Seventy-three percent* of LGBTIQ people report having ever been diagnosed with a mental health condition at some point during their lives…
We lie under the covers, trapped under black clouds. We avoid buses, strangers, and crowds. We wake in the dark, full of memories that haunt us. We’re terrorised by kilojoules. Carbs taunt us. We’re scared of wide spaces, small spaces, doorhandles. We are the addicts, the smokers, the vandals. We fly high, crash low, see things that aren’t there. We shrug our stiff shoulders and tug at our hair. We freeze and we flee, withdrawing from sight. We sob into pillows, keep drinking all night.
We text our posse to check they’re ok. We stroke messy hair and promise we’ll stay. We drive housemates to interviews, partners to psychs. We lend broke friends money, veggies, and bikes. We hold hands in clinics, wards and ED. We march in the streets for equality. We bring over Zoloft, burritos, ice-cream. We scoff at the beige, the boring mainstream. We turn to our queer fam, both near and far. Because of them, we know who we are.
Note: *Hill, AO, Bourne, A, McNair, R, Carman, M & Lyons, A (2020). Private Lives 3: The health and wellbeing of LGBTIQ people in Australia. ARCSHS Monograph Series No. 122. Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society.
Steph Amir has a background in public policy and research, including as a local politician. She is a current Writers Victoria Writeability Fellow – a fellowship for writers with disabilities. Her creative work has been published in Archer, Babyteeth, Bent Street, Echidna Tracks, Ghost Girls (upcoming), n-Scribe, Phantom Kangaroo (upcoming), Writing Place, and the Melbourne City of Literature’s UNESCO postcard series. She volunteers as a future scene writer and editor for the Future Problem Solving Program. Steph lives in Melbourne with her partner and two young children.