“See me for me. Not for my labels or for the expectations you have created for me. See me for my joy, for the love I want to shower the world with, for the opportunity to see me shine bright, brighter than the sun, than the moon, than the stars. Dive in deeper to understand me for me and not for who I love. Feel my energy to get a glimpse of the endless beauty I possess. I invite you to come into the closet, to see the magical world I have created. One where being my true authentic self isn’t an inconvenience. Come in to see me, for me.”  -J.O.D

Pride month is celebrated annually in June to honor the 1969 Stonewall riots, an uprising that marked the beginning of a movement to outlaw discriminatory laws and practices against the LGBTQIA+ community. Throughout time, the mainstream LGBTQIA+ community, movement, and Pride month has been dominated by white cisgender men and women who have socially, institutionally, and culturally excluded BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) folks.

When I think of the Pride flag, I think of all those spaces that have welcomed me and helped me feel accepted. The moment I walk into a space and notice these symbols of inclusion, I feel embraced by a community where my voice matters, my thoughts are welcomed, and my experiences are celebrated. Over the years, Pride month has empowered me to celebrate and be who I am, a Latinx Queer woman. Throughout my journey of self-exploration and education of societal injustices, I have become aware of my privilege as a cisgender, white-passing individual. In doing so, I have learned that Pride is much more than a month of party-focused, glitter-filled parades, and heavily rainbow branded capitalist affairs. For me, Pride month has become a time of reclamation where we honor the revolutionary Queer and Trans leaders who paved the way for historic and continued battles of equal rights. It is about connection, inclusivity, equity, education, and advocacy for Black, Brown, trans folks, representation for bisexual folks, marginalized folks, and so much more.

Discrimination against LGBTQIA+ individuals has specifically been associated with high rates of anxiety, depression, substance abuse, suicide, self-harming behaviors, and other mental health challenges. Research has found that LGBTQIA+ youth have higher levels of suicidal ideation compared to their heterosexual peers due to bias, discrimination, family rejection, and other stressors associated with how they are treated because of their sexual identity or gender identity/expression. [1] As a community mental health agency, it is important that we create and provide a safe, inclusive, and supportive environment for the LGBTQIA+ community, especially our BIPOC Queer youth who are at higher risk.

As mental health providers, we must do our part to protect our LGBTQIA+ community, help them feel safe, heard, accepted, and seen. We can do this by educating ourselves on stressors LGBTQIA+ may experience, building community awareness, developing affirming language, recognizing our privilege, creating affirming relationships with family and peers, and re-evaluating institutional practices that undermine positive child and youth development.[2] You can help, even if you do not identify as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. It is a time for us to recognize the LGBTQIA+ community, appreciate the progress of the LGBTQIA+ movement, and reflect upon what more needs to be done. There is no right or wrong way to celebrate Pride month, as long as you are safe and inclusive in your festivities. Recognize your privilege and be an ally.

 

Francesca Campos, AMFT, is a Clinical Therapist in The Guidance Center’s Compton Program where she helps guide children and families struggling with mental health conditions or abuse toward positive and productive futures. She is especially passionate about working with  LGBTQIA+ youth from underserved communities. Before joining The Guidance Center team in 2019, Campos worked with children and families in Alhambra Unified School District as an MFT trainee and school counseling intern. Campos earned a Masters of Science in Counseling, option in School-Based Family Counseling (PPS/CWA credentials) at California State University, Los Angeles.

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Behavioral Health. Behavioral Health | Youth.gov. (n.d.). https://youth.gov/youth-topics/lgbtq-youth/health-depression-and-suicide.

[2] Behavioral Health. Behavioral Health | Youth.gov. (n.d.). https://youth.gov/youth-topics/lgbtq-youth/health-depression-and-suicide.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from us.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Share This