied youth populations (16%) and non-bullied sexually and gender diverse youth (16%)

  • LGBTQIA2+ youth are twice as likely to consider suicide (27%) compared with other bullied youth (13%)

  • Among LGBTQIA2+ folks aged 15 and up, 3 in 10 of those surveyed reported their mental health to be fair or poor, compared to fewer than 1 in 10 non-LGBTQIA2+ Canadians

  • LGBTQIA2+ people who reported more connectedness to their community are less likely to report suicidal behaviour

Pride as Minority Stressbuster

Minority stress impacts not just the people who experience it directly, but the caregivers, friends, family, and allies that support us.  Pride provides a much-needed celebration that can reduce minority stress not just for LGBTQIA2+ folks, but for the people who support them.  The larger community coming together helps boost queer voices and find power in visibility.  Research shows that social connectedness, cohesion, and finding meaning in your identity has a huge positive impact on both mental and physical well-being, and Pride provides a beautiful opportunity to explore these themes!  In today’s social and political landscape, LGBTQIA2+ people face a litany of challenges, and events like Pride may help counter stigma by educating the wider public on the lived experience of queer folks.  Standing strong and proud in the face of oppression is hugely empowering, and we look forward to bringing empowerment and celebration to the communities we thrive in!

If these themes resonate with you, consider reaching out to a member of our team to schedule a free consultation to explore how therapy can help.  The team at Sedâ Psychotherapy acknowledges that cost can be a barrier to accessing mental health supports, and we are thrilled to also offer high quality, low cost therapy with our new team member Sarah Khedr.  Once again, we hope you have a wonderful Pride month!

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