Mental Health with Queer Men: What You May Not Realize

I'm stoked to publish my latest guest post by the talented blogger, writer and activist @carsonbohdi (please follow her on twitter & IG!). I love her creativity, alluring charm, and passion for change. You will be inspired by her stories on IG and she even has a cool YouTube channel!
I want my blog to be as open and diverse as possible when it comes to talking about LGBT and other communities. I was influenced by her work and I'm so happy she accepted my request to write on my blog about her personal experiences and knowledge about queer men in today's society.
Carson, over to you!

I was in this class in high school where one assignment I had was to give a ted talk on a world issue. I decided to speak about child marriage. One point I made that had some of my classmates scratching their heads was that in order to make a change to the way women are perceived we cannot just focus on educating women. Men need to be educated alongside women in order to make a serious lasting impact. My teacher said it was this point that got me from 80% to 90% on that assignment.

This idea was something I knew for a long time. Many life experiences have taught me about men's mental health, and how they are supposed to react. Anger and power are “male emotions” in a society like ours: one that favours men in most areas in life such as finances, emotional response, gender roles, sexuality/sexual expectations, and safety. Meanwhile, “women’s emotions” are typically said to be sadness and hysteria. But men can cry, and women can get angry. Emotions are not gendered, actually, nothing truly is.

Sadly, the culturescape teaches us otherwise. I wrote about my experience with understanding men’s emotions in a 2018 post on my blog entitled,“ How I was Taught to Look at Men” and in this piece I say;

“. . . it's actually shocking to see how those things have become rooted in our physiological trees; how the most trivial things can become ingrained within us and how that affects our culture.
I did not understand how guys loved, hated, thought, spoke, etc. I didn't think they felt the way I do. I didn't even think they felt, period. It was like men were higher powers: Gods who took control of the world, and invincible from any backlash or punishment merely based on their god-like status.
Even in my kindergarten classrooms, I "knew" that the boys were above me so they were allowed to be reckless, and I was not because I was a girl. This framing has made me somewhat discompassionate and mistrusting towards men, and that is not good.”

Waking up to my own bias is a constant in my life. And nowadays I speak with so many people worldwide, men and women, on issues regarding mental health, LGBTQIA issues, and feminism. Feminism is a word with so much stigma, and what a lot of people do not understand is that it’s not about toxic femininity - it’s about equality. Men are subject to injustice in a toxically masculine world, most notably in the ways in which men are “allowed” to self-express.

Many men I know are ashamed to share their struggles, seek mental health help, or come out - because they're less of a “man” if they do so. People use feminine traits to devalue men - to make them feel less than. In my eyes, you are more of a man if you are able to do either or any of those things (when you're ready to, of course!). It shows bravery, and bravery is a masculine trait to me.

Men need support too. And when I say that, I don’t mean that women don’t. We all need the right support for us, and we all need to feel validated in our experience. But sadly, as much as I can hope for otherwise, that is not what the world works right now.

According to the United Kingdom’s Office for National Statistics

“In 2018, there were 6,507 suicides registered in the UK, an age-standardised rate of 11.2 deaths per 100,000 population; the latest rate is significantly higher than that in 2017 and represents the first increase since 2013. Three-quarters of registered deaths in 2018 were among men.”

As I write this, The world is engaging in a heated discourse regarding human rights related to race. We also are still in the midst of a global pandemic, despite the lack of attention on it at this point in time. I think with all these things highlighted for the public’s attention, it would not surprise me to see more social issues reach that point moving forward. We must not ignore discourse and we must take proper action for change. Complacency is the wrong side of history and always has been.

I urge you reading this to start that conversation. I ask you to engage with the men in your life and talk about the uncomfortable things. It’s hard, for sure, but it is so worth it in terms of education, experience, growth, and change.

©2020 by Concealed Voices. A men's mental health blog