I’m Sick of This Mental Health Stigma and You Should Be Too

I’m Sick of This Mental Health Stigma and You Should Be Too

We're all so scared to talk about something that is all too relevant to all of us.
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It doesn’t matter what your name is or where you’re from: mental health is something that affects us all more than we care to say. It’s like we’re all scared to say that “m” word. But why? Who taught us that talking about mental health is a bad thing? NO ONE. So why is there such a big stigma around it?

Quite honestly, I don’t know why this stigma exists, but I’m ready to end it. Take a moment to think about someone you know who has struggled or currently struggles with his or her mental health. It might be your best friend, your brother, your mom, your cousin, or maybe it is you who is struggling. Maybe the answer is all of the above, and that is completely okay. In fact, that is NORMAL. Humans aren’t perfect, and we all struggle at one point or another in our lives. And if you try to tell me that you’ve never struggled, then you’re lying to me and yourself.

There’s all sorts of mental health issues. Some last for hours while others last for years. Some aren’t too worrisome while others are. Have you ever studied for hours upon hours for a test and just can’t seem to understand the material? So finally, you just break down crying because you can’t handle the stress anymore. Have you ever had so much going on in life where you feel so overwhelmed that you hide in your room for hours not wanting to talk to anyone? Have you ever felt so much pressure during sport’s practice from a coach that you crumble and fall short? These examples prove that almost everyone in the world struggles at one time or another with their mental health. Yes, almost all seven billion people on this Earth. Can you believe that? Well you probably should.

Here’s my challenge to you: change your attitude towards mental health. Struggling with it isn’t something to be ashamed of because WE ALL GO THROUGH IT. Everyone carries a little bit of anxiety in them. Everyone gets super sad every now and then. So, if we all go through it one time or another, why do we judge people with anxiety or depression who endure it for longer periods of time? Why do we single them out and make them feel different? If you can’t answer the why to these questions, then stop putting yourself on a pedestal and looking down on them. We’re all playing this game called life on the exact same field. Instead of thinking of someone as different because they have a mental illness, try to open your mind and heart to them. Listen to their story, and you’ll realize just how similar you are to them.

So I leave you with this: screw the mental health stigma. We millennials need to be the generation to end this – for the sake of ourselves and our kids. Do it for the ones you’ve lost and the ones you still have. Spread awareness and love, not judgement and hate.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube: Hannah Renae

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No, I Don't Have To Tell You I'm Trans Before Dating You

Demanding trans people come out to potential partners is transphobic.
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In 2014, Jennifer Laude, a 26-year-old Filipina woman, was brutally murdered after having sex with a U.S. marine. The marine in question, Joseph Scott Pemberton, strangled her until she was unconscious and then proceeded to drown her in a toilet bowl.

Understandably, this crime triggered a lot of outrage. But while some were outraged over the horrific nature of the crime, many others were outraged by a different detail in the story. That was because Jennifer Laude had done the unspeakable. She was a trans woman and had not disclosed that information before having sex with Pemberton. So in the minds of many cis people, her death was the price she paid for not disclosing her trans status. Here are some of the comments on CNN's Facebook page when the story broke.

As a trans person, I run into this attitude all the time. I constantly hear cis people raging about how a trans person is "lying" if they don't come out to a potential partner before dating them. Pemberton himself claimed that he felt like he was "raped" because Laude did not come out to him. Even cis people that fashion themselves as "allies" tend to feel similar.

Their argument is that they aren't not attracted to trans people, so they should have a right to know if a potential partner is trans before dating them. These people view transness as a mere physical quality that they just aren't attracted to.

The issue with this logic is that the person in question is obviously attracted to trans people, or else they wouldn't be worried about accidentally going out with one. So these people aren't attracted to trans people because of some physical quality, they aren't attracted to trans people because they are disgusted by the very idea of transness.

