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LGBTQIA+ Men's Mental Health

November is Men’s Mental Health Awareness Month, but why might LGBTQIA+ men and masculine people have a different experience with mental health?

November is Men’s Mental Health Awareness Month, but why might LGBTQIA+ men and masculine people have a different experience with mental health? 

 

Gay men are three times more likely to experience depression compared to the rest of the adult population. This is often down to social factors such as rejection, homophobia, shame and guilt. 

 

There’s still a lot of shame around HIV and AIDS, although it’s not talked about as much anymore, it’s still prevalent and still impacting our community. The thought of a HIV diagnosis is a big thing for someone to digest and can make a massive impact on someone’s mental health. Thankfully, the healthcare for HIV has come a long way, but that doesn’t mean that living with a diagnosis is easy. This can cause depression, shame and isolation, as well as many people reporting that that felt alienated by medical professionals due to their HIV status. 

 

It’s important to hear first-hand experiences of how being LGBTQIA+ men experience mental health, so one of our members talked about his experience as a bisexual man. 

 

“My mental health isn’t great at the best of times. However, being a bi man exacerbates this even more. Speaking from both personal experience and other bi men I know; the discrimination goes much more under the radar, making it seem like less of a problem than it is. There are the standard ones of “It’s a phase”, “they’re saying it to be trendy”, and “They’re just not ready to fully come out yet”. These, while still hurtful, are not the main contributors to Bi people’s mental health. The problem is the ones that people don’t even know they’re doing. Often, they are not intending to be hurtful but are doing so just due to lack of education. Growing up in rural Oxfordshire I experienced this a lot and had to learn to ignore it. Things such as hastily adding “or boy” to the end of every sentence about relationships, The Slightly odd looks when I talk about football. And the absolute worst, Universal bi guy’s experience… The school ‘cool kid’ asking “would you do me?” These things may seem innocuous but when you experience them constantly, day after day, It can grate on your mental health and really affect you. 

Another major mental health issue for bi men is imposter syndrome, It is so so common among bi men, that everyone I know has experienced it on multiple occasions. I don’t know the truth in this but from a bi, male perspective we are written off so fast it is almost akin to full erasure, Even from within the LGBTQ+ community itself. It feels to a lot of us that in terms of bisexuality, women are sexualised, and men are stigmatised.

I can’t speak on NB or Trans situations as I have no experience or knowledge on their personal experiences. Many straight men I know from back home have said that they would prefer it if their girlfriend was bi in the hope that they could introduce a third party. And quite the opposite from the straight women, saying that they would not trust a bi man to stay faithful in a relationship. This is the major detriment to bi people’s mental health and societal expectations. Many people, both straight and gay, hold these opinions that bi girls all want threesomes, and that bi guys are always horny and will prioritise that over a relationship. It is just standard, common generalisation which would improve the lives of so many people if it could be taught out of common thought, Similar to how the idea gay men are flamboyant, and Gay women are all macho has been largely removed from most peoples ideals.”

 

 

 

Transmasculine people are also at a high risk of negative mental health issues. The increased waiting times for trans related services on the NHS are becoming worryingly heavy on the mental health of those affected. 

 

“As a transmasculine person, my identity has a direct effect on my mental health. Gender dysphoria is a heavy weight on my depression. Getting access to the healthcare that would help me in my transition seems impossible to reach, leaving me trapped in a body I don’t feel happy in. I think that’s what some cisgender people don’t understand, waking up every day and feeling like you’re in a body that doesn’t belong to you can be draining and hard to look in the mirror. For men’s mental health awareness month, I hope there’s education on all the issues that affect men, not just cis, straight, white, able bodied men.”

 

It’s important to highlight that not all mental health is affected by the same issues. To create awareness of men’s mental health, we need to speak up about the range of factors that could influence this. 

 

Here are some essential services where you can find support:

 

Switchboard- LGBT+ specific support and services. 

https://switchboard.lgbt

Coventry University counselling and support.

https://www.coventry.ac.uk/study-at-coventry/student-support/health-and-wellbeing/counselling-and-mental-health-service/

Samaritans- general support and advice. 

https://www.samaritans.org

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