Wellness Tips

5 ways to cope with anti-LGBTQ+ legislation | Health & Wellness Services

1. Set boundaries online

As more states propose anti-LGBTQ+ policies, it can be tempting to give in to endless scrolling on social media or news sites. However, checking every notification and reading every headline can have a negative effect on your mental health. 

Here are some tips to help you set healthy boundaries around news and updates:

  • Set a time limit: Allow yourself to take breaks from social media, news outlets and bad news in general. This will allow you to take a breath and focus your energy on other activities and hobbies that can serve as self-care.
  • Choose how you engage: Reading or engaging in the comment section of certain posts can be a recipe for harm. Set boundaries around how you interact with others online, especially those who have opposing views. You may consider discussing politics offline with friends and family, giving yourself permission to not engage with harmful comments or avoiding the comment section of posts altogether.
  • Mute or unfollow: We all know people with strong opinions who love to post on social media. Whether it’s a coworker, friend or family member, it’s important to remember that you have control over what appears in your feeds. If your social platforms feel hostile or are negatively impacting your mental health, consider muting or unfollowing certain accounts.

2. Lean into community

During hard times, it’s important to surround yourself with people who see, love and respect you. Leaning into welcoming communities can be a good reminder that you’re not alone and that other people care about you and your experiences.

Keep in mind that you may need to look outside of your direct family or friend group to truly find a community that feels safe and supportive, especially if you live in a state or community that has been vocal against LGBTQ+ rights.

If you’re in Boulder, consider visiting the Pride Office. They offer a variety of services for LGBTQ+ students, staff, faculty and allies, including social events, workshops, training opportunities, scholarships, resources and more. 

If you’re currently living outside of Boulder, consider joining an advocacy group in your area. Nonprofits and other special interest groups are working hard across the United States to help protect LGBTQ+ rights. They can also offer a space for LGBTQ+ community members to volunteer, safely engage in politics, build community and connect with resources. 

3. Prioritize safety

Nobody should have to anticipate harassment, discrimination or violence when they are out in public. However, it’s important to be mindful of potentially harmful situations, especially if you are living in an area that has been vocal against LGBTQ+ rights.

Here are some ways to prioritize your safety:

  • Opt for group outings: Going out with a group can help ease some of the anxiety you may feel when going out alone. Surrounding yourself with familiar, friendly energy can also make an overwhelming space feel less daunting. This strategy can help in everyday situations as well as large festivals and parades like Pride.
  • Stay aware of your surroundings: Whether you’re attending a Pride event or simply going about your day, be aware of your surroundings. If you sense the atmosphere has changed or becomes tense, it’s important to have an exit strategy when it’s time to hit the road.
  • Trust your instincts: If you feel unsafe or uncomfortable, trust your instincts. If you’re out with friends, let them know that you need their help or want to leave. It can be helpful to come up with a game plan before you go out. For instance, you may ask your friends to practice bystander techniques, discuss a safety plan or help figure out the best way to get out of an uncomfortable situation or confrontation.
  • Call for help: If you see someone being hassled, help them or call for assistance. This may include enlisting people around you to help or calling emergency services if things get out of hand. 

4. Channel your voice

Elected officials are in a position to improve – or harm – the lives of LGBTQ+ people and their families across the country. That’s why it’s so important to register to vote and make it to the polls, especially in state-specific mid-term and run-off elections. 

While the federal government plays an important role in nation-wide legislation, it’s important to remember that states can also exercise their own power to propose laws and policies. Take some time to research all of the candidates on the ballot. This should include city and county politicians, House and Senate candidates, judicial representatives and presidential nominees.

You can also take steps to reach out to your current representatives to encourage them to take a stance and protect LGBTQ+ rights. All state representatives allow for phone calls and mail-in feedback from their constituents. It’s important to take advantage of these opportunities to engage them on the topics that matter most to you. Another way to engage in local and state politics is to attend hearings related to different topics, including LGBTQ+ rights. These platforms allow community members to share their experiences and advocate for policy measures directly.

5. Seek support

If you are struggling to cope with the current climate in the U.S., remember that you’re not alone. Take some time to reach out to your loved ones. You can also seek support from mental health professionals. Counselors can provide much-needed support and comfort during difficult times.  

Here are some resources to take advantage of:

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