Lockdown is currently affecting one third of the global population. While this presents challenges for everyone, the young LGBTQ+ community is facing specific problems. Many young people have been forced into lockdown with homophobic relatives or with family to whom they have not yet come out. If you’re navigating tensions at home under lockdown, it’s important to try to make life as comfortable for yourself as possible, finding ways to exist peacefully at home without losing touch with your community and culture.
Stay In Touch With Your Community
If you’re enduring lockdown with an unsupportive family, you’re likely to be confined to your room much of the time. Social interaction is important, though, particularly if you’re in a hostile environment. Look for ways you can bring your friends into your room virtually. There are a number of apps you can use to have face time with your friends, including Zoom, WhatsApp and Skype. Most platforms allow multiple users, so you can arrange virtual drinks, pub quizzes and parties. Try to talk through your difficulties with supportive friends too: a 1988 study showed that sharing negative emotions with people we trust can reduce stress and emotional distress. If you’re going through a difficult time, talking about it with those who love you will help you manage your feelings and make it through this tough period.
LGBTQ+ Culture From Your Bedroom
As well as meeting up with your friends, look out for gigs and arts events. A large number of artists who are unable to perform to live audiences in person have found ways to share their work with their community. Look on social media sites to see what your favorite performers are offering.
There are also larger scale events and festivals happening. ‘Them,’ Condé Nast’s LGBTQ+ brand has launched an ongoing music and arts festival for the virtual world. ‘Themfest’ aims to “support, amplify, and uplift the LGBTQ+ community” during this difficult time, and features a range of virtual events. Looking into ways to enjoy cultural events during lockdown can be particularly helpful if you’re not out to your family or are unable to express yourself at home: it’s a way to bring a little piece of normal into your life.
Turn Dead Time Into Productive Time
Try to find ways to turn lockdown to your advantage too. It won’t make your living conditions easier, but if you can say you’ve achieved something at the end of it, it will make the situation more bearable. Having a well-written resume, for example, is such an important part of your professional life, but many of us find little time to keep one updated under normal circumstances. 82% of employers want to see evidence of your communication skills on your CV: use this time to craft a resume that truly reflects your skills and experiences, making life easier for you next time you apply for a new position.
You can also use the time to learn new skills or start all those projects you’ve had on the back burner. Whether it’s learning a new language, learning a craft or starting a podcast, now is the perfect opportunity to devote some time to something productive. Not only will you have something concrete to take out of the situation, but it will occupy your time and distract you from difficulties at home too.
Life under lockdown is extremely challenging for many people, but for those trapped with people who don’t understand or accept them, it can be even worse. Find ways to bring your support networks into your home, albeit virtually, and stay in touch with your culture as far as possible. This will be over eventually, and you will get through it.
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