The stigmas that the LGBTQIA+ community faces continue to be pervasive. Members of the community are often discriminated against, made to feel shame and isolated, especially in countries with a more religious orientation.
Possible consequences of the stigma:
- Suppressed or repressed emotions and feelings about their sexuality, leading to poor mental health
- The internalised stigma that reduces one’s self esteem and sense of identity
- Continued discrimination towards the community in work and social contexts, leading to inequalities in job and career opportunities and persisting social isolation
- Increased risk and incidence of violence and other forms of abuse towards members of the community.
Given these consequences, it is imperative we find ways to help reduce the stigma surrounding the LGBTQIA+ community.
While progress will largely be felt and made by top-down measures, it is important to acknowledge that there are things we can do as individuals to help reduce the stigma surrounding the community.
How can we help shift from ‘tolerance’ to ‘acceptance’?
Provide your support to members of the community
Be vocal of letting your loved ones or coworkers that are part of the community know that you are there for them, that you are willing to listen and unconditionally love them exactly as they are.
Normalise conversations about the topic
Speak about LGBTQIA+ as if it was already a socially acceptable topic to other people. It is easy to feel aggravated or frustrated speaking to those that do not yet share your opinion on unconditional love and acceptance, but it is only by communicating with compassion to these individuals that they may consider changing their own opinions.
Even when you feel you are not making progress with certain individuals and their beliefs about the community, remember that your beliefs transcend these roadblocks. In other words, don’t let these moments discourage you. Keep spreading the love!
There are non-profit organisations, such as Metro Manila Pride, that are dedicated to educating and empowering the community through their work. There’s also Rainbow Rights Philippines (RRights), another non-profit primarily focused on legislative and policy work, research and capacity building. Additionally, there’s a Facebook group called ‘LGBT Philippine Community’, which helps connect people in the community and allows them to share content relevant to them. Being knowledgeable about these resources will also help you point others in the right direction, should they be seeking additional resources.
Share your story
If you yourself are part of the community and are comfortable sharing your experience, consider doing so. Making our own trials and triumphs known to the world helps validate others by showing them that they are not alone in their struggles and that there is still hope for things to get better for them.
If you are part of the community and feel you do not have someone to open up to, please do not hesitate to book a session with one of our licensed psychologists, where you will be heard and guided in a judgment-free space.