During Pride month as rainbow flags appear across our homes, streets, avatars, and socials, I’m reminded that not all LGBTQIA+ paths are filled with unicorns and sunshine.
As a trans person, I’ve had my own journey to healing and acceptance. As a hypnotherapist, life coach, and psychedelic guide I help others on their own self-discovery journeys.
Nearly half of LGBTQIA+ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, according to a survey from the Trevor Project. Of the 59% of transgender boy/man that considered suicide, 22% attempted suicide, which is higher than other LGBTQIA+ youth.
Pride Month and Mental Health for LGBTQIA+ Youth
For many, June (Pride month) can be a dark and depressing month, particularly for LGBTQIA+ youth. Some aren’t ready to come out; for others, it’s simply not safe to come out. There are also those who’ve been out for years and still can’t shake the shame and find hope or light in their lives.
I recently lost a dear friend to suicide.
It was a devastating loss that left me confused, angry, and sad. I knew he was going through a rough time, but I had no idea his pain was this great. He knew what I did for a living and he made it clear in his departure letter that he simply didn’t want to do the work to heal himself. I think that hurts the most and leaves me with so many questions.
What kind of upbringing did he have where mental health wasn’t talked about? Did he have a therapist? Did they know? Was he honest with anyone? Why did he not want to heal?
The darkness, loneliness, and shame I was living in around my gender, sexuality, and childhood trauma were too deep.
The question that stood out the most to me was the latter, and it made me think of my own healing. I can remember when my pain was so great that I, too, was ready to end this human experience. The darkness, loneliness, and shame I was living in around my gender, sexuality, and childhood trauma were too deep.
I couldn’t help but wonder what his wounds were. He was always pretty shy. He didn’t open up a lot, but he did laugh a lot, which can easily be seen as happiness. But in reality, our shadows are masterful tricksters and can fool anyone, including ourselves.
When I see my friends, clients, and colleagues struggling to find balance with their mental health, I can’t help but remember my youth and feel for today’s LGBTQIA+ youth.
In reality, our shadows are masterful tricksters and can fool anyone, including ourselves.
I grew up in Dubai and had no understanding of what I was experiencing as a trans kid. The confusion, sadness, and loneliness were incredibly painful at times. Many times, I didn’t want to live out of that pain.
I imagine it feels similar to LGBTQIA+ youth growing up in a small town or a family with deep religious beliefs that shames and shuns any other way of thinking.
These last two years have been mentally and physically exhausting for so many. 19% of the 53% of Nonbinary/genderqueer youth have attempted suicide. When I read these statistics, I am shaken to my core and I am reminded of how I felt as a young trans person without having any tools, resources, or someone to talk to.
Resources and Support for LGBTQIA+ Youth During Pride Month (And Always)
Thankfully there are free resources that can help. For those not in crisis, I recommend finding a therapist who you trust and who understands LGBTQIA+ issues.
Here are some of my favorite LGBTQIA+ youth resources to find care:
1. The Trevor Project
The Trevor Project provides 24/7 support via text, chat or phone call for LGBTQIA+ youth.
2. Trans Lifeline
Trans Lifeline is for trans people, run by trans people, to provide peer support, resources, and community.
3. Rainbow Health
Rainbow Health offers therapy, community resources, and equitable healthcare for the LGBTQIA+ community.
4. Queer Asterisk
Queer Asterisk is a non-profit organization that offers counseling services, therapeutic programs, and educational programs.
5. Umbrella Collective
Umbrella Collective is a collective of mental health therapists who use talk therapy that honors your intersecting identities for individual, couples, and group therapy.
Committing to a mental fitness plan by working through our traumas with therapists, healers, and guides are imperative to our well-being, especially for our LGBTQIA+ youth. For some, it can be the difference between life and death.
However you are celebrating Pride month this year, make sure to find time for self-care, check in with your friends and allies, and if you aren’t ready to celebrate, know that that is ok too. Be gentle with all parts of yourself.
If you are looking for additional LGBTQIA+ crisis and support resources, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) offers free, confidential 24/7 phone and text support. It also has a comprehensive list of resources, support services, and local branches that you can view here.