Statistics may show LGBTQ people to be more prone to diseases and issues but who addresses them?
Statistics-based pieces are quite often headlined along the lines of LGBTQ people more prone to mental illness and HIV/AIDS than the rest of the population. While it may indeed be quantitatively true, yet no one ever bothers to address the situation at its core.
Allyship between the cisgenderheterosexuals of today resonates with the Kanye-Donald Trump duo. Clueless at best and narcissistic at worst. A series of “I Love Yous” and rainbow flags during the pride parade, followed by “But, I can’t be Queer-phobic, I have a gay friend” is the end-all for allies. Treated like the next Instagram trend, the community may be visible now, but the idea of affirmative action, and equal rights seem to be a far-farced dream.
Though the Victorian-era Section 377 was recently amended, several other problems still exist that require ally
accountability. Bullying, ignorance, discrimination, custodial violence, and lack of civil liberties continue to be a living reality for queer individuals of the country. Desperately waiting at closet doors, the community awaits their welcome to the living room and eventually, in a room of their own.
Simply put, it is not that being queer preposes the demise of their mental health, rather, it is their condition in the society that is nonconducive to an able mind. Living in ignorant, if not intolerant families and neighbourhoods, takes a toll on the community members mental health, after which statistics start forming and disorders start aggrevating.
Now that the cause and effect have been deconstructed, the course of remedy becomes easier to understand. Creating safe spaces, relieving trauma, enforcing equal rights, and changing societal notions can alone establish an acceptable social framework and throw a gauntlet down to neural irregularities. Yet, the idea of giving an effeminate man or a trans-woman space in society, and not punchlines, still doesn’t sit right amongst the homophobic population.
This narrow mindset may take years to break, legal action including same sex marriages and adoptive rights along with inclusion of community issues in medical syllabi need urgent attention. Even little things like gender neutral bathrooms can have a positive effect on one’s self-esteem and self-worth.
Within the student community, we must facilitate the acceptance of our queer classmates by increasing their presence in student unions followed by a deeper understanding of sex, gender, and sexuality can help shape a better opinion. Services of professional counsellors in the University space is highly needed. Queer collectives and support groups should be encouraged in colleges. Often, a consolidated student community in a college helps provides them the free space to explore their identity and individuality.
Though, it sounds too idealistic when compared to the decades of protest it took to strike down segments of Section 377, it is what it will take the LGBTQ community to finally greet their counterparts a congratulatory Mental Health Day every 10th October.
Feature Image Credits: Ayush Chauhan for DU Beat