Mental Health And Minority Populations

It is no huge surprise that the majority of the US population suffers form some kind of mental illness.  This ranges from minor depression and anxiety (not downplaying the seriousness of these BTW) to that of full-blown psychoses.  If you walk through your local shopping center, grocery store or bookshop, you can bet that every single person that you see either has or is connected to someone who has some form of mental illness.  Hell, if you are reading this blog and think that you do not, sorry my dear reader you are wrong.

I have not been shy about making the fact that I have a mental illness about as secret as the sky does about being blue or the sun does about being hot.  While for those of the population that are Cis, the fact of mental illness is often no more then just a small part of who they are, those of us who are in many minority populations it can become a very large focus.  It is for this reason that many of us keep it very quite.  The reason for this is because it can, and far to often is, used as a weapon against us. It is used to dismiss us as people. It is use to “explain” why we are how we are. “Oh you are trans and have a mental illness?  Oh course you do.  That is why you are trans.” “You have a mental illness and you are queer, well duh! If we just ‘fix’ you mental issues then you will be ‘normal’ again.”  “You kinky?  No shit you have mental health problems.  No one with a ‘right mind’ would be into that.  It is ok because you are ‘sick’ but you can get better!”  The fact of mental illness becomes yet another in the long list of things that can be use to “other” us.

I want to set the record here and be very clear.  These two thing, being trans, queer, kinky, etc and have a mental illness are not the same thing.  They are not mutually exclusive.  You can be one and have the other.  The fact that I am trans does not make me mentally ill.  The fact that I have a mental illness is the thing that makes me a mentally ill person.  The fact that I am trans is a whole different thing.  The fact that I am queer does not make me mentally ill.  That too is just a coincidence.

Where I see this fact that people are so quick to condemn a person who is belongs to minority populations for mental illness is having the biggest issue though it this behavior is keeping these people from seeking the help that they so desperately need.  They are afraid that the very people who they are going to for this help will condemn and attempt to “fix” them to get them to stop being trans, queer, kinky, etc. I wish that this were not the case.

The stories of parents bringing their trans and queer kids to these “professionals” to “fix” them are far to numerous to count.  These kinds of places are not helping the kids but only making them repress their feelings even deeper and causing even more mental trauma.  Many of these kids will do whatever it takes to just survive these seasons to get them over with.  It is no less then torcher.  They say and do whatever the person running the thing wants just to make it end.   After all is said and done, all that really happened was that the people being “helped” are traumatized even worse and not have a, well earned, distrust of mental health providers.  So when they are old enough, if they live that long, to seek help on their own, they will have such a fear and distrust of them the no help will be sought out.

What can be done? This thing clearly this is a thing that NEEDS to change!  I think that is has to start with the individual.  There needs to be someone that is willing to stand up and say that Here I am, I am (insert minority here) and I have a mental illness. My mental illness is not the cause of my (minority status) but just another part of whom I am. It is completely on its own and has nothing to do with my being  (insert whatever here).

That is great, now to find that person.  Looking for volunteers.  Anyone? Just raise your hand or signal however you’re able.  Anybody? Hello?  Nope ok.  So I guess I know what that means.

I knew that by living openly as a trans woman, writing this blog and just being I would be very visible. I am over 6 foot tall and weight…none of the business to be completely so lets just say enough that I take up my fair share of space.  It is hard for me to hide in plain sight.  I have seldom run for a challenge when faced with it so why should I start now? If I am the one to be one of the first then maybe others will see that it can be done and still be left standing. So here is goes.

Hello, I am Karissa. I am a queer trans woman and I have a mental illness. My mental illness is not that I am trans or that I am queer. My mental illness has nothing to do with who I am any more then my eye color, my hair color or anything like that. I would still be trans if I did not have a mental illness.  I would still be queer if I did not have a mental illness.  I am me, and many days it is a struggle to just get by because of my mental illness.  I will not allow others to say that I am who I am because of this illness because it does not define who I am!


As always thanks you all and I love you all for taking the time to read this.



pgp: she/her/hers

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