Domestic abuse within LGBT communities is often overlooked within mainstream services. Abuse or hostile behaviour can come from a partner, family member or housemate. Differences between LGBT relationships and heterosexual and/or cisnormative relationships can also make it harder to identify abuse. For example, abuse may involve having your sexual orientation or gender identity dismissed.
COVID-19 guidance relating to social distancing and isolation is a particular concern for people living with their abuser and lack of physical contact with others can exacerbate feelings of fear, loneliness and anxiety. For this reason, we’ve put together a list of 10 simple things that you can do within your home to affirm your LGBT identity and support your mental health during this time.
- Engage in LGBT media. Netflix has a whole section of LGBTQ films, Spotify and Apple music have a number of playlists and podcasts by LGBT artists or there’s some great queer literature out there too
- Share LGBT content with friends and family who are supportive of your identity. This can help them to get to know you better and reduce feelings of loneliness
- Connect with other LGBT people through forums and online chat e.g. www.trevorspace.org. Organisations such as LGBT Foundation, Terrence Higgins Trust and Galop are holding number of workshops, events and support sessions via Zoom so you can stay connected
- Watch tutorials on YouTube. This is a great time to develop new skills whether that be learning how to do make-up and contouring to learning how to play your favourite song on the guitar
- If it’s safe, put up a pride flag. If it’s not safe, keep an empowering image or token in a private place as a reminder
- Research LGBT heroes. Learning how other LGBT people have endured and survived challenges can be both inspiring and reassuring that you are not alone! Stonewall have already put together a list to get you started
- Wear an item of clothing that signifies your authentic self. Clothing and jewellery be a great way of representing who you are. It can be as wild as leopard-print stilettos or as subtle as a necklace
- Use creative outlets such as journals, poems or song lyrics to record how you’re feeling. Documenting your experiences can be a powerful way of learning from them and processing the emotions you’re experiencing
- Talk about your identity with people you trust. This could be over the phone, video messenger such as Marco Polo or via instant messenger if it’s not safe to talk openly
- Practice positive statements to affirm your identity e.g. "I deserve to be treated with dignity and respect" or "I am ____ and my sexual orientation is valid". Recognising that your experiences aren’t a representation of your worth or validity is really important to strengthening your mental health and self-esteem
This is not an exhaustive list and you may want to share some of these suggestions with friends and family who are experiencing abuse.
For more information on LGBT Foundation’s domestic abuse support email [email protected]or call our helpline on 0345 3 30 30 30.