Even during the pandemic and lockdowns, there are places to go for help
If you’re dealing with a difficult family situation, or know someone who is, here’s a handy guide to help you through.
The pandemic – especially its lockdowns – has forced many LGBTQ+ young people to move back to their family home, and returning to difficult family situations can be really tough.
Why is it difficult to be LGBTQ+ in an unsupportive home?
Young people in these situations may have to deal with difficult differences of opinions. You may face abuse including taunts, mockery, aggression or even silence. This can all increase loneliness and stress, potentially triggering mental health issues.
On the more extreme end, family members might refuse basic needs, like food, heat and shelter, or, they might be physically abusive. None of this okay. Any kind of harm, discomfort or abuse is unacceptable. You shouldn’t have to deal with it, and it’s not your fault.
If this is you, you’re not alone. Here are our top recommendations for where you can access support as an LGBTQ+ young person living in a difficult family home.
Where can I go for support?
Whether there’s a lockdown happening or not, you can always access support, and there are many brilliant LGBTQ+ counselling services and chatlines available. Some of them are text services, so you don’t need to worry about having the privacy to be open.
- Switchboard has a dedicated LGBTQ+ helpline, led by LGBTQ+ people, running daily from 10am-11pm. The service includes a text option too.
- The LGBT Foundation offers up to eight weekly sessions with a qualified counsellor online.
- Through Pink Therapy you can find a counsellor whose sexuality and identity matches your own.
- Galop’s LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Survivors Forum is a safe, anonymous space for people who have been affected by domestic abuse and violence. You can read the forum discussions without joining. If you want to, you can also join in the discussion, and connect with others.
- SHOUT is a free, anonymous text support service. Text 85258 when you’re struggling to cope.
And if the situation worsens, AKT provides LGBTQ+ homeless people with emergency support. Housing, food, phone top-ups and support from a mentor is available.
How do I support a friend or family member?
If you know someone who’s stuck in an uncomfortable or unsafe home environment, there are lots of things you can do to help.
Direct them to the helplines and services above, as well as offering them a listening ear, even via text or email. Depending on current restrictions, you could organise a distanced meet-up to give them time away from home.
Encourage them to speak to a professional or helpline about what they’re going through. Remind them that as awful as it is, this is not their fault and they won’t be in this setting forever.
Have a listen to these young trans people’s experiences of the pandemic, some of whom have found themselves back in tricky family situations too…
Discover Fumble’s pandemic support series
The pandemic has had a huge impact on all of our lives, and we’ve all struggled to understand and digest the changes that continue to happen all around us.
Last reviewed: 25 January 2021 | Image Credit: Doğukan Şahin via Upsplash