Rejection Over Being Queer and Depression
Thursday, March 5 2015 Vanessa Celis
No one likes to be rejected. Unfortunately, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) people experience a lot of rejection and oppression that lead to depression and other mental illnesses. As a pansexual, I have experienced my fair share of biphobia and homophobia in the past. While it certainly isn’t easy or fun to talk about, raising awareness is the only way of abolishing discrimination towards the LGBTQ community and reduce the rejection queer people face and their depressions.
Parental Rejection Can Worsen Worsen Depression in Queer People
The first time my parents suspected that I was bisexual, they were not supportive. When I was 16, my mother read my journal and circled the word bisexual and confronted me about it with my father. I felt so betrayed and hurt. They tried telling me that I was going to suffer if I lived out my life as a bisexual. Their words stung and I couldn’t stop crying. I felt so rejected for being queer and disappointed. If my parents didn’t approve of me, who was going to accept me? Their rejection certainly didn’t help my depression and anxiety. It only worsened my low self-esteem and self-worth. I thought that there was something wrong with me, so I hid my sexuality for a long time from everyone.
Discrimination and Rejection Fuels Depression in Queer Individuals
Unfortunately, hiding my sexuality also hurt my partner. It didn’t help that her stepfather was extremely homophobic. I’ll never forget staying at her place for a few days and hearing him say that he was going to have a priest over to bless the house because of us. His words stung and turned me numb. They hurt my ex-girlfriend so much, she started crying and had to get away from the house to calm down. It felt like the world wasn’t okay with my relationship. At the time, I thought I was a lesbian and it felt like I was letting the world win, convincing me that my happiness and love were wrong.
Rejecting Sexual Identity Only Worsens Depression for Queer People
Looking back, it’s no wonder that I used alcohol and cutting as coping mechanisms for my depression and anxiety. I felt so rejected and lost, especially with my sexuality. I felt like I had no one to turn to. I felt like a freak. Between my personal experiences and the messages that society gives out, I felt conflicted. If I had experienced more support and belonging, I’m fairly certain that I wouldn’t have experienced such severe rejection that led to my worsening depression and anxiety.
Self-Acceptance Is Key for Recovery with Depression for Queer People
Now that I’m older, I know that there is nothing wrong with my being queer. It has taken me a long time to accept my pansexuality, but in doing so, I have seen an improvement with my depression and anxiety. I’m still coming out to people and every time I do, it’s like coming out all over again. If anything, those hurtful experiences helped me become a stronger, more compassionate person. Being rejected over being queer doesn't have to cause me depression.