June is officially Pride month, but the fight for LGBTQ+ rights and mental health is important year-round. To close out this month we asked members of the California Legislature’s LGBTQ Caucus, Senator Scott Wiener, Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes and Assemblymember Christopher Ward, their thoughts on the importance of Pride month and how we can continue to better support LGBTQ+ mental health.
“Being black already makes life hard…adding being gay on top [of] that is extremely difficult.” A student quote from a 2018 Human Rights Campaign report highlights the struggles LGBTQ+ youth of color face. Discrimination and mental health conditions are inextricably linked and without people that understand and offer support, LGBTQ+ youth of color are left alone.
In middle school, Juan Acosta was teased about his sexuality, something he didn’t fully understand yet. As a consequence, he struggled with his mental health and at one point even contemplated suicide. In an interview for our My Mental Health Journey series, Juan says, “I felt like such a big part of my being was intruded by assumptions that although were not wrong, made me feel ashamed for being who I was.”