June is Pride Month in the United States. It’s a time when many LGBTQIA+ community members gather to celebrate their experiences, support one another, and advocate for equal rights and opportunities. Over the past two decades, much progress has been made in promoting LGBTQIA+ rights and acceptance. However, LGBTQIA+ people continue to cope with stigma and discrimination.
Many experience social isolation, harassment, and violence. Recent anti-LGBTQIA+ laws in some states increase the barriers that these community members face.
“This stigmatized and discriminated-against status often leads to minority stress for LGBTQ+ people,” Pamela Lannutti, PhD, told Healthline. Lannutti is a professor and the director of the Center for Human Sexuality Studies at Widener University in Chester, Pennsylvania.
“Minority stress is chronic psychological stress experienced because a person is a part of a stigmatized group,” she said. “Research has shown that it negatively affects personal and relational health and well-being.”
Finding safe spaces where LGBTQIA+ people are not only accepted but also celebrated is important for members of this community. For LGBTQIA+ community members who face discrimination and social isolation, Pride events offer important opportunities for connection, support, and belonging.
This may bring mental health benefits. For example, a 2019 study found that LGBTQ people who reported more connectedness to the LGBTQ community were less likely to report suicidal behavior.
“Pride events help connect members of the LGBTQ+ population to others and to support within the community. They give members of the LGBTQ+ community an opportunity to participate in an event where they are totally included and accepted,” said Fagundo.
Read more at Healthline.com.