About one in three gay, bi, and trans men do not feel safe sheltering in place.
A staggering 30 percent of 35,000 men in a survey conducted by the dating app Hornet with the Thomas Reuters Foundation reported fearing for their physical or emotional well-being while at home.
The respondents came from a questionnaire sent to the gay networking platform's international userbase of 30 million. The majority of responses came from Brazil (18 percent), followed by France and Russia (10 percent), and Turkey (9 percent).
Queer men are an at-risk group for mental health issues like depression and anxiety disorders due to ongoing stigma and homophobia, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Alex Garner, Hornet's senior health innovation strategist, stressed how these issues may be exacerbated as this demographic is forced to shelter in place with family members that may not be accepting.
“Think of how it feels to be 21 years old and living with a family that is unsupportive and constantly haranguing you about marrying a woman,” Garner said, according to Reuters. “We have to challenge ourselves to think of how to support people in environments where they feel unsafe.”
Historic events like the AIDS crisis have taught many members of the LGBTQ community resilience, which Garner hopes will steer them through the current pandemic. However, more can be done to protect this group.
“Gay and bisexual men do have the skills to get through this, but we do need to prioritize the mental health of our LGBTQ community,” Garner said.
Mental health issues are not limited to gay men, however. As families shelter in place around the world — a key strategy in the health response to stemming the tide of the virus — domestic violence has also surged, leading many governments "scrambling to offer services to those at risk," reports The New York Times.
If you are a trans or gender-nonconforming person considering suicide, Trans Lifeline can be reached at (877) 565-8860. LGBTQ youth (ages 24 and younger) can reach the Trevor Project Lifeline at (866) 488-7386. You can also access chat services at TheTrevorProject.org/Help or text START to 678678. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 can be reached 24 hours a day by people of all ages and identities.