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June is Pride month worldwide for individuals who identify as LGBTQ+. In recognition of the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York City on June 28, 1969, it is a time to celebrate the resiliency of the community, reflect on the progress we have seen in acceptance, and continue to advocate for increased rights and legal protection. Although the public’s acceptance of individuals who identify as LGBTQ+ has steadily increased over the last two decades (Garvey et al., 2017; Pew Research Center, 2019), the LGBTQ+ community is still at increased risk of experiencing trauma across their lifespan (Friedman et al., 2011; Roberts et al., 2010). Furthermore, this risk is particularly high among LGBTQ+ people of color (Dunbar, 2006), those who identify as bisexual (Walters et al., 2013) and the transgender population (Shipherd et al., 2011). In addition to traumatic stressors, the LGBTQ+ community faces minority stress through daily discrimination and harassment (Meyer, 2003), which research has suggested predicts mental health outcomes above and beyond the impact of trauma (Dworkin et al., 2018). These high rates of traumatic events and minority stress are thought to contribute to the mental and physical health disparities seen within the LGBTQ+ community (Eaton, 2014; Frost et al., 2015).
Pride month serves an important purpose for this community. Many LGBTQ+ people perceive that pride events increase the visibility of their identities to the general population and therefore make society more accepting (McFarland, 2012; Pew Research Center, 2013). These events also create a sense of community and belonging (McFarland, 2012), which research has linked to more positive mental health outcomes (Davidson et al., 2017; Heck et al., 2011). Unfortunately, in 2020, pride events worldwide are cancelled because of COVID-19. This is concerning when considered in light of the challenges that LGBTQ+ individuals are experiencing during the global pandemic. For example, as colleges and universities closed their campuses around the world, many LGBTQ+ college students returned to home environments that are not LGBTQ+ affirming and lost the social support they received on campus (Neighmond, 2020). As unemployment rates skyrocket and many individuals are struggling financially, LGBTQ+ people previously had higher rates of unemployment and poverty, and therefore are being disproportionately negatively affected by COVID-19 in terms of financial and employment security (Human Rights Campaign, 2020). Additionally, LGBTQ+ people previously reported greater difficulties with affording and accessing adequate medical care, which has only been worsened by COVID-19 (Human Rights Campaign, 2020). The mental health field needs to recognize that the social, physical, financial and psychological impact of COVID-19 will likely be exacerbated within the LGBTQ+ community. 
During Pride month this year, professionals within the mental health field should consider ways to support the LGBTQ+ community virtually during this trying time. For those with the expertise and means to do so, consider facilitating a virtual support group during June (and beyond) for LGBTQ+ clients. Clinicians may also consider reviewing their practice intake paperwork and policies to identify ways in which they can be revised to be more LGBTQ+ inclusive. Researchers can contribute by including LGBTQ+ individuals in their samples as they investigate the mental health impacts of COVID-19 or by developing research questions specifically addressing how COVID-19 has affected the community. No matter our role within the mental health field, we can all contribute by reaching out (virtually) to our LGBTQ+ loved ones and community during Pride and letting them know they are seen and supported. Go forth with Pride!


Davidson, K., McLaren, S., Jenkins, M., Corboy, D., Gibbs, P. M., & Molloy, M. (2017). Internalized homonegativity, sense of belonging, and depressive symptoms among Australian gay men. Journal of Homosexuality, 64, 450–465. doi:10.1080/00918369.2016.1190215

Dunbar, E. (2006). Race, gender, and sexual orientation in hate crime victimization: Identity politics or identity risk? Violence & Victims, 21, 323-337. doi: 10.1891/088667006780644604

Dworkin, E. R., Gilmore, A. K., Bedard-Gilligan, M., Lehavot, K., Guttmannova, K., & Daysen, D. (2018). Predicting PTSD severity from experiences of trauma and heterosexism in lesbian and bisexual women: A longitudinal study of cognitive mediators. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 65, 324-333. doi: 10.1037/cou0000287

Eaton, N. R. (2014). Transdiagnostic psychopathology factors and sexual minority mental health: Evidence of disparities and associations with minority stress. Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, 1, 244-254. doi: 10.1037/sgd0000048

Friedman, M. S., Marshal, M. P., Guadamuz, T. E., Wei, C., Wong, C. F., Saewyc, E. M., & Stall, R. (2011). A meta-analysis of disparities in childhood sexual abuse, parental physical abuse, and peer victimization among sexual minority and sexual nonminority individuals. American Journal of Public Health, 101, 1481-1494. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2009.190009

Frost, D. M., Lehavot, K., & Meyer, I. H. (2015). Minority stress and physical health among sexual minority individuals. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 38, 1-8. doi: 10.1007/s10865-013-9523-8

Garvey, J. C., Sanders, L. A., & Flint, M. A. (2017). Generational perceptions of campus climate among LGBTQ undergraduates. Journal of College Student Development58(6), 795-817. doi: 10.1353/csd.2017.0065

Heck, N. C., Flentje, A., & Cochran, B. N. (2011). Offsetting risks: High school gay-straight alliance and lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Youth. School Psychology Quarterly, 26, 161-174. doi: 10.1037/a0023226

Human Rights Campaign (2020). The lives & livelihoods of many in the LGBTQ community are at risk amidst COVID-19 crisis. Retrieved from https://assets2.hrc.org/files/assets/resources/COVID19-IssueBrief-032020-FINAL.pdf

McFarland, K. (2012). Cultural contestation and community building at LGBT pride parades. [unpublished doctoral dissertation]. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Meyer, I. H. (2003). Prejudice, social stress, and mental health in lesbian, gay, and bisexual populations: Conceptual issues and research evidence. Psychological Bulletin, 129, 674-697. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.129.5.674

Neighmond, P. (2020). Home but not safe, some LGBTQ+ young people face rejection from families in lockdown.
Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/05/17/856090474/home-but-not-safe-some-lgbtq-young-people-face-rejection-from-families-in-lockdo

Pew Research Center (2013). How important are pride events to the LGBTQ community. Retrieved from https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/06/28/how-important-are-pride-events-to-the-lgbt-community/

Pew Research Center (2019). Attitudes on Same-sex marriage. Retrieved from https://www.pewforum.org/fact-sheet/changing-attitudes-on-gay-marriage/

Roberts, A. L., Austin, S. B., Corliss, H. L, Vandermorris, A. K., & Koenen, K. C. (2010). Pervasive trauma exposure among US sexual orientation minority adults and risk of posttraumatic stress disorder. American Journal of Public Health, 100, 2433-2441. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2009.168971

Shipherd, J. C., Maguen, S., Skidmore, W. C., & Abramovitz, S. M. (2011). Potentially traumatic events in a transgender sample: Frequency and associated symptoms. Traumatology, 17, 56-67. doi: 10.1177/1534765610395614

Walters, M. L., Chen, J., & Breiding, M. J. (2013). The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2010 Findings on Victimization by Sexual Orientation. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.