LGBTQI+ History Month 2022
In the UK, February marks LGBTQI+ History Month. This awareness month is a chance for people of all ages to learn more about the history of LGBTQI+ communities. The tagline for this year’s LGBTQI+ history month is:
Claiming our past. Celebrating our present. Creating our future.
What does LGBTQI+ mean?
LGBTQI+ is an acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Intersex and Other.
Other is represented by the + symbol and acknowledges the inclusion of a range of gender and sexual minority identities including asexual, gender-fluid, non-binary, and pansexual. There are many more ways to be gender, sexually or body diverse and it’s important that we include everyone.
What is LGBTQI+ History month?
LGBTQI+ History Month happens every February in the UK and is a month to celebrate the history of LGBTQI+ communities. The theme for 2022’s LGBTQI+ history month is ‘Politics In Art’ and will also commemorate the 50th anniversary of Britain’s first ever Pride march. Head to LGBT+ History Month’s website for more information.
Are those who identify as LGBTQI+ more likely to experience mental health problems?
While being LGBTQI+ does not cause mental health illness in itself, as a minority, we may have to deal with difficult experiences like discrimination because of our sexuality or gender identity. This can have a real impact on our mental health.
Research has shown that those of us who identify as LGBTQI+ are around two or three times more likely to develop mental health problems, (such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety and eating disorders), than straight people who identify with the gender given to them at birth.
If you’d like to find out more about this study, head to the source: Journal of General Internal Medicine (2015), Sexual Minorities in England Have Poorer Health and Worse Health Care Experiences: A National Survey
Can identifying as LGBTQI+ be positive for mental health too?
Embracing our LGBTQI+ identity can absolutely have a positive impact on our wellbeing. It might mean we have increased confidence, a sense of community and belonging, the freedom of self-expression and self-acceptance, as well as increased resilience.
As an ally, what can I do to support?
Individuals from all walks of life can be active allies to the LGBTQI+ community. If you agree in equality and fair treatment for people who identify as LGBTQI+, then you’re already an ally!
Here are a few ways to get started:
- Familiarising yourself with the language is a good first step in becoming an ally. Stonewall have a really helpful glossary of LGBTQI+ definitions here.
- As allies, it’s also very important that we are using others’ preferred pronouns. Those that are referred to by the wrong pronoun can feel disrespected, invalidated, and alienated.
- Getting involved in the community, showing our support and standing up for what we believe in is an amazing way to be an active ally.
I need help with my mental health – where should I go?
There are specialist LGBTQI+ charities and mental health services offering support, information and advice. If you need support, you are not alone.
Bath Mind’s services are open to all, and are here for you if you need support with your mental health and wellbeing.
There are also some great national resources available, specialising in LGBTQI+ care:
- Albert Kennedy Trust supports LGBTQI+ people aged 16-25 who are homeless or living in a hostile environment.
- Being Gay is OK provides advice and information for LGBTQI+ people under 25.
- Brigstowe are a local HIV Support Organisation who support anyone living with or affected by HIV. They offer a number of different services; Advice & Support, Migrant & Asylum Support, Peer Mentoring, Group Peer Support, Recently Diagnosed Workshops and HIV Awareness Training.
- FFLAG is a national voluntary organisation and charity dedicated to supporting parents and their lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans family members.
- Gender Identity Research & Education Society (GIRES) works to improve the lives of trans and gender non-conforming people of all ages, including those who are non-binary and non-gender.
- LGBT Foundation gives advice, support and information for people identifying as LGBTQI+.
- Mermaids supports gender-diverse young people aged 19 and under, as well as their families and carers.
- Pink Therapy is an online directory of qualified therapists who identify as or are understanding of minority sexual and gender identities.
- Stonewall Housing give specialist housing advice for anyone identifying as LGBTQI+ in England.
- Switchboard LGBT is a confidential listening service for the LGBTQI+ communities. Offering support across their helpline, email and instant messaging, 10am-10pm daily.
Bath Mind’s services are open to all and can be accessed by anyone looking for support with their mental health. To understand how Bath Mind can support you, head to Our Services page.
If you’re looking for further resources on support and allyship this LGBTQI+ History Month, take a look at Mind’s resource section here.
Posted on: 16th February 2022