As members of the LGBTQ+ community, we know all too well the importance of having a support system. The marginalization and discrimination we face can take a toll on our mental and physical health, and it’s essential that we have a people who understand and accept us for who we are. But beyond providing emotional support, our communities can also play a critical role in improving our health outcomes.
One of the ways in which community can make a difference is by providing access to information and resources. For example, members of the Black same-gender loving community may not always know about or have access to healthcare services that cater to their unique needs. But by sharing information and resources within the community, we can help ensure that everyone has the knowledge they need to make informed decisions about their health. Additionally, community-based organizations can work to raise awareness of health issues that disproportionately affect the LGBTQ+ community and advocate for policies that promote equity and access to care.
Another way in which community can impact health outcomes is by providing social support. Social connections, like the networks of THRIVE, have been shown to improve mental and physical well-being, and this is especially important for members of the LGBTQ+ community who may experience isolation and loneliness as a result of discrimination and marginalization. Being part of a community that accepts and supports you can improve your sense of self-worth and boost your resilience to stress.
It’s important to note that building community takes time and effort. It requires commitment and investment from everyone involved. But by lifting each other up and working together, we can create a stronger, healthier community. With a supportive community, we are better equipped to address the challenges we face and work towards equity in healthcare.