International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia
Today is the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, or #IDAHOT2016 if you are sailing the streams of Twitter. This year the feature page talks about mental health and wellbeing. It lists campaigns and events taking place around the world to challenge society’s stigma against LGBTQ people.
The focus on wellbeing is an important one., as casting LGBTQ people as sick or damaged impacts our lives considerably. Stigma and fear influence politics and public policy and are also used to defend violence. Wellbeing is an overarching term that includes mental and physical health, safety and security, economic security, legal rights and protections.
Consider any of these issues which are only a few of the life-challenging ones LGBTQ people face daily:
Bullying and discrimination have long lasting effects. LGBTQ youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.
The rate of homelessness for LGBTQ youth is high. Among homeless youth, about 25-40 percent are LGBTQ. This is frequently a result of home environments that reject youth for being LGBTQ.
Family rejection can more than triple consideration of suicide for transgender people.
The murders of trans people are in the news on an ongoing basis. The Advocate has a list of Americans killed so far this year; a sad comment on the rise in violence against trans women in particular- this analysis of the rise is a tough read.
Same sex marriage is becoming legal in more places around the world, yet even so opposition to its legality is staunchly defended (and celebrated by certain religious groups.). Think of American Kim Davis defied the US Supreme Court’s legalization of same sex marriage and went to jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses as it was against her beliefs (but part of her job).
Internalized stigma for being gay, trans, bisexual, or gender non-conforming can influence sexual behaviour and HIV/ STI risk “Oppression not only perpetuates the HIV epidemic but also compromises the overall wellness of gay and bisexual men.”
For these and many more reasons, it’s a good day to fight to improve all all of these social determinants of health.