The #ConnectedWhileIsolated Campaign is designed to offer tips and support to LGBTQ+ young people during the Coronavirus pandemic. The initial plan was to outline ways to stay engaged with the LGBTQ+ community while in isolation; something that I hoped would be valuable to LGBTQ+ young people even after the lockdown is over.
Feeling isolated is one of the most common problems faced by LGBTQ+ young people; when you don’t know any other LGBTQ+ people in a hetero and cis-centred world, it can make you feel like no one else is having your experiences. This can not only make you feel really alone, but it also means that you don’t get any external validation. And when we don’t hear and see that our identities are valid and valued, we are at risk of feeling ashamed of who we are.
The LGBT Foundation has reported a significant increase in calls from LGBTQ+ young people during the UK lockdown. These young people, stuck at home with families who either don’t know about or don’t accept their LGBTQ+ identities (or worse, actively abuse them because of their LGBTQ+ identities), are experiencing some of the most severe consequences of isolation to their emotional health and wellbeing. If this sounds like something you’re going through, please don’t hesitate to get help! 42nd Street offers an incredible online support service, which you can find here, or you can reach out to the LGBT Foundation here.
Having our identities and experiences validated and affirmed is harder to get for everyone right now. So for this second round of #ConnectedWhileIsolated, the focus isn’t just going to be on engaging with the LGBTQ+ community but is also going to be about connecting on a more personal level. It’s going to be about connecting inwardly and engaging with your own emotional health and wellbeing as an LGBTQ+ person. It’s going to be about connecting more meaningfully with any other LGBTQ+ people you might know. It’s going to be about affirmation and validation, and creating space where we can be physically distanced from one another while still feeling emotionally close.
This week is Lesbian Visibility Week, and Friday is International Day of Silence. We want to make you feel visible and feel heard! If following our regular #ConnectedWhileIsolated tips isn’t enough, why not share what you have to say! Join our Q42 Producers and create content for our website, social media, blog, podcast and YouTube! Share in a space where your voice matters and be a voice in your community today!
Otherwise, know that you are not alone. That you are valid. That you are valued. And that you matter. The staff at 42nd Street and Q42 are here to support you, and we will do everything we can to get through this lockdown together.