How to be an Ally to the LGBTIQAP+ Community
At Haven Psychology we are committed to being at one with our LGBTIQAP+ community. Our community is an essential part of the beautiful tapestry of colour that just adds to our lives.
For those of you who are unsure, LGBTIQAP+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, queer, asexual, pansexual, and other diverse identities identifying people.
Unfortunately the statistics in terms of mental health within this community are horrific. According to Beyond Blue studies have found that the LGBTIQAP+ community face up to twice as much abuse or violence (including physical, mental, sexual or emotional) than heterosexual people. This prejudice and discrimination adds an additional layer of risk on top of biological, social, environmental and psychological factors which can lead on going mental health issues.
Essentially, when compared with heterosexual people, same-sex attracted and transgender and non-binary people have higher psychological distress and significant levels of anxiety.
Due to this, we wanted to put together a few words on how we can be a better ally to this community and how we can help stop the prejudice.
How you can be a better Ally to the LGBTIQAP+ Community
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
To be an ally, it’s best to never make assumptions about an individual and educate yourself so you are armed with knowledge moving forward. The community is an ever evolving one, so be willing to ask, listen and learn.
Be willing to say – “I don’t know” and “what do you need from me”.
You might be worried that you might be rejected, but it’s ok to speak up and develop your base of understanding, and in fact, may need to unlearn some societal and cultural beliefs and stigmas. Don’t forget, the community has had to deal with a lot of rejection and prejudice and would be more than willing to work with you to create a better partnership.
If your aim is to stand and support the community, that can only be a positive thing!
Be willing to be led
If someone is willing to come to you, be open to support. Just being able to listen without judgement is the greatest support you can give. You’d be surprised at how a good listening ear can help someone going through a difficult time.
Those in the community may have had to face rejection, so it will take courage for them to come out or confide in you. Don’t assume because they confided in you that they want you to share it with other people. It’s their story to tell.
Don’t be afraid to stand up in support
Referring to a previous blog, by being silent we are condoning the actions of others, therefore remember, it’s ok to stand up and be heard if you feel things are not right.
You might have to face a difficult situation with someone you love, a family member or even a colleague, but it’s important to say – “it’s not ok”.
It can be tough but it’s so important, remember, actions speak louder than words.
Parents – it’s ok to be scared
As parents we can sometimes have immense fear when it comes to the diversity of our children, we often don’t want our children to be out or be visible. Mostly this is not because we don’t love them or are ashamed – we just don’t want them to be hurt or hated.
We don’t want our child to be sad or scared, and ignorance and sheer hatred is scary.
However, if we live in our own fear we can actually unknowingly or unwittingly ask them to not be their true authentic self. This can be even more damaging for our children in the long run.
Safety, love and freedom, are fundamental rights and we at Haven Psychology Centre will continue to be a safe place for the LGBTIQAP+ community. Please reach out if we can support you.