Monday, 23 August 2010

Cause or Effect? Mental Health Among Gay Community

Yesterday whilst I was busy moving back to Northern Ireland I did sit down with the Observer while on the ferry. However, this one from Tracy McVeigh did stand out in light of a conversation me and Mícheál had had the previous evening.

It is looking at the issue of mental health in the LGBT community that will appear in this month's Attitude. The article suggests that rather than homosexuality being a result of mental health as was an officially held stance until the 90s, it is a result of societies failure to provide for homosexuals. One killing quote is:

"Imagine if we expected a young heterosexual girl to get her first lesson about relationships in a singles bar."

For the fact is that young gay men or lesbian women only really get the chance to meets others with their sexuality in that setting or online. Or at least with any certainty that the question is not going to be taken the wrong way. A heterosexual can happily go up to somebody they fancy and tell them so without fear of any repercussion except rejection. An LGBT individual has to take a chance of a random person they fancy. First they come out to that person by asking, that person may take an adverse reaction to the suggestion that they themselves are gay, which might result in violence, name calling etc. instead of just rejection.

There is also a pointing out of the word 'gay' amongst young people to mean that something is bad. The issue arises when someone who has grown up hearing that usage suddenly realises later on that they are the word which those around them have associated with equally bad all this time.

All this insecurity on many different levels leads to the fact that there are so few out role models that people can look up to. If even someone has confident as David Laws feels the need to have kept his sexuality private and Gareth Thomas only recently had the confidence to come out himself, it shows that even the most confident people are going to be open about their sexuality without mix.

However, from personal experience even some of the most confident, outspoken and outgoing gay people I know have some level of mental instability. It's not what made them gay but it is a result of the pressures and expectations that society places on them.

Do click on the link above and read Tracy's article in full it is well worth a read and something that even straight friends of LGBT individuals should read to enable them to maybe understand what their friends are sometimes going through.

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