Our sexuality and gender can form a big part of our identity and those who don’t fit society’s heteronormative ideal can come up against more challenges. Those who identify as LGBTQ+ may be gay, lesbian, bisexual, transexual, pansexual, asexual, queer, non-binary or questioning (or, may define their gender and sexuality in different ways). They can be seen as ‘different’, facing discrimination, bullying and a lack of understanding.
While things in society are slowly moving forward in terms of acceptance, we still have a long way to go. Incredibly, the World Health Organisation only removed ‘homosexuality’ as a formal psychiatric diagnosis in 1992.
The fact is, being LGBTQ+ does not lead to mental health problems – dealing with other people’s adverse reactions does. Because of this, those who don’t identify as heterosexual are more likely to experience mental health problems. Here we’ll explore sexuality and mental health in more detail, where to find support and coming out concerns.
Sexuality and mental health
LGBTQ+ people can be at a greater risk of developing a mental health condition than those in the wider population. The reasons for this are complex and not entirely understood, however, most mental health problems experienced can be linked to discrimination, bullying, homophobia, biphobia or transphobia.