Feelings of isolation and loneliness have existed among the LGBTQ+ community for many years due to the fear of persecution, violence and seclusion that comes along with being a member of the LGBTQ+ community in a heteronormative society.

Looking at the evidence: 

Despite these alarming statistics, members of the LGBTQ+ community are NOT automatically predisposed to lower levels of connectedness or higher levels of suicide ideation just because of who they are. Living in an exclusionary society, and moving through life feeling like you cannot be your authentic self can be unbearably isolating. 

June — Pride Month — is a critical time for individuals in the LGBTQ+ community. It was established to recognize history among the LGBTQ+ community, but more importantly provides an opportunity for members of the LGBTQ+ to come together and connect authentically at various events. Many organizations and workplaces express their support with displays and initiatives that support the community. Pride Month encourages community members and allies to connect in a safe space.

It’s important to note that once the month is over, the parades and parties die down and big companies and workplaces may remove their pride displays and initiatives for the next 11 months —  yet, isolation and loneliness issues among the LGBTQ+ community still exist.

As advocates for social connection, we know not everyone experiences it the same way or has the same options for support. 

Health disparities play an important role in dictating who experiences social isolation and loneliness. The LTGBQ+ community suffers from under-representation and lack of inclusion which only worsens this issue. As a marginalized group, individuals in the LGBTQ+ community often experience worse health outcomes and an increased risk of social isolation and loneliness. So as Pride month comes to an end; let’s all learn to be allies to this under-served community. So how do we do this?

We need to educate ourselves: This means educating yourself, your community, and your colleagues. The LGBTQ+ community experiences social isolation and mental health challenges at a such high rate due to stigmatization, and it is critical to practice inclusive behaviors.

We need to be intentional and inclusive: As we recommend policy and programmatic interventions and conduct research, we need to specifically include information about the LGBTQ+ community in these initiatives. We need to recognize the experiences of impacted individuals, so that we are inclusive in our policy suggestions, agendas, and initiatives.

Pride is a month to have fun, be proud, and be an ally, but we must not forget the impact of social isolation and loneliness on the LGBTQ+ community and continue our effort to combat it throughout the year. The LGBTQ+ community deserves to feel and experience social connection and belonging every day, and allies should support that initiative everyday, not just during Pride Month. 

Educate and Donate:

The Trevor Project is the world’s largest suicide and crisis prevention organization for LGBTQ+ youth, and a great place to start educating yourself. Find out more about the Trevor Project here.

The Human Rights Campaign has been fighting for LGBTQ+ rights for the past 40 years. Find out more about the Human Rights Campaign here.

SAGE is an advocacy service for LGBTQ+ elders. SAGE provides resources focused on social isolation and loneliness in the LGBTQ+ community. Find out more about SAGE and their initiatives to combat social isolation and loneliness here.

True Color United is an organization focused on producing innovative solutions to combat youth homelessness, a socially isolating experience. Find out more about True Colors United here.

Happy Pride!