Editorials Series

Pride 2018 Playlists: Bella Muerte on LGBTQ+ Mental Health

Drag queen Bella Muerte calls attention to the mental health struggles that members of the LGBTQ+ community face and pairs the information with an empowering playlist, The Moon Knows My Secrets.

It is no secret that mental illness is a blight on the LGBT+ community, with rates three times more common for members of our community than that of the general public. Many of us turn to drugs, alcohol, and excessive partying as a means through which to try and cope with what haunts us. Factor in the fact that 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ+, the fact that many trans people need to turn to sex work for survival, and you realise the cards in many ways are still stacked against us. Darkness hangs heavy over us.

In the United States, under our current regime, mental health services are being cut, the Department of Health and Human Services’ budget reduced by 29%. This affects mental health services, addiction services, and much more that many in our community rely on. Overdose deaths, suicides, and more will continue to rise.

Hug your friends a little bit closer. Let them know they are loved. Know that you are loved. Don’t let each other become just another statistic. We are so much more.
It’s an evil world out there, but that doesn’t mean we have to be.

“Ribs” is an incredibly important song to me, speaking to the eternal fear of getting older and getting left behind. It’s funny how you can feel so ancient while being so young, when by all means you should be enjoying the manic wonders of this world around us. A moonlit drive on empty roads, the tall grass in the ditch waving in headlights.

Marina and the Diamonds to me is the ultimate sad girl pop. “I’m a Ruin” lets one wander around one’s own self-blame while wanting to move on from survivor’s guilt. Cracking marble and gold fillings.

Sofia Jannok is a Sámi singer, utilising traditional singing techniques while bringing them into modern electronic pop sounds. “Áhpi” discusses the issue of suicide as it affects indigenous populations, which has claimed too many of our children. Sung in her mother tongue of Sámi, it reminds us we are endless.

Tegan and Sara are my favourite lesbian twin New Age pop duo. “I’m Not Your Hero” helps me remind myself that I’m not perfect, but I will be damned if I’m not trying to do better. Recovery and healing are not linear. There will be backdrops.

K.I.D are one of my favourite duos right now. Based out of Mississauga, Canada, their music explores suburban life, depression, and queerness. “Prodigal Daughter” is inspiring, motivating, expectant, never quite feeling like it resolves, and that the stars are just out of reach, but are attainable.

Raeen Roes is of mixed black and Cherokee ancestry, agender and queer. Her music is incredibly poetic, laying bare her emotional turmoil. You are forced to sit with her in her headspace, understand her words. However, she uses her struggles to empower others. Music is medicine. Music is healing. She understands this.

I am constantly drawn to music that reminds me of drowning. The pressure of water on your chest, surrounded by thickness, your lungs crying for air but knowing that parting your lips will destroy you. Julien Baker works in this realm, melancholy her trade. She writes of hopelessness and darkness, but it motivates, knowing others as well have struggled in this way. The harder I swim, the faster I sink.

In the United States, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255. Please do not struggle alone.

LGBTQ+ mental health resources based in the United States can be found via NAMI, and United Kingdom LGBTQ+ mental health resources are available at MindOut.

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