Steph Farnsworth argues that if we’re serious about mental health, we need to prioritise those most marginalised.
They’re listening to the concerns of the community. The Conservatives, the mainstream parties, those ruling the community from within while funding is cut and delivered to overwhelmingly to cis gay people. Is that all our community is? It’s okay, however. The government is committed to supporting mental health services – even though mental health nurses were cut under the Conservatives.
In healthcare, there’s a triage system. The most urgent cases get priority. Mental health rates for trans people have been abysmal for years but while trans people are politically labelled with mental health slurs as a way to block rights, there’s barely any funding for mental health support. It’s urgent. Trans people are dying. Give us your funding.
The gatekeepers of society dictate the future and history. Bi people are only just gaining recognition but even studies proving that bi women face a far greater chance of poor mental health (and harassment, stalking and sexual assault) than gay or straight people have done nothing to gain more support. Give us your funding.
The gatekeepers of society dictate the future and history.
For the community to obtain funding then first there has to be proof of a problem. What a seemingly logical idea – if only it was designed for a smooth process and not to prevent support being acquired. To prove a subset of a community’s so at risk there must be a study. That study requires funding. Aromantic and asexual people must be completely fine because there’s never any money given for support. Give us your funding.
The magic money tree grew in just a few hours when a deal with the DUP was needed to prop up the Tories but there’s none to save the lives of LGBTQ+ people. When people are stopped from speaking out, when there’s no outlets available for them to say they have a problem, then that doesn’t mean things are fine. People are choosing simply to look the other way.
Asexual people are bombarded with messages throughout their entire lives that sex equals validation but, of course, that could never cause issues with anxiety or self worth. Think there’s no aro survivors of intimate partner violence? First it starts with “why don’t you love me the way I love you?”, then it becomes accusations of cheating and then violence. But no. Of course aromantic people don’t need support. It’s a life people lead who long for isolation, right?
The situation is more severe for any LGBTQ+ person who is also a person of colour. There’s racism still within the NHS. If the NHS is a service of support, how on earth can people of colour depend on it? Where are they supposed to go? Private care isn’t an option when we’re living in the age of austerity, which has also disproportionately hit people (and especially women) of colour. Yet, the dialogue around the NHS is overwhelmingly about whether to fund services or cut them. There’s little debate on how to improve services for those most marginalised, there’s little criticism of the NHS allowed when it may be used as an excuse to strip back the service even further. We must be able to say that the NHS needs to do more to provide for all people without that being taken as an argument against our healthcare system.
If there are failures on a national level then there are also failings within the LGBTQ+ industry. We’ve built up our own media and our own charities but still so many people are ignored. The organisations with any real clout in this country aren’t directed by the concerns of those most marginalised within the LGBTQ+ community. They’re overwhelmingly focused on those with the most privilege. There are issues with homophobia in society, deep issues but that should not be not the only focus. Save money on PR gimmicks about rainbow laces in favour of mental health support for trans people or for better training within the NHS to stamp out racism. Some people are struggling and I won’t get over it.
We must be able to say that the NHS needs to do more to provide for all people without that being taken as an argument against our healthcare system.
Queer organisations though cannot fight a war alone. They’re not good enough, not inclusive enough and I’m starting to think switching to using “queer” wasn’t about being inclusive but a way so organisations could ignore any letter but LGBT.
Every element of society from government to activism is failing those who need support the most. There is a mental health crisis in this country. There is also a silenced epidemic among queer people. Society is going out of its way to ignore this. There’s no opportunity to assess just how bad it is at all. There needs to be funding made available for research into the experiences and mental health of asexual, aromantic, intersex and non binary people. From that research, there then needs to be a consistent plan put in place to provide support. People are being left to pull themselves up by their bootstraps but that can never be successful. The reality is that people are left to suffer and to scramble to survive.
Follow Stephanie on Twitter (@StephFarnsworth)