“When you hear of Gay Pride, remember, it was not born out of a need to celebrate being gay. It evolved out of our need as human beings to break free of oppression and to exist without being criminalized, pathologized or persecuted. Depending on a number of factors, particularly religion, freeing ourselves from gay shame and coming to self-love and acceptance can not only be an agonising [sic] journey, it can take years. Tragically some don’t make it.”― Anthony Venn-Brown, A Life of Unlearning – a journey to find the truth
As we roll into Gay Pride month this June, it can be difficult to remember how and why it all started. Talks of parades and corporations flying rainbow merchandise for 30 days can distract from the necessity of why we celebrate. As a saying in the LGBTQIA+ community goes, the first pride was a riot. Pride as we know it was birthed from the protests and riots that resulted when police raided the Stonewall Inn in NYC on June 28th, 1969, to arrest many of the LGBTQ community who had gathered there. For more information about the Stonewall Riots and a brief history of Pride, click here.
Understanding the need for Pride
Beyond the flags and confetti, Pride has always been a fight for the LGBTQIA+ community to acquire the human rights that they deserve. At Heartland Therapy Connection, we understand that this fight often takes a toll on the mental and emotional health of the LGBTQIA+ community. Statistically, LGBTQ individuals are more than twice as likely as heterosexual men and women to have a mental health disorder in their lifetime. They are 2.5 times more likely to experience depression, anxiety, and substance misuse compared with heterosexual individuals. More often than not, members of the LGBTQIA+ community will face stigma, discrimination, and outright hostility in some form over their lifetime. Even those who come from a supportive community of friends and family could potentially face discrimination at school, in the workplace, or in securing housing depending on the state. Sadly, both Kansas and Missouri have quite a way to go in terms of equality for the LGBTQIA+ community. For a full run-down of each state, please visit the HRC State Equality Index.
You are not alone
If you or someone you know is struggling with the challenges facing the LGBTQIA+ community, we invite you to reach out to one of our counselors here at Heartland Therapy Connection. We are a mix of members and allies of the LGBTQIA+ community. It is our earnest hope that we can help you navigate the unique challenges you face. We strive to meet each of our clients with dignity and respect as we work alongside them to help them achieve their goals. Beyond individual counseling, some other unique services that we offer are:
- Family sessions to help build communication and support within the family system;
- Trauma counseling, particularly in regard to family or religious trauma;
- Transition counseling and support for trans clients;
- Counseling services for LGBTQIA+ youth and teens.
Whatever your needs, we are here to support your mental and emotional health. We will fight for PRIDE along with you! Don’t hesitate to reach out today! You can call us at (816) 287-0252, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or learn more on our website. We hope to hear from you soon!