Focus on well-being & mental, physical and social health
A healthy mind in a healthy body. For the LGBTI+ community, this is a theme that still requires a lot of effort. In recent decades, the rights of LGBTI+ people have been greatly improved. However, there is still a great need for a more inclusive society and assistance.
Well-being does not only mean being physically healthy, it also takes into account the psychological and social aspects of health.
To improve the physical and mental health of LGBTI+ people, it is necessary to adopt a global approach:
- We advocate for a society that integrates sexual diversity and gender diversity and the many other characteristics that determine diversity among LGBTI+ people. An inclusive society breaks apart gender and sexuality norms and seeks to eliminate the root causes of bad well-being.
- We want the wellness and health sector to provide inclusive, accessible help and support with social, psychological, and medical impacts. Beyond more inclusive assistance, the current offers need to be developed for specific target groups in order to meet the needs and experiences of all LGBTI+ people.
- Within our own LGBTI+ movement, we are taking initiatives to strengthen people's well-being by building positive connections between us and by offering them uplifting opportunities and resilience.
In this context, we need to pay attention to three aspects — physical, mental and social well-being (and the mutual influence of these aspects on each other) — as well as offering an approach that uplifts people. It is not only about not having or overcoming depression, fear, negative feelings, etc... The goal is to feel well, in order to be able to realize one's potential in all aspects of life and to be able to contribute to society (human fulfilment).
Over the past 40 years, acceptance has increased and the rights of LGBTI+, transgender and intersex people have considerably improved in Belgium. However, the well-being of LGBTI+ people has not fully followed this trend.
Mental health does not seem to be showing much improvement. Studies show that LGBTI+ people still have a much higher risk of suffering from mental problems and a much higher risk of suicidal thoughts and attempts.
Physical health also poses many challenges. Lesbians, for example, are at higher risk of breast and cervical cancer. For intersex people, there are still unnecessary medical interventions that have the potential to cause trauma and to have physical consequences. For men who (also) have sex with men, HIV prevalence is higher as well as the risk of substance use and sexual compulsion, whether they are related to mental health problems or not. Transgender people who are active as sex workers also have a higher risk of contracting HIV and sexually transmitted infections.
Physical and mental health are often linked. For example, physical health problems can lead be detrimental to mental well-being, and vice versa.
Çavaria's specific demands
- Carry out or fund quantitative and qualitative research focused on LGBTI+ people's well-being and on suicide prevention and improved care for the well-being of LGBTI+ people. Ensure that intersectionality is always taken into account and that research is done on a regular basis to follow the evolutions.
- Develop an inter-federal plan on a preventive approach to improve the well-being of LGBTI+ people. This plan focuses on inclusion in different areas of the society, such as work, sport, leisure activities, school, health centers, etc.
- Introduce the option for non-binary people to check a third option or a blanco option. Eventually abolish any sex registration.
- Ensure that LGBTI+ issues are integrated into the social assistance and care sectors, so that the needs of LGBTI+ people are automatically taken into account. LGBTI+ issues should also receive sufficient attention in training courses for these sectors.
- Supervise the implementation of the suicide prevention policy, in which LGBTI+ people are recognized as being a group at explicit risk, for example in mental health care. Special attention should be paid to young lesbians and bisexuals and to transgender people, who themselves are at an even higher risk.
- Provide structural support to initiatives focused on target groups, such as Lumi.
- Take concrete measures and provide structural subventions for LGBTI+ suicide prevention projects.
- Continue to support medical treatments, such as hormonotherapy or surgical procedures, and to make them more accessible. Recognise surgical procedures as reconstructive, and not as plastic surgery, and to include them in the social security reimbursement system.
- Maintain and broaden psychosocial assistance and support to those who need it.
Together, let’s improve the health of LGBTI+ people in all its aspects!
· · · · #WeCare · · · ·
Contact the regional LGBTI+ organizations for more information.
Arc-en-Ciel Wallonie vzw/asbl
Jonruelle 17, 4000 Liège
Tel: 04 222 17 33
Visit the Pride Charter page to learn more about our partners' engagements, not only on the annual theme, but also on all the values we share.
You can also discover our previous years' themes!