LGBTQ+ individuals are 2 or more times more likely as straight individuals to have a mental health condition.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ+) youth are 2 to 3 times more likely to attempt suicide than straight youth.
Growing up the disapproval towards the LGBTQ+ community was very prevalent. Not from my family, but from the general public, hate was there. Being gay was not okay, at all! When I finally came to terms with the fact that I was emotionally and physically attracted to women, it was not only liberating it was terrifying. I was told to fear what my family would think. I was told to fear what society would think. I was told that what I was feeling was wrong. My entire life, I was taught to feel shameful, fear and hate towards these feelings. My parents did not teach me these things - I was taught to love everyone for who they were - the good bad & the ugly. But what was making me feel this hatred toward myself and my lesbianism? Society? The government? The elders of the world? There were literally laws that stated two men or two women could not get married, it was wrong. That's it - the government taught me hatred towards myself, but no. I taught myself hatred, I feared these feelings, because society "looks down upon" those of the LGBTQ+ community, "my life is going to be so hard if I'm a lesbian". These were all things I filled my head with. No, not everyone is going to accept you, and that's okay. Yes, some people may even "hate" you for being queer, and that's okay. Why am I going to let their disapprovals ruin my happiness? Why am I going to let the governments twisted laws decide my fate? Why am I going to let these monsters in my head that tell me I shouldn't be feeling the way I feel take control of my life? Once I let go of all the hate, disapproval, and stigma. I finally felt like my truest self. I felt whole for accepting the things I would never be able to change about myself. Because there is nothing wrong with me for loving who I love. Coming out was relieving for my soul, but unfortunately the mental damage had already taken a toll on me. I needed help that no one in my family knew how to deal with. And it wasn't their fault, I was very good at hiding my mental struggles. It took me a long time to finally feel okay mentally, but the journey has been 100% worth it. Since coming out, laws have changed, acceptance is more known than hate, love for all is everywhere. Hatred still exists, disapproval is still around, but how I choose to deal with the hate and disapproval is what has changed the most. I am who I am. And if you don't like me simply because of the person I have fallen in love with, that's your loss - because I'm a pretty great person.
In this blog I also want to share a little "interview" I did with this amazing human being, Aiden! He is a transgender male, (ftm- female to male) who has been sharing his transition online for the past year. By sharing his journey he has helped countless people of the transgender community & brought such positive visibility to the transgender community. This is what he had to say about being transgender and the effects it can have on your mentally.
When did you realize you were Transgender?
I’ve always known I wanted to be a boy, I just never knew what the term for it was. For as long as I can remember I wanted to be just like a boy. It wasn’t until my sophomore year of college that I learned about female to male transgender‘s and that it was possible to become a male.
Has your transition affected your mental health?
Yes my transition has definitely affected my mental health. Even though I still have certain body dysphoria‘s, my mental health has been better than it’s ever been. I’m more confident in myself I’m learning to love myself. Things that used to stress me out or upset me the past now don’t get to me as bad.
What tools do you use to help you with those mental health struggles?
One of the biggest things that has helped me with my mental health issues and body dysphoria is going to the gym. It has also been helpful reaching out to other female to male transgender guys and just reaching out to close friends when I need.
Do you see a therapist? If so, how has seeing a therapist helped you through your mental health process and your transition?
I personally did not see a therapist to start hormones, since I went to Planned Parenthood, they don’t believe that you need to see a therapist to decide what to do with your life. I did although have to see a therapist to get a top surgery letter. But by that time I was already six months through my transition and the therapist even agreed that there is no reason to have the sessions, but knew they were necessary for top surgery. But I do know a lot of female to male transgender men will seek out a therapist with help in figuring out what’s best for them.
Do you have any advice for those in the transition process or who have not yet come out as Transgender?
Transitioning is a selfish process and needs to be a selfish process. It can’t be about anybody but yourself. It’s a time in your life where you need to put your happiness first and do what’s best for you. It’s not going to be easy and it’s not going to be smooth sailing. It’s going to be very hard, you’ll lose a lot of people, probably get a lot of hate, but it will be worth it in the end.
Thank you so much Aiden for being a part of this blog and sharing your story!
Go check out Aiden's Instagram (@aiden_m365) for his entire transitions story and updates! You won't be sorry!
Statistics provided by the National Institute of Mental Health. www.nimh.nih.gov