We're glad you're here. We hope that whether or not you're participating in Pride celebrations you might find some of the forthcoming information, tips and resources helpful.
Pride is a celebration of inclusion and diversity and a reminder of what it took to get here - from the Stonewall Riots to the marriage equality movements. There were many hard fought battles for the LGBTQ+ community whose victories are cause for the grand celebration.
Cue: Pride month. A month of celebrations and often, in our society, celebrations go hand in hand with substance use. The good news is that doesn't have to be the case. We've compiled a few tips for enjoying a safe and sober Pride event for those who may benefit from them:
- Find local sober pride events - we've reached out to TC Pride to inquire about any sober events being held this year and will update this page if we hear back. Otherwise local support groups can be a good resource to inquire about sober events happening in your area.
- Use the buddy system - if you have a friend you can trust (especially one who is also in recovery), they can be a great source of support in maintaining sobriety while participating in events. Having preparatory conversations about possible triggers and how to navigate them and being up front about what kind of support you may need can better prepare you for the events.
- Have an escape plan - knowing what you will do and where you will turn in the event that you need to leave abruptly for any reason will help you stay safe and accountable. Preparing a way to excuse yourself from the situation ahead of time will take the guess work out of it and allow you to properly execute. Knowing ahead of time where you can go for support should you need it and how you will get there will help ensure that you get to where you need safely. Talk to those who are part of your safe space about your plan so that they may support you and be present should you need them.
- Bring your own food and drinks - avoid temptation by having your own pre-selected food and beverages of choice.
While there are victories to be celebrated, there is also work left to be done. The Trevor Project completed a national survey last year to examine the relationship between substance use and suicide risk among LGBTQ youth. They found that LGBTQ youth may use substances to cope with minority stress and negative experiences in unsupportive, anti-LGBTQ environments and that LGB students use substances at significantly higher rates than their straight peers. These findings suggest that one factor that plays a role in the development of SUDs among the LGBTQ+ community is acceptance.1 The image below shows substance use in the last year among LGBTQ youth provided by The Trevor Project's National Survey.1
This month, may we focus on inclusivity and acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community, for we know these two things can make all the difference. If you're in need of any additional resources, NAMI has compiled a list of resources here and the Minnesota Teen Mental Health Directory has shared a list of resources here.
1 “Substance Use and Suicide Risk Among LGBTQ Youth", The Trevor Project, January 27, 2022