Talking about the harmful effects of stigma on mental health, discrimination and violence.
Everyone uses the term stigma in their day to day life, but what does it really mean? In its essence, stigma means to hold prejudiced opinions of beliefs about a matter and act according to them, usually in a discriminating manner. It's harmful consequences on mental health are well researched.
'Stigma, prejudice and discrimination create a hostile and stressful social environment that causes mental health problems.'
Thankfully, as people become more and more aware and educated on the LGBTQ+ topic, stigma is less present, however there is still a majority of people being affected by it.
In an article Meyer,I.H. reviewed the evidence of mental health problems among LBGTQ+ societies compared to heterosexual people. He found out that levels of mental health problems are much higher within LGBTQ+ rather than in heterosexual people. He further explains that these results were a product of stigma and discrimination which lead to limited social opportunities for LGBTQ+ people, limited access to work and education because of their perception of themselves. Another study from English, D. compares the levels of mental health problems between Black, Latino , multiracial gay and bisexual man. It found out that the levels of racial discrimination and gay rejection were strongly related to higher levels of depression and anxiety at 6 months , and higher alcohol use at 12 months .
That's just the tip of the iceberg!
Violence rates against LGBTQ+ community members are much higher than those for their cisgender and straight peers.
'The mass shooting at Pulse Night Club, gay nightclub in Orlando was the second worst gun violence in American history. 49 people were murdered as they were peacefully united to dance together. The victims and survivors were predominantly Latin LGBTQ+ people.'
Discriminatory behaviour towards LGBTQ+ people can have many harmful consequences such as:
-Affect their income as a result of limited job opportunities or the chance to keep a job
-Limited access to healthcare which is responsive to their health needs
-Contribute to poor mental health by increased stress which can lead to poor coping skills such as substance abuse, risky sexual behaviours or suicide attempts
'Gay and bisexual youth and other sexual minorities are more likely to be rejected by their families.This increases the possibility of them becoming homeless. Around 40% of homeless youth are LGBT.'
The facts presented above are the least to say troubling, Stigma destroys lives. Scientists call for more research and people simply ask for acceptance, equality and respect.
Love knows no colour or gender.