Pride Month in Chicago 2024: How does being LGBTQ affect mental health?

Pride in the face of anti-LGBTQ+ hate

Pride Month in Chicago comes at a time when hundreds of anti-LGBTQ+ legislative bills are being considered across the country, and there is an uptick in anti-LGBTQ+ hate and extremism that escalates even further during Pride month. Intolerant people are intent on creating an atmosphere of tension and discrimination that puts tremendous pressure on the LGBTQ+ community from multiple angles. 

The response to that pressure, if 2024 Chicago Pride is any indication, is one of celebration and community. All around the Chicago metro area and all around the country, people are coming together this June to declare: Yes! The LGBTQ+ community belongs here!

How does being LGBTQ+ affect mental health?

Being ostracized is enormously damaging to mental health, so much so it can even be deadly. Persistent stress from worry and fear for safety and the ability to be part of a community can be traumatic. People in the LGBTQ+ community in the US are at higher risk of mental health issues and substance abuse issues, and that increased risk is directly tied to bigotry and discrimination. Alongside increased risk for mental health issues, discrimination from mental health professionals is unfortunately not yet uncommon; this barrier can make it even harder for LGBTQ+ people to access affirming mental health care that feels safe.

How does Pride Month support LGBTQ+ mental health?

Every step in the direction of acceptance for LGBTQ+ people is a step toward healing the harm done by internalized shame and rejection from both society and loved ones. Pride is a time and a place to stand up and declare you know who you are and that you love yourself as you are. This boost to self-esteem can reduce the symptoms of mental illness, helping undo some of the damage caused by intolerance.

Pride Month in Chicago is also a time that shows people who can’t safely declare their personal pride in their LGBTQ+ identity that they are not alone and that voices are lifting up to support them and defend their rights. Pride is a space set aside for celebration and defiant solidarity in the face of hate. 

Pride month in Chicago creates a haven for authenticity

Chicago is making 2024 a celebratory year for Pride, with events throughout the month. In a time when it can feel unsafe to be authentic, Chicago is showing up and showing out for the LGBTQ+ community and its allies, offering city-wide celebrations on top of local pride events. This larger-than-life, multi-week calendar of events is a declaration, loud and proud, that the people of Chicago know LGBTQ+ people are part of what makes Chicago great.

2024 Pride Month in Chicago Events:

  • Local Pride Events are scheduled throughout the month, with Pride kickoffs from the Lesbian Social Club, Chicago Gay Black Men’s Caucus, the Queer Fam Pride Jam, and so many more. 
  • The Shedd Aquarium, the Chicago Fire, the White Sox, and the Chicago Cubs are all having events to celebrate Pride, showing recognition of the LGBTQ+ community as part of the heartbeat of Chicago.
  • Chicago Pride Fest, June 22-23: Chicago Pride Fest is a place to celebrate being out and proud, with three stages, drag performances throughout both days, and special performances by JoJo Siwa, Natasha Bedingfield, the Chicago Gay Men's Chorus, Bob the Drag Queen, Sapphira Crystal, Kaleena Zanders, Amber Riley, and many more.
  • 2024 Chicago Pride Parade, June 30th: A 50-year tradition that proves support for the LGBTQ+ community will persist regardless of challenges, this year’s pride parade has Grand Marshals Fortune Feimster and Jax Smith, Art Johnston and Jose "Pepe" Pena, and Myles and Precious Brandy-Davis. These Grand Marshals are all ready to lead the thriving LGBTQ+ community of Chicago in a vibrant celebration of what it means to be proud.

Why is Pride such a powerful message of representation?

We hear the phrase “representation matters” a lot, but we don’t always get a full breakdown of why representation matters. Representation offers a glimpse of what's possible, particularly when it comes to joy and self-acceptance. It proves that people who have been "othered" by society are, in fact whole human beings with full lives and a right to be treated with human dignity.

When LGBTQ+ people are represented in media and in their community, such as during Pride month, people recognize that their neighbors and friends are part of that "othered" group, people they care about and respect. This breaks down barriers to understanding and acceptance, making space in society and in smaller communities, friend groups, and families for LGBTQ+ people to be themselves and be loved for it.

June Clinician Highlight: Wesley Walker

Are you looking to take the next step in your journey of self-acceptance? As a member of the LGBTQ+ community himself, Wesley “Wes” Walker knows how important it is to create a safe therapeutic space that is genuinely affirming and accepting. If you’re struggling with trauma, anxiety, and/or LGBTQ+ specific issues, Wes is ready to help you embrace your strengths and leave behind thoughts and behavior patterns that are no longer serving you.

Pure Health takes pride in being a safe space in Chicago

Pure Health Center is proud of our mission to create community and belonging for all. Wes and our other therapists are here for you, ready to support LGBTQ+ mental health. Our therapists do the groundwork to make sure they have the knowledge needed to understand your lived experiences so your therapy journey can start with understanding and acceptance from the very beginning.  Connect with us today to see how therapy offers a more fulfilling life with long-lasting well-being. 

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