Take your gender for a walk - Tom Folley
If you are LGBTQ in modern Britain, you almost certainly know that, for you, many things that hetero people take for granted are more complicated.
Research from a variety of sources provides evidence for this, showing that young gender-expansive people find themselves with more emotional and psychological problems. Their feelings about, and personal struggles with gender identity give rise to anxiety and stress about being “different”, about acceptance of themselves in their own mind, about being themselves in a world that believes only binary is “normal”.
Surveys over the last decade show that young people who feel the need to explore their gender identity are more likely to experience bullying and abuse, family breakdown, self-injury and suicidal ideation because of society’s attitude to sexuality.
And it seems that the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown measures are exacerbating the pressure that LGBTQ people feel in their lives. The restrictions on movement have forced people to remain at home and in local, often antagonistic communities, preventing them from accessing the support of their chosen social networks.
The increased isolation and threat of abuse in the home that lockdown and social distancing measures have created means that there is a pressing need for LGBTQ people to have some safe space to discuss and be their natural selves.
The Wild Mind Project believes that its focus on the positive benefits of nature and creative activities can provide that safe, nurturing space for young people to share their feelings about themselves and their gender identity.
Nature is a good listener, and a sympathetic partner to any conversation, and The Wild Mind is developing a programme that will help young people access the calming presence and creative potential of the great outdoors.
Sometimes, the answer really is just a short walk away.