This post is also available in: French
It is 9 p.m. Sasha is a volunteer for a crisis hotline, and among the calls received tonight was one from Camille:
Hello. This is Sasha. My pronouns are he/she.
Hello… I’m Camille… she.
Thanks for calling, Camille. I’m here to listen. How are you today?
Hum…je dirais que je feel pas…C’est la première fois que j’appelle ici…
Thank you for your trust, Camille. I’m glad you called. Do you want to talk about what’s going on?
I feel like I’ve lost my connections. I have friends, but before when I was a bit down, I would go out. I would go to shows, there were events, and I felt part of a community. I could meet or run into people who were experiencing the same things… now I just feel lonely, lost, and really sad.
It’s worse at night: everything gets stirred up. Unpleasant memories rise to the surface, you know, when I was coming out… it’s a bit like I’ve regressed. And then, the emotions start, I think about it all… and then I can’t deal with all the attacks on social media, violence breaking out, suicides… It gets so intense, it just runs in a loop, I want it all to stop…
Camille, you’re not the only one who is feeling that way right now, and it’s really important to be able to say how you feel. We can talk about it. I want to talk about everything you just told me, so that you don’t feel like you’re alone with your thoughts. We can come up with solutions together. I’m here to give you resources, contacts, and tips.
May 17 is the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. Why that particular date? Because it was as of May 17, 1990 that homosexuality was no longer considered a mental illness by the WHO (that’s right, just 31 years ago…).
Nevertheless, day-to-day stressors and those that appear in the course of lives of people who identify with the LGBTQ+ community can affect their mental health and create psychological distress. This is in addition to the pandemic, which is isolating and increases the vulnerability of people who, in certain contexts, are already struggling with social, economic, health, and other forms of instability.
As Camille’s experience shows, some people in the LGBTQ+ community feel powerless in the current context. Strategies that foster a feeling of belonging, shared experience, and collective solidarity are hampered by the social and health crisis. And, as the Fondation Émergence points out, stigmatization still exists in 2021, with a rise in homophobic and transphobic violence this year.
Promoting mental health in the community means taking action for an inclusive society that cares for everyone’s well-being. Let’s adopt inclusive language and not be indifferent to the realities of the LGBTQ+ community, psychological distress, and stigmatizing behaviour.
If the discussion between Sasha and Camille resonates with you, there are resources for you or your loved ones.
Resources and information: