People who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community are at a greater risk of anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues due to the discrimination, harassment, rejection, and judgment they may experience in society. And while there’s much to do about creating the type of change we need to see, one of the most important ways to advocate for LGBTQ+ mental health is to get educated and understand more about it.
Here is a must-read list of essential books to help you get informed and provide a new perspective about the community you may not have had before.
LGBTQ: The Survival Guide for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Teens by Kelly Huegel Madrone
This all-encompassing resource guide is one of those books that should be in every mental health center, library, and school to assist LGBTQ+ teens seeking to understand their bodies and autonomy. It covers cultural and political history, understanding human rights, and the exploration of gender and sexuality as an individual experience. For teenagers moving through these stages, parents who want to support their children, and educators who are passionate about creating a safe space for their students, Madrone’s book is an essential tool to help make that possible.
It is a great comfort for young people to know there is a volume that gives them a starting point for all the elements of the queer identity they may want to dive into safely.
Seasonal Velocities by Ryka Aoki
This collection provides readers with introspective short stories, essays, and poetry about their queer experiences. It gives an honest view of the challenges of living in a world that does not embrace diversity. It is a testament to survival and gives a voice to those who experience injustice in the LGBTQ+ community.
Despite the abuse the author endured as a transgender Japanese-American, their words break our hearts and give us hope for a better tomorrow for gender nonconformists. Through their stories and experiences, we learn the more we gain awareness, the more we can impact change.
More Than Organs by Kay Ulanay Barrett
It’s no surprise that this book is a Stonewall Honor Book and a Lambda Literary Award finalist for Transgender Poetry. It is a creatively crucial guide to navigating uncharted territory where you don’t feel seen, giving yourself permission to unravel and feel your emotions, and to stay alive knowing you are more than just your organs. The collection shed’s light on a marginalized person’s experience and sets a vulnerable tone that establishes community with its readers.
“Everyone’s journey is different, but as humans, we connect to each other because we all go through challenges of grief, rage, reminiscence, and insecurity. Barrett’s perspective reels that concept all into one book, especially for those who don’t feel accepted,” says John Gardner, Co-Founder & CEO of Kickoff.
Life Isn’t Binary: On Being Both, Beyond, and In-Between by Alex Iantaffi and Meg-John Barker
Even though it’s easy to think that labels and binaries make life easier, there are a lot of constraints they put on people who don’t fit into the standards put out by those who do not understand their experience. Combining queer theory and Buddhist mindfulness principles, this book uses accessible language and real experiences to help you reflect on a world that is beyond gender and sexuality. It helps you see that when you take those things out of the equation, you can see the essential commonalities in us all.
It makes you question how we are conditioned to view the world and people around us, helping you see how a binary world limits us to only two ways of being and how that harms those in-between the two. Those people matter and this book helps them be seen.
Headcase: LGBTQ Writers & Artists on Mental Health by Stephanie Schroeder
History continues to repeat itself, and the systemic history of our two-gendered society has a heavy influence on the mental health of queer and trans people. This book focuses on the clinical and psychological viewpoints that prove these patterns. It calls out the flaws in the system over time through creative arts and literary pieces and compels you to see where help fails to come for the diverse groups of LGBTQ+ people.
Brett Larkin of Uplifted Yoga said, “Sometimes, to best understand something, you need to go to the source. This book is written by members of the community itself, putting lived experiences at the forefront. That combined with the amount of education it provides was so insightful.”
Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? By Dr. Julie Smith
You will ask yourself the question in this book’s title many times while reading it, and that’s a great thing. It’s a practical guide for understanding mental health issues, paying close attention to the LGBTQ+ audience to help them understand how to cope with depression, anxiety, and judgment, along with learning how to make strides in the journey to self-acceptance.
The way it’s broken down is digestible and easy to grasp with actionable tools to better understand emotional behaviors and healthily take control of them. It shows that nurturing your mental well-being will help you live a more authentic life where you can combat life’s challenges.
The New Queer Conscience by Adam Eli
This book’s strength is its activism and its calling for queer people to take responsibility for one another in the way they advocate for the community in unison. It establishes a foundation for LGBTQ+ people to bring unity to each other, band together, and help one another move through society with a new mindset. To achieve mental well-being, you need community support and advocacy, and this book strives to show queer readers how they can help make that happen.
“The book promotes kindness and support, and the main message is that there is strength in numbers. What impacts one impacts all.” Chelsea Cohen, Co-Founder of SoStocked.
It’s okay to feel unsure about how to open yourself up to the resources and tools available about LGBTQ+ mental health, but taking steps to gain more knowledge and be involved in advancing mental health support for all is what matters most. Reading books by experts and those who are living through the experiences is a powerful way to start.
About the Author: Erika Rykun is a book nerd and editor at Booklyst. When she’s not busy reading books, she writes about them. Looking forward to hearing from you soon.
rtor.org and Our Sponsor Laurel House, Inc. Celebrate Pride in June
On June 28, 1969, New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay nightclub in Greenwich Village, sparking a riot and six days of protests. This incident, known as the Stonewall Uprising, marks a turning point in the gay rights movement, now celebrated as Pride Month in June.
This Pride Month, www.rtor.org and Laurel House affirm their commitment to supporting members of the LGBTQ+ community in their quest for equity and justice, especially in their fight for accessible, safe health and mental health care.
www.rtor.org and Laurel House are committed to the advancement of racial equity and social justice, and to making mental health services available to all.
The opinions and views expressed in any guest blog post do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in the article or linked to therein. Guest Authors may have affiliations to products mentioned or linked to in their author bios.
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