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Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > Issue 271 > Queens & The Cuts!

Queens & The Cuts!

One year on from a general election, which resulted in the first Tory majority for two decades, we look at how Conservative austerity policies are changing the country. From mental health to HIV-service funding, LGBT people hold the government to account

A YEAR UNDER TORY RULE

MENTAL HEALTH

Cal Strode, 25, senior media officer, Mental Health Foundation

PHOTOGRAPHY: FRANCISCO GOMEZ DE VILLABOA

As a community, we have higher rates of anxiety, depression, substanceuse disorders and suicidal behaviour than heterosexuals.

For example, evidence indicates that gay men are more than twice as likely as heterosexual men to try to kill themselves. Mental health problems experienced by LGBT people have been linked to experiences of discrimination, homophobia and bullying.

Internalised homophobia is also likely to play into our increased risk and some would say helps us to understand why we have a higher propensity towards self-destructive behaviour and substance-use problems. There are elements of childhood shame that we find ourselves grappling with many years after we come out, particularly if we were made to feel almost invisible at school.

Young LGBT people are also more likely to experience poor sexual and mental health compared with their non-LGBT peers, but sex and relationships education (SRE) is not currently required to include information on samesex relationships or gender-variance. As highlighted by the National Aids Trust’s #WeExist campaign, the government needs to commit to compulsory, inclusive SRE for all young people. LGBT students exist; it’s not good enough to ignore them.

Mental health is now firmly on the national agenda.

We’ve seen a rare outbreak of political consensus, it’s time to see promises translated into action through meaningful policies and funding. We know what works. We need to see more focus and funding going into prevention and early intervention services.

We need a more consistent approach — the only thing consistent in our approach has been chronic short-sightedness.

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About Attitude

On the cover this month are American trans model Laith Ashley and the British Athletic Commission’s first LGB Ambassador Matt Lister. In our special report, one year into the current Government we look at how its actions are affecting you. Elsewhere, we interview the director and stars of Holding The Man, the powerful new Australian gay film that everyone should see. Plus, exclusive UK gay press interviews with Ariana Grande and Fifth Harmony, Broadway legend Bernadette Peters, and director Andrew Steggall talks about his very personal coming of age film Departure.
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