5 Self Care Tips For The LGBTQ Community When We’re Under Attack

We can’t show up for our community if we aren’t showing up for ourselves first.

Since Donald Trump has been in office, all of 7 months now, his administration has taken devastating actions to push back rights for LGBTQ Americans. This week, in particular, Washington seems hell-bent on ensuring we don’t have access to healthcare, financial stability, and basic civil rights. When every phone notification lights up bringing not only the typical bad news from #45 but daunting news that directly impacts your life and the lives of your community—it’s hard to imagine even getting through the day.

With work lunchroom conversation, social media and the news are a minefield of triggers. What do we do when a conversation about Donald Trump and anti-trans legislation comes up on Friday in class? What about if you hear people talking about it in the hallways or the lunchroom? How do you handle having family members who support Donald Trump when you’re LGBTQ? What kinds of self-care methods will help us when the conversation is filled with homophobic and transphobic rhetoric?

Say it again for the people in the back! (aka #45)

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In general, it’s vital that we prioritize ourselves and our mental, physical and emotional health. But when we need some extra love, it can be overwhelming to figure out how to just breathe. Here are some self-care tips to get you through these hard times and continue joining efforts of resistance. We can’t show up for our community if we aren’t showing up for ourselves first.

1. Physical self-care

First and foremost it’s important to take care of your body, your home in this world. When you take care of your body, it can help reduce feelings of anxiety or depression. You can start by asking yourself questions like: How are you sleeping? What types of foods are you eating? What kind of exercise do you enjoy? Do you perform routines that help you start off your day or wind down at the end of your day?

A witchy trick I like to use when I’m feeling overwhelmed with anxiety is holding a crystal in each hand and alternating squeezes. This is a modification of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy and really calms me down. Whatever your tricks may be, spend some time figuring out what works best with your body and keep that in mind. Knowing what works for you will help you build a tool box of self-care methods that will make you better equipped to take on the world.

2. Community care

What do us queers know how to do best? Rally. We know how to uplift our community and come together when we need each other. So do just that! Get your friend group together and pick someone’s house/apartment to host at. Everyone brings a delicious dish and you can care for each other over food and community—what better way to heal? 

This can be a chance to either take a break from talking about politics altogether or you can choose to prompt conversations around what everyone is doing as an act of resistance. Sometimes talking these things through with loved ones is the best way because when we nervously think about the larger implications some of this legislation has on our lives—it can be too overwhelming.

Girl reading a book in a windowsill
Girl reading a book in a windowsill Photo by Shutterstock

3. Find a creative outlet

When our president refuses to even acknowledge our holy month—the month of Pride and celebration for queers—you know really he doesn’t care about our lives. I mean, Pride is cute and basically a party filled with rainbows and glitter celebrating the amazing work we’ve done to get where we are. If you don’t like us when we’re cute and covered in glitter, then you’re definitely not going to fight for our lives and rights.

It seems impossible to find respite from the news of what #45 is up to regarding taking away someone’s rights. He’s on Twitter, he’s speaking to the Boy Scouts, he’s everywhere. But you can find a little escape for yourself in creativity. Whether you love writing, painting, playing an instrument or cooking—create space for yourself to turn off all electronic devices and really dive into your creative outlet. Who knows! You might just create something beautiful out of your creative resistance.

4. It’s OK to walk away from a conversation that is anti-LGBTQ

Whether it’s that awful co-worker you can’t stand or a complete stranger on Facebook—it’s OK to walk away from a toxic conversation of someone saying anti-LGBTQ things. Sometimes we can reach these people with our stories, lived experiences and knowledge but most of the time, we sadly can’t and one conversation isn’t going to change how they feel. For your own mental health in these moments, know that if you need to walk away from a conversation or comment thread, that doesn’t make you a bad person or activist. Remember that your emotional well-being is more important than this person getting in the last word against you.

5. Join your local LGBTQ center

Sometimes the best way to heal and care for yourself is to be surrounded by those who love you. We have to focus on collective liberation at times like these, when it seems dire, especially for those most underserved in our community. An amazing way to continue feeling inspired to keep up with your activism, even against all odds, is to join forces with a local organization who is doing the work. Whether it’s your local LGBTQ center or something like the Trans Women of Color Collective—there are so many ways to get involved.

When you are able to get on board with an organization, it creates ways to find community in a larger sense, even outside of your amazing friend circle. Within queer and trans led organizations you’ll find self-care check-ins after meetings; you may find empathetic call-ins instead of harsh call-outs online, and maybe your new bestie is just waiting for you to walk through the door. When we join forces with one another, we will be able to overcome the homophobic and transphobic setbacks this administration is putting forth.