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LGBT+ History Month

However you identify, we’re here to celebrate you. And fight for your mental health. That’s why we’re marking LGBT+ History Month. It happens every February in the UK.

This is the month we celebrate the history of LGBTQIA+ communities. Progress made. People’s stories. And many, wonderfully different identities.

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Trigger Warning: on this page, we mention hate crimes committed against LGBTIQ+ communities

Why LGBT+ History Month is important

LGBT+ History Month is a month that’s important to us. Celebrating all parts of who we are is vital to the fight for mental health. And this month, we’re doing just that!

It’s a month when we can all remember the people who fought for LGBTQIA+ rights in the past. A chance for people of all ages to learn more about the rich history of LGBTQIA+ communities. And a moment to remember just how far we’ve come over the years.  

LGBTQIA+ mental health

LGBT+ History Month is also a moment to lift up people’s stories about their mental health.

Being LGBTQIA+ does not cause mental health problems. But some things you may go through as an LGBTQIA+ person can make you more likely to experience a mental health problem.

Some things you may go through if you’re LGBTQIA+ include:

  • Homophobia, biphobia and transphobia
  • Experiences of stigma and discrimination
  • Difficult experiences of coming out
  • Social isolation, exclusion and rejection
  • 'Conversion therapy'
  • Difficulties getting the healthcare you need for reasons such as discrimination, or long waiting lists for gender treatment if you’re trans

In fact, because of these issues LGBTQIA+ people are 2 to 3 times more likely to experience a mental health problem.

And many young people experience a lack of inclusive environments – from home to school and beyond. Nearly a quarter of young people who are at risk of homelessness identify as LGBTQIA+.

The impact that discrimination and isolation has on the mental health of LGBTQIA+ people is clear, and avoidable. That’s why we all need to do more to make sure things change – for the better.

Please remember you’re not alone.

If you’re LGBTQIA+ and are finding things tough, we have information and tips for you. And a list of places where you can get support below.

 

Two-thirds (64%) of respondents had experienced anti-LGBT+ violence or abuse in Galop’s 2021 Hate Crime report

Two in five transgender people have experienced a hate crime or incident because of their gender identity

Participants from Galop’s study indicated that they developed mental health issues such as depression and anxiety

Looking back on milestones

Over time, the mental health challenges faced by LGBTQIA+ people have been enormous. And many continue today.

Here are just some of the milestones and moments of progress, most of which are as listed on Stonewall's website.

 

World Health Organisation declassifies same-sex attraction as a mental illness.

Section 28 is repealed in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, lifting the ban on local authorities from ‘the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality’.

Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations becomes law in the UK, making it illegal to discriminate against lesbians, gay and bi people in the workplace.

The Civil Partnership Act 2004 is passed, granting civil partnership in the United Kingdom. The Act gives same-sex couples the same rights and responsibilities as married straight couples in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

The Gender Recognition Act 2004 is passed giving trans people full legal recognition in their appropriate gender. The Act allows trans people to acquire a new birth certificate, although gender options are still limited to ‘male’ or ‘female’.

The Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007 outlawed the discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities, services, education and public functions on the grounds of sexual orientation.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 recognises same-sex couples as legal parents of children conceived through the use of donated sperm, eggs or embryos. 

The Equality Act 2010 officially adds gender reassignment as a protected characteristic. 

A new offence of ‘incitement to homophobic hatred’ comes into force in the UK.

Protection of Freedoms Act is passed in the UK allowing for historic convictions for consensual sex between men to be removed from criminal records.

Explicit reference to homophobic bullying in schools is introduced into Ofsted’s inspection framework in the UK.

The Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act is passed in England and Wales.

The Government issues a posthumous pardon to gay and bi men who were convicted under sexual offences laws last century, which enabled police to criminalise people for being gay or bi.

The World Health Organisation stops categorising being transgender as a ‘mental disorder’ in its health guidelines.

A new PSHE curriculum is introduced in England, requiring that lessons include acknowledgment of LGBTQIA+ rights and protect the physical and mental wellbeing of LGBTQIA+ children.

Same sex marriage becomes legal in Northern Ireland.

The UK Government announces plans for legislation to ban 'conversion therapy’, and increase the support available to survivors.

The 2021 census asks people about their sexual orientation and gender identity for the first time.

2023

In 2023, the UK Government is proposing to ban conversion therapy for children but not for freely ‘consenting’ adults. This doesn’t go far enough.

