Mental health at the intersection of sexuality and family

FINALLY, it looks like Black communities are having more meaningful conversations about mental health and wellness. From where and how to seek help, to the myriad ways in which we are impacted by various structural and societal factors like racism, we are making giant strides in solving a problem that is eating away at our communities.

Yet Black and Brown LGBTQ+ people still find themselves estranged from their families, which has an ongoing negative impact on the mental and emotional health of already vulnerable people within Black communities.

In a country that likes to let us know that black people are not welcome, family for the most part provides respite and security. Those without this precious safety net, like me, can often feel unlovable and, to some extent, flawed.

Although acceptance by family and friends may still be an issue for many LGBTQ+ people, a investigation by UK Black Pride finds that almost half (42%) of respondents say they visit their family less often because they don’t feel accepted for who they are. This rate was particularly high among trans and non-binary respondents (67% and 64%).

Although my relationship with my family had an impact on my mental health, I was fortunate to have access to therapy.

However, I continue to be jealous of my Black LGBTQ+ peers who can be fully authentic with their families, and those who can rest in the safety of their homes, share their joys and woes, enjoy their favorite homemade meal, and to feel unconditional love. I see the difference it makes in how they navigate the world.

The UK Black Pride report makes several recommendations, and I’d like to offer one to Voice readers: don’t leave your LGBTQ+ loved ones to suffer alone.

Black LGBTQ+ people deserve love and support, especially in a hostile black environment in the UK.

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