50 years ago, this month the LGBTQ community said “enough.” The 3 days of rioting that followed at the Stonewall Inn still reverberate today.
Much has changed in the intervening years. Psychiatry no longer classifies being LGBTQ as a mental disorder. So-called ‘sodomy laws’ have been declared unconstitutional in the US and marriage for same-sex couples are available in all US states and many countries around the world. Soldiers proudly flood social media with photos of themselves kissing their same-sex partners. The US has a viable and out proud presidential candidate, while two European countries have openly gay men serving as prime ministers.
Much has stayed the same. Many countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia still practice brutal oppression of people for who they love. The current US administration has banned transgender troops & embarrassingly bigoted ‘bathroom’ bills were the controversy du jour not very long ago.
And substance abuse/addiction still plague the LGBTQ community in higher than average proportions as do mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Fueled by constant exposure to alcohol in the bars and taverns that remain as the chief source of socialization and ready access to methamphetamine and others drugs that are ubiquitous at circuit parties and in the gyms favored by gay men. These substances slowly robbing the souls of those who become trapped by a spiral pride never intended to create.
Depression and anxiety, sometimes created by substances, sometimes by family and religious rejection and sometimes by the drive to be physically ‘perfect’ take their toll too on the mind and spirit. These problems robbing vitality and joy from those who are viewed, if sometimes grudgingly, as the most creative and carefree of peoples.
But here to change for the better is on the horizon. 12 step and other recovery support groups dedicated to the LGBTQ community are found in towns and cities of any size throughout America. As both LGBTQ persons and straight allies age into positions power and professional responsibility, outreach for healing and recovery grows every day. Exult Healthcare is part of that effort… and in that we most definitely take pride.
Written by – Michael O’Neal – Clinical Director of Substance Abuse Services