‘Conversion therapy’ is not a therapy.

It’s harmful and it’s putting people at risk of poor mental health.

The UK Government must ban ‘conversion therapy’ for everyone.

This must include the whole LGBTQIA+ community, including those of us who are bi+, asexual, intersex, trans or non-binary.

How to find mental health support

The Mind Infoline

If you need support, feel free to contact our Infoline by phone, email or post. We can give you information on mental health support and signpost you towards help in your area.

Our Infoline is open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays.

You can talk to us about things like:

  • Mental health problems and wellbeing
  • How you can look after your mental health
  • Support services available near you
  • Treatment options, such as medication and counselling
  • Advocacy services

If it is something we can't help with, we can signpost you to services and support that can help.

You can contact our Infoline by:

Phone: 0300 123 3393 

Email: [email protected] 

Post: Mind Infoline, PO Box 75225, London, E15 9FS 

Side by Side 

Side by Side is a supportive online community. It's a place we can talk openly about our mental health and connect with others who understand what we're going through.

It’s a safe place to listen, share and be heard. The community is available 24/7, and everyone is welcome.

Find out more about Side by Side

“I absolutely love Side by Side. It has given me a place to talk to people in similar situations. Having mental health problems, I find it hard to find people like me and talk about things but online it's so easy and comforting.”

- Side by Side user

Local Minds

Our network of local Minds provides mental health information and support to local communities across England and Wales. They’re a safe place where we can talk to people who understand mental health problems and the challenges we face every day.

Some of the services your local Mind might be able to provide are:

  • Low-cost counselling
  • Peer support groups
  • Advocacy - that’s where you get support from another person to help you express your views and stand up for your rights
  • Other support services, depending on location.

Search the map on our find your local Mind page to find your local Mind.

Local Minds with services designed for LGBTQIA+ people

Rainbow Mind is a service that is specifically for members of the LGBTQ+ community who have mental health problems. The service is staffed and directed by LGBTQ+ people. The service is delivered by Mind in Salford and Mind in City, Hackney and Waltham Forest.

Outcome is a client-led LGBTQ+ service that has been run by a lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans team for 15 years. They meet every Tuesday between 10:30am and 4:00pm and usually have 35 to 40 clients in each session.

Their main aim is to provide a sanctuary for LGBTQ+ people – somewhere safe where they can be themselves, socialise free from discrimination, receive therapies to improve their mental health, learn new skills and acquire knowledge to improve their quality of life.

Bristol Mindline Trans+ is a confidential emotional, mental health support helpline for people who identify as Transgender, Agender, Gender Fluid, Non-binary. The MindLine Trans+ provides a safe place to talk about your feelings confidentially. They don’t record calls nor ask for any personal details. Their listeners will try to understand the multitude of feelings and concerns that may be going on for you. They are there to listen and offer support.

Outminds support group is run by Solihull Mind and is open to anyone who identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning their sexuality who live within the borough of Solihull. The group meets weekly in Solihull borough and is accessible from all areas of the borough. The group is friendly, supportive and understanding and aims to meet the needs of all who use the group.

Dorset Mind has a range of support groups for members of LGBTQ+ communities.

The group provides a sanctuary for the LGBTQ+ community, providing a safe space, free from discrimination, where you can share experiences, learn new skills and improve your quality of life.

How to join in with LGBT+ History Month on social media

We’ll be talking about LGBT+ history month on social media throughout February. Follow to learn more about LGBTQIA+ mental health and hear about the experiences of members of the communities.

Follow us on Instagram

Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

How you can help LGBTIQ+ communities by becoming a Mind member

Our members are at the heart of everything we do. They give a voice to the millions of us in England and Wales who live with mental health problems. Our members are pushing for change and sharing their experiences to help shape our work. We would love to recruit a more diverse range of members to better serve those of us with mental health problems. 

When you become a member we treat you to loads of benefits including:

  • our quarterly magazine
  • regular email newsletters featuring opportunities to get involved in Mind’s work
  • a chance to vote for our board of trustees
  • the opportunity to become a trustee yourself where you can help shape the issues we focus on. 

And that’s not all! There are even more exciting extras like our Book Club, giveaways, and creative competitions. 

We’re always on the lookout for new members. Everyone is welcome to join our community.

Find out more about Mind membership

References

¹Bachmann, C. and Gooch, B., 2017, LGBT in Britain - Hate Crimes and Discrimination, YouGov and Stonewall

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