Managing and protecting your wellbeing as an LGBTQ+ person in Bermuda
Being a person in Bermuda identifying as LGBTQ+ undoubtedly can be a uniquely challenging experience that is rarely understood by others. Not only must we balance all the aspects of life that come with being human, but we must also face indescribable intrapersonal conflict, societal prejudice, and outright homophobia and transphobia.
Lacking even the minimal representation, tailored safe spaces and specific resources enjoyed by other marginalised groups only makes our journey that much more difficult and isolating.
However, that is not the end of our story.
The resilience we possess as queer people, especially as queer people of colour because of our unique life experience, pushes us not only to survive but to thrive. In the midst of all that surviving and thriving, we can often forget to look after our own immediate wellbeing.
Hopefully without risk of sounding too cliché, I can offer some useful tips — reminders, really! — to maintaining and protecting your wellbeing as person identifying as LGBTQ+ and living in Bermuda.
Maintaining your wellbeing
• Make time for the activities that you know bring you peace and joy. You know what they are, I don’t need to tell you
• Find community. Surrounding yourself with people who accept and welcome you for who you are will help to ensure you have a strong social foundation to support you through your journey. “The Village” at Bermuda College, OutBermuda events and social media — responsible use of social media, that is — are great places to start
• Create your own personal safe space. This can be a journal, a wall of expression — my personal favourite — or your bedroom. This is your sacred space; don’t let anyone intrude on it or dictate what this looks like for you
• Keep your body and mind healthy. Eat healthy, exercise, meditate, sleep. But you know this already
• Remember who you are. You are strong, you are brave and you are resilient. That’s how and why you’ve made it this far. You worked hard and you deserve to be here; take time to remember that
Protecting your wellbeing
• Avoid toxic media content. Take a break from watching, listening and reading the news. If this is not possible, consider adding positive LGBTQ+ media sources to your rotation (Instagram Suggestions: @lorae_uncensored; @goyzlane; @bermudayouthconnect; @mediamaya; @inclusionbda; @pinknews; @outmagazine. Facebook Suggestions: OutBermuda; Linda Bogle Mienzer; Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda. Also consider researching positive LGBTQ+ documentaries, podcasts and television shows)
• Avoid toxic people. Strive to be unapologetic about avoiding and taking time away from people who are harming your wellbeing, regardless of your relationship to them
• Avoid toxic spaces. Consider participating in events tailored to the LGBTQ+ community and/or attending more sober spaces where possible. Don’t be afraid to let your friends know that certain spaces are not safe for you, either physically or emotionally
• Cleanse when necessary. This can be a spiritual cleanse, a media cleanse or a social cleanse. Removing and avoiding negative energies is essential to wellbeing
• Seek help when you need it. This is not weakness; none of us can do this alone. Your chosen family, your professors, the doctors and the therapists are all there for you. Don’t be afraid to talk and/or ask for what you need
As I began to think about what advice to offer, I could not help but think how we as queer people, especially as queer people of colour, already know what we need to do. We already have the tools and the methods we need to maintain our wellbeing. So, with that said, I wrote this piece only as a reminder. A reminder to look after your wellbeing. A reminder to put into action the remedies you know work for you or perhaps to try new things. And, lastly, a reminder to take time to celebrate how far you have come and to enjoy life!
• Taj Donville-Outerbridge is a Bermudian activist and student studying at King's College London. Most importantly, he is a human being. He can be reached at email@example.com