All over the world, a variety of events and parades celebrate the influence LGBT people have. These events also draw attention to the political policies and issues that members of the community are currently facing.
What Is LGBT Pride and Pride Month?
Pride Month, which is during June, celebrates the LGBTQ community in different ways. LGBT pride allows people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender to express themselves openly and freely. While this self-expression is inspiring, being a member of this community comes with an extensive set of obstacles, especially in the present day.
Importance of Pride Month
While LGBTQ Pride Month is a celebration of self-love, it also highlights the key issues associated with the community. Thanks to certain notable figures, the LGBT community has overcome certain challenges and become more accepted. Some of these figures include:
- Marsha P. Johnson: Also known as the “Rosa Parks of the LGBT movement,” Johnson was openly queer, black and transgender.
- Sylvia Rivera: Rivera is a Latin transgender activist that co-founded Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR).
- Harvey Milk: As the first openly gay politician, Milk pushed legislation that decriminalized sexual orientation in employment and housing.
Despite the advancements these figures have made for the community, there are many other obstacles, such as the close association between LGBT people and substance use. People who self-identify as lesbian or gay double their risk for developing a substance use disorder. This means members of the LGBTQ community require addiction recovery that suits their specific needs as members of a minority group that frequently faces discrimination.
LBGT Individuals and Substance Use Disorder
A few factors lead to the LGBTQ community’s elevated risk of developing an addiction. The stress of overcoming specific hurdles can also lead to an increased risk of developing a substance use disorder. Some of these challenges include:
- Discrimination: People who identify as LGBTQ often experience discrimination in every aspect of life. Whether discrimination presents itself in systematic ways or comes from specific people, it can lead to significantly more challenges to overcome.
- Trauma: There is a strong connection between traumatic events leading to a substance use disorder, and the LGBTQ community is exposed to traumatic situations through bullying, harassment and violence.
- Stress: Because LGBTQ people are in a constant state of stress — often from worrying about violence or prejudice — this anxiety can lead to self-medication with different substances, sometimes forming an addiction.
- Target marketing: People who identify as gay or transgender may have a strong connection to specific bars. This means legal substances, including tobacco and alcohol, are frequently marketed to the LGBT community.
- Relationship recognition: Because same-sex marriage is often not viewed as valid or ignored completely, members of the LGBTQ community don’t have access to certain insurance benefits, leading to economic instability.
- Unavoidable prejudice: Although there is more acceptance of the community than before, people who identify as LGBT may experience a substance use disorder because of the prejudice others hold against them. Whether at home, school or work, there is a strong stigma against the community.
- Housing and employment: Having a stable job or housing situation is a crucial part of being economically and financially sufficient. However, because LGBTQ individuals frequently experience discrimination in every form, it may be significantly more difficult to find a job or place to live.
Because being part of the LGBT community and substance use are so closely linked, it is important to seek treatment for a substance use disorder immediately.
Reach Out to Gateway Foundation for Specialized LGBT Addiction Recovery
At Gateway Foundation, we offer various therapies that focus on mental health issues prevalent within the LGBTQ population, so your treatment is tailored to your needs. Our various programs will help you recognize what lead to your substance use disorder and connect you with a group of people who will help in your recovery journey. Contact us today to learn more about our treatment plans or our LGBTQ treatment program to begin your journey to a sober life.