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The Importance of Being Out & Proud

The Importance of Being Out & Proud



DISCLAIMER: This article is not meant to shame those who are in the closet or those who haven’t chosen to ‘come out’ in any regard. Nor is this article meant to force anyone to come out in any way. This is simply meant to shine a light on the importance of the representation of queer pride and queer joy.


Pride has always been a protest.


LGBTQ+ people have always had to fight to earn the equal rights and equal treatment they deserve. The fight isn’t easy, it never has been, and it affects people in many different ways.


Some people are motivated, fired up, and want to do more to represent their community; some want to do more for their community but are just tired.


Both are valid.


It’s normal to feel tired when observing mass amounts of hate being displayed toward your community. It can be demotivating and draining. It can even instill fear. Observing so much hate and negativity can affect LGBTQ+ people mentally and may lead to feelings of anxiety regarding their sexual orientation or identity.


According to The Trevor Project:

  • 60% of LGBTQ young people felt discriminated against for their sexual orientation and/or gender identity

  • 1 in 3 said their mental health was poor due to anti-LGBTQ policies and legislation

  • 67% reported experiencing symptoms of anxiety


How to help?


In these situations, queer people tend to look for any positivity they can. These positive displays are shown through well-written media representation, pride parades, something as small as seeing a rainbow flag in a window, or watching other LGBTQ+ individuals just staying true to themselves.


Seeing people publicly embracing their identity and fighting for their rights can be a beacon for LGBTQ+ people, young and old. Think about it, events like the Stonewall Riots were not only inspired by unjust LGBTQ+ treatment but also through the observation of protests that occurred prior, like the Black Cat Protests in 1967.


Change only ignites more change.


Seeing others show up in numbers for queer happiness encourages others to not only want to do the same, but also to support them from the sidelines. To those who can’t publicly express themselves, seeing these movements ignite a sense of hope and inspiration within. It allows them to feel comfort and pride in their identity.


According to the same study from The Trevor Project:

  • LGBTQ young people who had access to affirming spaces reported lower rates of attempting suicide compared to those who did not.

  • Affirming gender identity among transgender and nonbinary young people is consistently associated with lower rates of attempting suicide

Overall


The fight is exhausting. Having to fight constantly for basic human rights can often be disheartening, and in times like these, it’s important for LGBTQ+ people to take care of themselves.


It’s important to commend every single queer person for staying true to themselves and to commend those that are ‘out’ for inspiring so many others that observe their representation of queer pride, joy, and resistance.


To those that aren’t ‘out’, you are not any less lovedwe see you, we hear you, and you are loved.



 

Citations


The Trevor Project. (2023). 2023 U.S. National Survey on the Mental Health of LGBTQ Young People


Dominguez, L. (2017). The Black Cat: Harbinger of LGBTQ Civil Rights

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