Disgust towards trans people is ingrained in all of us from a very early age. The gender binary forms the basis of European societies. It establishes that there are men and there are women, and each has a specific role. For the gender binary to have power, it has to be rigid and inflexible. Thus, from the day we are born, we are taught to believe in a very static and strict form of gender. We learn that if you have a penis, you are a man, and if you have a vagina, you are a woman. Trans people are walking refutations of this concept of gender. Our very existence threatens to undermine the gender binary itself. And for that, we are constantly demonized. For example, trans people, mainly women of color, continue to be slaughtered in droves for being trans.

The justification of transphobic oppression is often that transness is inherently disgusting. For example, the "trans panic" defense still exists to this day. This defense involves the defendant asking for a lesser sentence after killing a trans person because they contend that when they found out the victim was trans, they freaked out and couldn't control themselves. This defense is still legal in every state but California.

And our culture constantly reinforces the notion that transness is undesirable. For example, there is the common trope in fictional media in which a male protagonist is "tricked" into sleeping with a trans woman. The character's disgust after finding out is often used as a punchline.

Thus, not being attracted to trans people is deeply transphobic. The entire notion that someone isn't attracted to a group of very physically diverse group of people because they are trans is built on fear and disgust of trans people. None of this means it is transphobic to not be attracted to individual trans people. Nor is it transphobic to not be attracted to specific genitals. But it is transphobic to claim to not be attracted to all trans, people. For example, there is a difference between saying you won't go out with someone for having a penis and saying you won't go out with someone because they're trans.

So when a cis person argues that a trans person has an obligation to come out to someone before dating them, they are saying trans people have an obligation to accommodate their transphobia. Plus, claiming that trans people are obligated to come out reinforces the idea that not being attracted to trans people is reasonable. But as I've pointed out, not being attracted to trans people supports the idea that transness is disgusting which is the basis for transphobic oppression.

The one scenario in which I would say a trans person should disclose their trans status is if they are going to have sex with someone and are unsure if their partner is attracted to whatever genitals they may have. In that case, I think it's courteous for a trans person to come out to avoid any awkwardness during sex. But even then, a trans person isn't "lying" if they don't come out and their partner is certainly not being "raped."

It is easy to look at the story of Jennifer Laude and claim that her death was due to the actions of one bigot. But it's more complicated than that. Pemberton was the product of a society that told him that disgust towards trans people was reasonable and natural. So when he found out that he accidentally slept with a trans woman, he killed her.

Every single cis person that says that trans people have to come out because they aren't attracted to trans people feeds into the system that caused Jennifer Laude's death. And until those cis people acknowledge their complicity in that system, there will only be more like Jennifer Laude.

SEE ALSO: Yes, You Absolutely Need To Tell Someone You're Trans Before Dating

Cover Image Credit: Nats Getty / Instagram

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7 Hilariously Dramatic Reactions To Trump's Presidency

Funny Liberal Reactions From When Trump Won the Presidency

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Before I got to Villanova's campus, I found myself in a group chat with other conservative future Villanovians. One of our conversations was about how our peers reacted to the result of the 2016 presidential election. Here are 7 of the most over dramatic ones!

1. "Somebody called me a racist b**** because I said I wasn't sad after the 2016 election." -MK

Come on people. You yell at us for stereotyping everyone and you're doing the same thing!

2. "My school was almost shut down because teachers were 'emotionally unstable' for the whole week [after the election]." -CS

This is just plain over dramatic...

3. "A teacher at my sister's school brought a 'Congratulations Hillary' banner the day before the election, then cried the day after." -NK

Adults crying over politics... very mature.

4. "We didn't have family Christmas one year because my aunt refused to be in a house with Trump supporters." -SH

haha. I don't really know what to say to this...

5. "The day after the election our principal made an announcement that we should be kind because 'it was a sensitive day for everyone' and whoever wore a Trump hat was sent to the office and written up." -CS

Schools really gotta quit pushing their liberal views on everyone.

6. "For AP Gov we took a trip to DC and all the liberals were crying when a bunch of us wore Trump hats." -MR

Chill out guys come on.

7. "I wore a Trump hat to school after the election and people kept trying to rip it off my head and kept calling me racist." -JB

Very mature guys.

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