Staying well and keeping connected during the pandemic as an LGBTQ+ student
4 minute read
Chloeis an Education Programmes Officer at Stonewall. She identifies as queer.
Find out how the pandemic has affected LGBTQ+ students, and their tips for staying connected with their communities.
Over the last year, as we’ve lived through the coronavirus pandemic, the ways that we stay connected to each other has shifted dramatically.
For those of us who are LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bi, trans, queer or questioning, ace and other sexual and gender minority identities), it can be harder to connect with our communities, and that can leave us feeling isolated or lonely.
We got in touch with LGBTQ+ students from across the country to find out about the creative ways that they’ve stayed connected throughout the pandemic.
Loneliness and mental wellbeing
Being LGBTQ+ is something to be proud of. Finding friends, family and communities who embrace us for who we are can be life-changing and can help us know that there is beauty in being yourself.
But we know that LGBTQ+ people face specific challenges, and that many LGBTQ+ people today are still held back because of who we are. For those in our communities who face multiple and overlapping forms of discrimination, these challenges are particularly difficult. For many of us, finding a community of people like yourself can make all the difference!
Positive changes in LGBTQ+ communities
We reached out to LGBTQ+ students who have experienced mental health challenges at two universities to find out about their experiences of staying in touch with LGBTQ+ communities over the pandemic.
Those we heard from found that online communities have become more supportive over lockdown. From more positive and active discussions about pronouns, to greater support for Black LGBTQ+ communities, people have been showing solidarity and pushing for equality together.
4 ways to keep connected to your communities
While lockdown has made it even more difficult to keep in touch with friends and community networks, the students we spoke to shared many creative ways that LGBTQ+ communities have kept each other going. Read about the 4 ways they kept connected below and make a note of those you’d like to try!
1. Engage with LGBTQ+ communities online
Whether it’s joining your LGBTQ+ student society, contacting a local youth group, going to LGBTQ+ workshops and events, or interacting with LGBTQ+ content creators, here's what some students said about their experiences with online communities:
2. Plan in time with friends
It can be stressful to return home to live with family who aren’t accepting or aware of your identity. Many of the students that we spoke to said that spending time with friends and loved ones - who embrace your identity - is a really important form of self-care:
3. Get some fresh air or exercise
Between studying and social distancing, it can be easy to stay inside for long periods of time. Some of the students we heard from really valued taking regular breaks with friends and switching up their environments:
With fewer activities available, routines can quickly become repetitive or boring. Here are a couple of ‘outside of the box’ ideas the LGBTQ+ students shared to try out either by yourself or with friends:
Ways to find community
We know that it’s not always easy to find like-minded people, particularly during a global pandemic. So, if you feel like you’ve struggled with your mental health or felt more isolated during the pandemic, remember that you’re not alone.